The importance of Character
Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) says that among all human beings, he loves the one whose character is the best. The character may be defined as the sum total of qualities that a man possess. It is the greatest and most powerful factor in human life. Punctuality and discipline are the surest qualities of fine character. A man of character is one who can make his influence felt among his fellow human beings. He stands out from the common run of mankind by virtue of his distinctive qualities. Most people have no individuality of their own. They are just sheep. They are colorless shadows, without any special mark to distinguish them from others. But a man of character is easily recognized by his behavior, opinions, and bearing. All the great men of history were men of a character otherwise they would never have achieved name or fame.
The first essential of character is moral courage. Moral courage means the courage to face hatred, oppression, criticism for the sake of what we believe to be right. It requires a lot of courage to follow a course of action at which most people laugh. A person who breaks social customs and conventions must have courage. A girl from an orthodox Hindu must have mountains of courage before she decides to marry a boy of a low caste.
A man of character does not believe in duplicity or diplomacy or treachery to achieve an end. Honesty, fidelity, and reliability are paramount ingredients of character. A man of character does not like corrupt policies. He does not like underhand means. He fights for the right cause. He is a champion of the underdog. He is a believer in justice and fairness. He does not like to grow rich by unfair means and by corrupt practices.
A man of character has firm determination and strong will power. He knows how to carry out his plans without the fear of defeat or disappointment. He has tenacity and perseverance. He does not care for obstacles and difficulties. He is rewarded for his perseverance. Garibaldi bore several hardships before he liberated his country from the foreign yoke. Columbus had the fitness of will. He discovered America despite stronger opposition from fellow sailors to sail further.
David Livingstone was inspired by the strong determination in his discovery of exploration of the dark African content.
Another essential feature of character is the capacity to act, to execute, to do things and to give them a practical shape. We may be great idealists. If we lack the will to translate our ideas into action we would be dreamers.
A man of character is never governed merely by sentiment. He knows when to strike the nail on the head. A man of character is consistent in his actions. He is not an opportunist. His actions are not governed merely by self-interest. He is guided by certain principles. He does not give up those principles unless he is convinced that they are false. He is not a turncoat, not a weathercock. But he is elastic enough to adjust himself to changing circumstances. A man of character is not a time server who can easily shift his point of view solely to personal advantage.
Character demands a certain faith in one’s powers. Without this faith, no faith worth the name is possible. All other qualities are nothing besides this hopeful attitude to life. Faith and confidence are basic qualities with which to assert one’s character.
This character is a good combination of several qualities. It is the sum total of moral courage, honesty, and integrity, firm determination, capacity for action, consistency, and faith in one’s ability. All great men of the world possessed these qualities in ample measure.