Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“The most perfect of believers in Imaan are those who are the most beautiful in character. And the best of you are those of you who are best to their womenfolk.”
(Authentic Hadith recorded by Tirmidhi)
Imam al-Bayhaqi (rahmatullahi alayh) gave the following comprehensive definition of “beautiful character”:
“The meaning of beautiful character is the soul being naturally inclined towards the most compassionate and most praiseworthy of actions. It occurs in respect to Allah, the Most High, and it occurs in what is between the people.
In respect to Allah, it is the servant being one whose heart is completely satisfied with the Commands of Allah and His Prohibitions. He carries out what is obligatory upon him completely willingly and subservient towards it. He refrains from what has been prohibited for him, accommodating widely for it, and without being dissatisfied with it.
He is enthusiastic in (performing) extra, optional acts of good and leaving out much of what is permissible for the sake of Allah when he sees that abandoning (such permissible things) is more conducive to servitude than doing them, (all the) while being completely happy without feeling any discontentment or distress from it.
And in respect to dealings with people, he is generously tolerant over his rights, never seeking by it, more than it, and he discharges to others those (rights) which are obligatory upon him.
Thus, if he is ill but he is not visited, or he embarks upon a journey but he is not seen off, or he greets (someone) but it is not returned to him, or he is a guest but he is not treated honourably, or he makes a plea but it is not granted, or he does someone a good turn but he is not thanked, or he enters a group of people but no space is afforded to him, or he speaks but he is not granted an ear, or he seeks permission to enter a friend’s (house) but he is not granted permission, or he proposes (to a woman for marriage) but he is not married, or he seeks extra time for an outstanding debt but he is not granted extra time, or he requests a reduction (of the debt) but it is not reduced, and whatever else similar to these, then he does not get angry, nor does he retaliate, nor does his state change for the worse, nor does he conceive in his mind that he had been subjected to harshness or oppression and that he would counter all of these (examples), if he is able to, with the like of it. Rather, he resolves in his heart not to regard any of these as anything (significant), and he counters all of these with what is more beautiful and virtuous, closer to piety and Taqwa (cognizance of Allah), and more in line with what is praised and pleasing.
Moreover, in regards to fulfilling (a right) that is due against him, he is like one in regards to a right that is due for him. Thus, when his brother is ill, he visits him. When someone comes to him for intercession, he intercedes for him. When someone requests extra time for repayment of a debt, he grants extra time. When someone is in need of assistance from him, he assists him. When someone requests leeway from him in a trade transaction, he grants leeway.
And (in all of these examples), he does not look at the one he is dealing with, as to how his (i.e. the other person’s) dealing towards his own self had been in the past, or how people (in general) behave, (but rather) he only takes for himself what is “more beautiful” as his “Imaam”, following its direction and never opposing it.”
قال رسول الله ﷺ: أكمل المؤمنين إيماناً أحسنهم خلقاً، وخياركم خياركم لنسائهم، رواه الترمذي وقال: حديث حسن صحيح.
إمام البيهقي في شعب الإيمان
ﻭﻣﻌﻨﻰ ﺣﺴﻦ اﻟﺨﻠﻖ ﺳﻼﻣﺔ اﻟﻨﻔﺲ ﻧﺤﻮ اﻷﺭﻓﻖ اﻷﺣﻤﺪ ﻣﻦ اﻷﻓﻌﺎﻝ، ﻭﻗﺪ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﺫﻟﻚ ﻓﻲ ﺫاﺕ اﻟﻠﻪ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ، ﻭﻗﺪ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﻓﻴﻤﺎ ﺑﻴﻦ اﻟﻨﺎﺱ، ﻭﻫﻮ ﻓﻲ ﺫاﺕ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﺰ ﻭﺟﻞ ﺃﻥ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ اﻟﻌﺒﺪ ﻣﻨﺸﺮﺡ اﻟﺼﺪﺭ ﺑﺄﻭاﻣﺮ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻭﻧﻮاﻫﻴﻪ، ﻳﻔﻌﻞ ﻣﺎ ﻓﺮﺽ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻃﻴﺐ اﻟﻨﻔﺲ ﺑﻪ، ﺳﻠﺴﺎ ﻧﺤﻮﻩ، ﻭﻳﻨﺘﻬﻲ ﻋﻤﺎ ﺣﺮﻡ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ، ﻭاﺳﻌﺎ ﺑﻪ، ﻏﻴﺮ ﻣﺘﻀﺠﺮ ﻣﻨﻪ، ﻭﻳﺮﻏﺐ ﻓﻲ ﻧﻮاﻓﻞ اﻟﺨﻴﺮ، ﻭﺗﺮﻙ ﻛﺜﻴﺮا ﻣﻦ اﻟﻤﺒﺎﺡ ﻟﻮﺟﻪ اﻟﻠﻪ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ ﺇﺫا ﺭﺃﻯ ﺃﻥ ﺗﺮﻛﻪ ﺃﻗﺮﺏ ﺇﻟﻰ اﻟﻌﺒﻮﺩﺓ ﻣﻦ ﻓﻌﻠﻪ، ﻣﺘﺒﺸﺮا ﻟﺬﻟﻚ ﻏﻴﺮ ﺿﺠﺮ ﻣﻨﻪ، ﻭﻻ ﻣﺘﻌﺴﺮ ﺑﻪ، ﻭﻫﻮ ﻓﻲ اﻟﻤﻌﺎﻣﻼﺕ ﺑﻴﻦ اﻟﻨﺎﺱ ﺃﻥ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﺳﻤﺤﺎ ﺑﺤﻘﻮﻗﻪ ﻻ ﻳﻄﺎﻟﺐ ﻏﻴﺮﻩ ﺑﻬﺎ، ﻭﻳﻮﻓﻲ ﻣﺎ ﻳﺠﺐ ﻟﻐﻴﺮﻩ ﻋﻠﻴﻬﺎ ﻣﻨﻪ، ﻓﺈﻥ ﻣﺮﺽ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻌﺪ، ﺃﻭ ﻗﺪﻡ ﻣﻦ ﺳﻔﺮ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﺰﺭ، ﺃﻭ ﺳﻠﻢ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﺮﺩ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ، ﺃﻭ ﺿﺎﻑ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻜﺮﻡ، ﺃﻭ ﺷﻔﻊ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﺠﺐ، ﺃﻭ ﺃﺣﺴﻦ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﺸﻜﺮ، ﺃﻭ ﺩﺧﻞ ﻋﻠﻰ ﻗﻮﻡ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻤﻜﻦ، ﺃﻭ ﺗﻜﻠﻢ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻨﺼﺖ ﻟﻪ، ﺃﻭ اﺳﺘﺄﺫﻥ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺻﺪﻳﻖ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﺆﺫﻥ ﻟﻪ، ﺃﻭ ﺧﻄﺐ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﺰﻭﺝ، ﺃﻭ اﺳﺘﻤﻬﻞ اﻟﺪﻳﻦ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻤﻬﻞ، ﺃﻭ اﺳﺘﻨﻘﺺ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻨﻘﺺ، ﻭﻣﺎ ﺃﺷﺒﻪ ﺫﻟﻚ ﻟﻢ ﻳﻐﻀﺐ، ﻭﻟﻢ ﻳﻌﺎﻗﺐ، ﻭﻟﻢ ﻳﺘﻨﻜﺮ ﻣﻦ ﺣﺎﻟﻪ ﺣﺎﻝ، ﻭﻟﻢ ﻳﺴﺘﺸﻌﺮ ﻓﻲ ﻧﻔﺴﻪ ﺃﻧﻪ ﻗﺪ ﺟﻔﻲ ﻭﺃﻭﺣﺶ، ﻭﺃﻧﻪ ﻳﻘﺎﻝ ﻛﻞ ﺫﻟﻚ ﺇﺫا ﻭﺟﺪ اﻟﺴﺒﻴﻞ ﺇﻟﻴﻪ ﺑﻤﺜﻠﻪ، ﺑﻞ ﻳﻀﻢ ﺃﻧﻪ ﻻ ﻳﻌﺘﺪ ﺑﺸﻲء ﻣﻦ ﺫﻟﻚ، ﻭﻳﻘﺎﺑﻞ ﻛﻼ ﻣﻨﻪ ﺑﻤﺎ ﻫﻮ ﺃﺣﺴﻦ ﻭﺃﻓﻀﻞ ﻭﺃﻗﺮﺏ ﺇﻟﻰ اﻟﺒﺮ ﻭاﻟﺘﻘﻮﻯ، ﻭﺃﺷﺒﻪ ﺑﻤﺎ ﻳﺤﻤﺪ ﻭﻳﺮﺿﻰ، ﺛﻢ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﻓﻲ اﺗﻘﺎء ﻣﺎ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ، ﻛﻬﻮ ﻓﻲ ﺣﻆ ﻣﺎ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﻟﻪ، ﻓﺈﺫا ﻣﺮﺽ ﺃﺧﻮﻩ اﻟﻤﺴﻠﻢ ﻋﺎﺩﻩ، ﻭﺇﻥ ﺟﺎءﻩ ﻓﻲ ﺷﻔﺎﻋﺔ، ﻭﺇﻥ اﺳﺘﻤﻬﻠﻪ ﻓﻲ ﻗﻀﺎء ﺩﻳﻦ ﺃﻣﻬﻠﻪ، ﻭﺇﻥ اﺣﺘﺎﺝ ﻣﻨﻪ ﺇﻟﻰ ﻣﻌﻮﻧﺔ ﺃﻋﺎﻧﻪ، ﻭﺇﻥ اﺳﺘﺴﻤﺤﻪ ﻓﻲ ﺑﻴﻊ ﺳﻤﺢ ﻟﻪ، ﻭﻻ ﻳﻨﻈﺮ ﺇﻟﻰ ﺃﻥ اﻟﺬﻱ ﻋﺎﻣﻠﻪ ﻛﻴﻒ ﻛﺎﻧﺖ ﻣﻌﺎﻣﻠﺘﻪ ﺇﻳﺎﻩ ﻓﻴﻤﺎ ﺧﻼ، ﺃﻭ ﻛﻴﻒ ﻳﻌﺎﻣﻞ اﻟﻨﺎﺱ، ﺇﻧﻤﺎ ﻳﺘﺨﺬ اﻷﺣﺴﻦ ﺇﻣﺎﻣﺎ ﻟﻨﻔﺴﻪ، ﻓﻴﻨﺤﻮ ﻧﺤﻮﻩ ﻭﻻ ﻳﺨﺎﻟﻔﻪ