The True Measure of a Man’s Character

The news of Tok Guru Nik Aziz’s passing is still fresh in people’s minds. I personally never met him face to face but I have attended his speech. What I can say about the man is that he had a unique presence, one that aroused awe and respect – no matter whether you agree or not with his political stance.

Having said that, a testimony by me doesn’t truly grasp the man he was. But a testimony from his wife, however, paints a clearer and truer picture. Who better to know a man than his wife? She lived with him, knew him in good times and in bad times, saw him in his best and in his worst, and was by his side in the house and outside of the house.

A praise by your Facebook likers and Twitters followers doesn’t even come close to a praise by your beloved wife. People who watch you on social media or attend your live speech don’t know you beyond what they see in those brief moments. They admire you for a part of who you are, not the whole of you. Very few people know you inside and out, and nobody knows you like your spouse does.

So when Tok Guru’s wife, who was his partner for 53 years, told us of how great of man he was as a husband, that really shows you the height of his character and how much effort he put into realizing what the Prophet said:

“The best of you are the best to his family.”

It doesn’t matter how great you are in the eyes of the people, if you are not as great or even greater in the eyes of your wife. You can be a true leader outside of the house, but a horrible dictator behind closed doors.

What does that say about your true character?

Being in the public eye, I can relate to it on some level. I get praised for doing what I do and people praise me for who I am. Though I am grateful for their kind words and support, I am also afraid at the same time. Are they admiring me for who I really am, or for a part of who I am? If they know me fully, they might not be as kind. Maybe.

So instead of turning to the people to measure my own character (because you judge only yourself), I turn to my wife. There is no veil or pretense when I am with my wife. I showed her who I really am, no more and no less. She saw the good in me and the bad in me. She is with me when times were easy and when times were tough.

So if she said that I am a good man, despite everything that she saw in me and from me, then I would be relieved. Not because my main aim is to please her, but I really want to be among the best of people as indicated by the Prophet.

I believe she is my true measure of character and I rely on that measure to keep me in track. I made it one of my life’s goal to make her happy with me (despite all the inevitable hard times in a marriage) and I want to leave good memories for her to hold on to, if my time comes before hers.

People talk at length about the importance of having a husband’s blessing, but we don’t hear enough about the importance of having a wife’s blessing.

A wife respects a man who loves her, and a husband loves a woman who respects him. This partnership is a two-way relationship, and it begins with you.

May Allah bless Tok Guru and his family. Ameen.

Even in death, he still inspires.

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