In this post, we are going to explore the qualities of being a Muhsin and what it takes to be on the path of the Muhsineen. This article is based on extensive research and discussions with Ustadh Benyameen Saud from the Islamic University of Madeenah.
Who is a Muhsin?
A Muhsin is the most pleasing person to Allah SWT, who practices a high level of Taqwa (God-consciousness), has true inner peace and sincerely wants to attain Jannath-ul-Firdaus. A Muhsin is the one who is constantly striving not to make a single decision (including intention) to commit sins or give-in to shortcomings, so he/she can attain the ultimate pleasure of Allah (SWT). He realizes that every choice he/she makes, no matter how big or small, is either going to get him/her closer to Allah (SWT) or away from Allah (SWT).
Al-Bukhaari  narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah says: “Whoever takes a close friend of Mine as an enemy, I declare war on him. My slave does not draw closer to Me by anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave continues to draw closer to Me by doing Naafil (supererogatory) deeds until I love him, and if I love him I will be his hearing with which he hears, his vision with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. If he were to ask of Me, I would surely give to him; if he were to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge. I do not hesitate about anything that I want to do as I hesitate to take the soul of a believer, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.” This hadith clearly and concisely highlights the way to become a close friend of Allah, may He be exalted, for the one who wants to be one of His close friends.
[We have discussed the difference between a Muslim, Mu’min and a Muhsin in our previous article on Levels of Faith.]
Purpose of Shariah
From the above hadith, we know that a Muhsin is the one who does what is obligatory. The obligatory acts are all spread out around the Qur’an and the Sunnah under various categories.
The Scholars have discussed the various aspects of Maqaasid as-Shariah (Purpose of Shariah) over the centuries. The divinely revealed guidance in the form of Qur’an and its Prophetic explanation (Sunnah) is meant to teach humankind how to worship God in the best possible form. God being absolutely independent and not in need of anything, the worship to Him is also meant to ultimately realize the welfare of mankind herein and hereafter.
That is why the Quranic verses as well as the Prophetic narrations are filled with the rationale and wisdom behind the divine rulings prescribed for the benefit of humankind. Moreover, a thoughtful analysis of the overall body of Islamic rulings makes it manifest that Islam is meant to realize some higher objectives, goals and purposes to translate the welfare of humankind into a reality. These higher objectives, purposes, and intents behind the Islamic rulings are represented by the term Maqaasid as-Shariah (Purpose of Shariah) in the Islamic legal discourse.
5 Dimensions of a Muhsin
This brings us to the 5 broad domains that encompass the characteristics of a Muhsin. Hence, a Muhsin has 5 dimensions of human qualities that he/she is responsible to continuously improve upon (or develop). It is important to constantly keep track of each of these dimensions.
1. Spiritual Development
2. Physical Development
3. Mental Development
The intellect is one of man’s biggest gifts and if not taken care of, can be destructive. Hence, a Muhsin constantly invests time and effort in seeking knowledge and developing his intellect. This includes making time to read great books, taking up a course, learning a language, having a lifelong spirit of learning, etc.
4. Emotional/Social Development
5. Financial Development
The financial dimension includes tracking our expenses, providing for our family, budgeting, spending in charity, prioritizing debt payments, avoiding Riba (Interest), and so on.
All these dimensions are interconnected and thus contribute to the overall development of a human being and the society as a whole. Hence, all of it comes under Ibaadah (worship) of Allah SWT (not just the spiritual development aspect). Its important to look at all these 5 dimensions as gifts that we can take responsibility for, to develop; because it’s a path that will lead us closer to our Creator. We must keep track of each of these dimensions to develop ourselves and to be on the path of the Muhsineen. Allah knows best.
May Allah make us from the best of people and from those who attain His Mercy and Pleasure. Ameen.