It’s not a secret that in the current context we live in, Islam has a bad rep, and so do many Muslims. Islam in today’s context is often associated with violence, oppression, intolerance, and general backward characteristics. If you were to ask some people who never studied Islam properly what they thought Islam taught it’s followers, then it would also go along the lines of what we have just mentioned. They would probably think or believe that Islam teaches it’s followers to be all those things, to be violence and oppressive towards non-Muslims, and to show a lack of tolerance.
The truth however is much different, when studying Islam one finds that the good Muslim per Islamic teachings, is a Muslim possessing traits of being peaceful, patient, tolerant, and loving. All these aspects combined make good character, which also a central tenant to being a good Muslim, the good Muslim is the one with good character, and good character encompasses all goodness, and obviously the opposite of good character is bad character, which encompasses all the negative and bad, such as being intolerant, oppressive, and violent.
Now when Muslims say things like this, Islamophobes who have to make a living from demonising both Islam and Muslims will say “oh you’re just being a moderate Muslim” or “you’re just making these things up to conform with modern society and to present this lovy dovy image of Islam”. They will argue that this in fact is not the true Islam. Sadly for them, everything we have mentioned come straight from Islamic teachings, from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself to be more specific.
Having patience and tolerance for example are seen as among the best traits-characteristics-deeds of a Muslim according to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
Ubaida ibn As-Samit reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Prophet of Allah, which deed is best?” The Prophet said, “Faith and belief in Allah and striving in his cause.” The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, I want something easier than that.” The Prophet said, “Behave with tolerance and patience.” The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, I want something easier than that.” The Prophet said, “Do not protest Allah the Exalted in what He has decreed for you.”
Source: Musnad Ahmad 22210
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, which deed is best?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Patience and tolerance.” It was said, “Who among the believers has the best faith?” The Prophet said, “Those with the best character.”
Source: Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 29806
According to these authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), being tolerant, and patient with others are seen as the best deeds-actions from a Muslim. The Prophet is being directly asked the question of what the best deed is, and the Prophet is giving this direct answer. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) didn’t reply to the question by saying the best Muslim or the best deed is “to go kill the infidel”, “to go be oppressive and intolerant”, “to go force everyone to convert to Islam by the sword”. These were not the responses given by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as mush as Islamophobes who love us to believe. The prophet says quite the opposite, be tolerant, patient, and have the best character which encompasses all these things.
Spreading peace is also another trait of what makes a very good Muslim according to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.”
Source: Sahih Muslim 54
Here the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) links faith to loving each other, and the way this love is achieved is by spreading peace amongst each other. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not link faith to hate, and going on to spread chaos, anarchy, and terrorism. Islamophobes would obviously have us believe that, but again the reality is quite different.
Notice we are not bringing these teachings from our own whims and desires, to put a spin on things on Islam, but rather we are directly quoting the actual sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).