36.3 SELF DEVELOPMENT, al tanmiyat al shakhsiyyat

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


Character, determined by personality, is internal. Its outward manifestation is behavior, good or bad. Consistent observation of behavior over a long time reveals true character. The following are some of the components of a positive character: Piety, generosity, charity, chastity, trust, humility, balance, moderation, patience, endurance, cooperation, forgiving, ignoring stupid company, reconciliation, honor and dignity, shyness, modesty, integrity, courage, and wisdom. These traits are best manifested in an atmosphere of positive attitudes, optimism, and behavior. Positive behavior includes: controlling appetites (eating little, fasting, sexual self-control), fulfilling needs of others, mercy, good words and acts; and good deeds which wipe out bad ones.



Self-improvement requires commitment, effort and action to achieve goals, taking responsibility, learning from previous experiences (positive and negative), interdependence, pursing real needs and not mere wants, a positive attitude, a futuristic outlook, assertiveness, self-confidence, and self reliance, and contentment. 



Being assertive is learning to take control. A person who has self-control can stand up to the temptations of shaitan. The following are ingredients of self control: self-confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, self-discipline, and self-development. Self-confidence is to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, to be comfortable with what you are, and to be psychologically secure. Psychological security raises self-esteem. Self-help and self-improvement are in essence taking charge of your life, relying on yourself in solving problems, and taking the initiative to improve. Self discipline is needed for success and consists of control of whims and emotions, sticking to goals, acting according to long-term and not short-term interests, avoiding impulsive acts, following the head and not the emotions, and trusting your instincts. An entrepreneurial attitude requires initiative, optimism, self-confidence, creativity, taking calculated risks, looking for and exploiting opportunities, perseverance and determination.



Social development starts with selection of a spouse and starting a family. It involves learning to develop social networks and taking social responsibilities in the community.



The factors behind professional success are a good basic education, postgraduate training, apprenticeship to a good mentor, setting goals and a time frame to achieve them, adopting a growth strategy, delivering quality results in the work and not seeking cheap publicity. Professional networking involves identification of strategic partners for mutual benefit and not manipulating or exploitation. The networking starts within Muslim circles and extends to the wider professional and social circles. Nurturing contacts is very important otherwise they get lost. Economic empowerment should have the objective of eventual self-employment.  A long-term development plan must be made. Putting side some of the monthly earnings for asset accumulation and investment ensures financial stability and expansion of the Muslim economic base.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004