In everything we do, we always try to aim for the best. Students work hard to get accepted into the best colleges. At work, we push ourselves and put in extra hours to get the best position and to get promoted. When it’s time to purchase a car, we do a lot of research on the rankings of the best cars for that particular year and we read consumer reports. When dining out, we check the reviews for different restaurants and pick the best restaurant to have a great dining experience with our families.
How about when it comes to our faith and our character? Are we putting in enough effort and thought into becoming the best Muslim men and women? How do I reach that level of being the best Muslim?
I wanted to search through the different sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to find the characteristics of the people that he (peace be upon him) described as the best of people. I noticed several times that the Prophet (peace be upon him) referred to certain people as the best of people, and I invite our readers to add any other sayings that I may have overlooked.
A very well-known saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
It is never too late to learn the proper recitation and pronunciation of the Qur’an, or to memorize some of its chapters, or to study the meanings of some of the chapters. There is a saying that there are two obstacles to learning: arrogance and the fear or shyness of making mistakes. Push any arrogance or embarrassment aside, and seek to learn something new from the oceans of learning in the Holy Qur’an.
Another way to be the best Muslim is to be on the best of character with our families. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” (At-Tirmidhi)
By truly implementing this saying of our Prophet (peace be upon him), how many cases of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse can be avoided within families?
In another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” (Sahih Muslim)
The majority of the ways to achieve becoming the best Muslim involves our dealings with people, our service that we offer to people, our kindness, and how we treat others.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best of you are those who feed others and return greetings.”
Again, another Hadith states that Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him, said, “The believer is kind and gracious, for there is no goodness in one who is neither kind nor gracious. The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”
In a similar Hadith, it was reported the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.”
We all know a special friend who everyone goes to when they are in trouble, that one person who rushes to help people no matter how busy he/she may be; that person is among the best of people.
Two more traits that can make one among the best of Muslims involve control over two organs of the body: the tongue and the heart.
The companion, Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked, “Who is the most excellent amongst people?” The Prophet replied, “Everyone whose heart is makhmum and tongue is truthful.” The companions asked, “We understand whose tongue is truthful, but what does a makhmum heart mean?” The Prophet replied, “The one who is fearful of Allah, is pure of heart, free of sins and without injustice, hatred or jealousy for anyone.” (Ibn Majah)
We can identify a common theme in the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which describe the best type of Muslim we can be, and that is character. The several sayings we have mentioned can all be summarized in one brief statement of the Prophet.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best of people are those with the most excellent character.” (Tabarani)
Rather than striving only for the best grades, the best salary, the best job, the best brand names, we should also strive to be best in character.
We welcome our readers to extend the research and add below any sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which mention who the best of people are.