Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Question: Is it permissible to admire and take non-Muslim as a role model for their humility and good qualities without wanting anything to do with their disbelief?
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barkatuh
I pray you are well.
Yes, this admiration of good conduct and character is permissible. The Messenger of Allah said, “Clearly, I have only been sent to complete righteous character.” (Ahmad). This hadith indicates that other nations have good character, but its pinnacle is found in the teachings of Islam.
Follow the Messenger of Allah
Allah told us the He sent us the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, as an excellent role model for us to follow: “Indeed there is for you, in the Messenger of Allah, an excellent exemplar…” (33:21). Make him the person who you emulate, you’ll never be let down.
From amongst the living, there are many righteous people and scholars who embody some aspects of his perfect conduct. No one can embody it all besides him, Allah bless him and give him peace. This is safer, as they are likely to uplift and inspire you in every way. More than someone who does not know or embody the sunna can.
Islam recognizes the virtue of individuals, Muslims, and non-Muslims alike. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, honored the daughter of Hatim al Tayyi’, a man is known for his great generosity, simply because his father was an honorable man.
A sounder approach is to pray for those non-Muslims within whom we recognize virtue. Ask Allah to guide them to Islam, and they’ll have the virtue of iman to add to their list.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.