By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
::*:: What is a “Real Man”? ::*::
Answer: A real man is humble before God. He fears for his aakhirah (hereafter). He works to clothe and feed his family, and to lead them to Jannah (Paradise). The Messenger of Allah (sws) said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” (Sahih Muslim).
A real man does not rule his family with an iron fist. He would never raise a hand to strike. He is tender with his wife and children, and hard against anyone who would hurt them. He respects his parents, and honors blood ties. He loves the Ummah and considers all Muslims brothers and sisters.
Beyond that, a real man respects the human rights of all people, regardless of religion, nationality, or race. The Prophet (sws) said: “Allah, Most High, has removed from you the pride of the pre-Islamic period and its boasting in ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. You are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust.” (Abu Dawud)
A real man respects women. “The most perfect in faith among believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife.” – Prophet Muhammad (sws), Sunnan of Abu Dawud.
A real man is dedicated to the truth, even against himself. He keeps promises. He doesn’t lie or cheat. He doesn’t gossip or betray anyone’s trust.
He never mocks people. “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames.” – Quran 49:11.
He is not needlessly suspicious of others. “O you who have believed, avoid much suspicion. Indeed, some suspicion is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other…” – Quran, 49:12.
A real man keeps himself clean. He dresses modestly, and represents himself well as a Muslim. He exercises and eats well. He takes care of his body because it is a trust from Allah.
He’s not greedy. He pays zakat and gives sadaqah, knowing it will come back to him. Allah says in the Quran (2:262), “Those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, and then do not follow what they have spent by demands for gratitude or insulting words will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.”
A real man does not hurt or exploit the weak; he protects them. Animals too.
A real man fights for something genuine. He does not fight for status. He walks away from verbal insults, because he understands that honor comes from the heart, not the fists.
A real man knows he doesn’t have all the answers. He listens before he speaks. When he makes a mistake he admits it. He studies and grows. He worries more about who he is than what people think.
A real man doesn’t whine about his circumstances. He takes whatever abilities Allah has given him and applies them. When times are hard he forges ahead and finds a way. He knows that success and failure come from Allah, so he is humble and grateful, and never stops making dua’.
Am I this real man?
Just now I had this conversation with my daughter Salma, who is six years old:
Me – “How would you define a real man?”
Salma – “He’s strong, he’s confident, and he does stuff.”
Me – “What about me, am I a real man?”
Salma – “You’re mostly a silly man, because you tell silly jokes.”
I won’t put the question to my ex-wife.
Seriously though, I’m not there yet, and maybe I never will be. It’s a lifetime trip. But I do think I’m closer than, say, five years ago. I teach martial arts, and I tell my students, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Instead, compare yourself to yourself. Ask yourself, ‘Have my skills improved in the last year? Has my character improved?’ If the answer is yes, then you have succeeded.
I’m not asking you to be a perfect man. Just a real man.