Akhlaq is most commonly translated in dictionaries as: disposition, nature, temper, ethics, morals or manners.
Akhlaq is the plural of the word khulq which means disposition. “Disposition” is a faculty (malakah) of the soul (nafs) which unconsciously inspires activities. Malakah comes into existence through repetitive practice and is not easily destroyed. A particular malakah may appear because of one of the following reasons:
- Fitra (natural state): The original state in which humans are created by Allah. Muslims believe Allah determined certain aspects of their lives for which they are not accountable (e.g., their place of birth and physical appearance)
- ‘āda (Habit): Formed by continual repetition of certain acts and creates a certain disposition.
- Practice and conscious effort: Which if persistent will eventually produce a disposition.
Although fitra produces certain dispositions, man can surpass nature through free will and effort. While dispositions caused by mental faculties (i.e., intelligence, memory, mental agility etc.) are not alterable, all others can change.
“Indeed I have been sent to complete the best of character (akhlaq).” Anas, the brother of Abu Dharr is narrated as saying:
“I saw him (the Prophet), he would enjoin the people to good character and conduct. (akhlaq)”Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad has said.
When we speak of man’s capacity to change his dispositions, we do not mean he should destroy instincts of reproduction or self-preservation. Instead, he should avoid extremes so they perform their functions properly.
“The most complete of believers in iman (faith) are those who are best in character (akhlaq).”Hadith
There are three categories in this regard:
- Akhlaq that is shown towards Allah
- Akhlaq that is shown towards others
- Akhlaq that is shown towards oneself
7 simple blessings of Akhlaq
In the light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. They are as follows:
- Comprehensive advice on perfection of good manners always, for instance, do not get angry.
- The advice given to Muadh Ibn Jabal on maintaining Taqwa and having the best manners side by side.
- No blessing is better than good manners. Good manners and long silence should always be advocate for a successful life.
- Having good manners is a sign of Iman.
- Allah loves those with good Akhlaq and there can be no better substitute for this love.
- Akhlaq is the weightiest thing in the Meezan after Iman (Taqwa).
- In a Hadith, the Prophet ﷺ has promised the person who shows impeccable akhlaq, the most proximity to him on the Day of Judgement.