Manhood is a quality that is pursued by people of high ambitions and serious thinking men. It is a basic quality that is needed by every man, for when men lose the qualities of manhood, they cease to be real men. Manhood is deeply implanted in a person through strong belief, nurtured by sound upbringing and developed by good example. A real man is one who has good and virtuous deeds to his credit, and possesses good manners and conduct.
Crediting someone with manhood sometimes means that the person possesses the characteristics which exemplify this quality, like bravery, being honest, and standing up for the truth. Allah Says (what means):
“And there came a man running from the farthest end of the city. He said, ‘O Moosaa (Moses)! Verily the chiefs are taking council together about you, to kill you, so escape. Truly, I am to you of those who give sincere advice.”
Recognising the importance of real manhood in the service of Islam, the Prophet used to look out for men who could help the cause of his religion and with whom his mission could be enhanced. He would ask his Lord:
“O Allah! Make Islam strong with the one who is more beloved to You of these two men: Abu Jahl or ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab.”
The narrator commented: “And the more beloved to Him was ‘Umar.”
The Prophet supplicated with these words looking out for those qualities of manhood that would have a positive impact upon the spread of Islam.
As a matter of fact, the acceptance of ‘Umar’s, may Allah be pleased with him, of Islam was a great event that manifested his manhood as soon as he embraced Islam.
‘Umar’s manhood, may Allah be pleased with him, was not in his physical strength nor chivalry – for there were those stronger than him among the Quraysh – but it manifested in his strength of faith; a quality that won him respect and honour. Other companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them, migrated to Al-Madeenah secretly, while ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, – when he was migrating – armed himself with his sword, went to the Ka’bah, circumambulated the Ka’bah, prayed behind Maqaam Ibraaheem (Ibraaheem’s station), and then announced to the Quraysh chiefs that he was migrating. He told them: ‘Whoever wants to make his mother bereaved, his children orphans and his wife a widow should follow me after this valley.’ But nobody followed him.
Real men are not judged by the size of their bodies, social status or their outward beauty. The Prophet sent Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, to fetch him something from the top of a tree. When he had climbed the tree, the companions of the Prophet looked at his legs and laughed at their thinness. The Prophet said:
“Why are you laughing? Verily, Abdullaah’s leg will be heavier on the scale on the day of resurrection than Mount Uhud”[Ahmad]
A man passed by the Prophet one day. He asked his companions: “What do you think of this man?’ They replied, ‘He deserves to be married to whomsoever he proposes, to have his intercession accepted when he intercedes and to be listened to when he speaks.’ The Prophet remained silent. Then a poor Muslim man passed by and the Prophet asked the companions: “What do you think of this man?” They replied: ‘He deserves not to be married when he proposes, nor to have his intercession accepted when he intercedes nor to be listened to when he speaks.’ The Prophet then said: “This one is as much as the fill of the Earth better than the other”[Al-Bukhari]
Sometimes, one fervent man can equal a thousand others; indeed one man can outweigh a nation, as the saying goes: “A devoted man can revive a whole nation.” In a military campaign, Khaalid Ibn Al-Waleed, may Allah be pleased with him, surrounded Al-Heerah and requested supplies from Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, who only sent him Al-Qa’qaa’ Ibn ‘Amr At-Tameemi, may Allah be pleased with them, and said: “An army having men like Al-Qa’qaa’ will never be defeated.” When ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with him, requested supplies from ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, during the Islamic conquest of Egypt, he (‘Umar), may Allah be pleased with him, wrote: “I have sent you (the equivalent of) four thousand men; four men each of whom are equal to a thousand others: Az-Zubayr Ibn Al-‘Awwaam, Al-Miqdaad Ibn ‘Amr, ‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamit and Maslamah Ibn Makhlad.”
Real manhood means being thoughtful, uttering good words, having decency and resoluteness in opinion, coming out openly with the truth and displaying wisdom in warning against the rejection of truth.
Manhood entails having a sense of responsibility to defend Monotheism and to give sincere advice for the sake of Allah. It means avoiding unsuitable behavior and being on one’s guard against the Difficult Day (the Day of Resurrection). A real man is sincere in his words, fulfills his promises and remains firm on the right path.
A real man is one who frequents the mosque, a man who is called to fornication by a woman of position and beauty, and yet says, ‘I fear Allah;’ a man who gives alms secretly; two men who love each other for the sake of Allah; they were brought together by their mutual love for the sake of Allah, and they parted upon the same.
A real man is truthful about pledges and fulfils them; it is also to remain steadfast upon the right path. Allah Says (which means):
“Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration.”
Real manhood is expressed by exerting all efforts to reach real servitude. Allah Says (which means): “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly] they say [words of] peace. And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer]. And those who say, “Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell. Indeed, its punishment is ever adhering. Indeed, it is evil as a settlement and residence.” And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.”
(Quran; 25: 63-67)
Nothing busies real men from worship. Allah Says (which means):
“[Such roles are] in houses [i.e., mosques] which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned [i.e., praised] therein; exalting Him within them in the mornings and the evenings. Men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts them from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of Zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about. That Allah may reward them [according to] the best of what they did and increase them from His bounty. And Allah gives provision to whom He wills without account [i.e., limit].”
(Quran; 24: 36-38)
Imaam Ibn Katheer said: “The word ‘men’ gives an indication that they have high ambitions, noble goals, and strong wills, with which they are able to maintain themselves in the houses of Allah; and they favour the pleasure of Allah over their own.”
What worse calamity can befall mankind than for its men to become effeminate, while its women adopt male mannerisms, revolting against the very nature in which Allah created them? The Prophet : “cursed the men who behave like women and women who behave like men” [Al-Bukhari]
When the qualities of manhood disappear among men, society falls into crisis, homes are ruined, the nation becomes weak and disgraced, and moral corruption becomes widespread. Allah Says (which means):
“Men are the protectors and the maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them to excel the other.”
Nations need planners and those who have determined hearts in order to fully utilise these resources. In fact the greatest of all needs is that for real men.
Real men are very rare to find, they are as rare as precious minerals and jewels. The Prophet said:
“Real men are as rare as a reliable strong camel that can endure the burden of long trips; you can hardly find one in a hundred”[Al-Bukhari]