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A true believer has one very special quality: he is able to develop a personality that is a blend of opposites. This quality in a believer is outlined in the Qur’an in the chapter Al-Fath (Victory). The relevant verse is as follows: Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Those who are with him are firm and unyielding towards those who deny the truth, but compassionate towards one another. (48:29)

A believer is compelled to live among different kinds of people. Some are good people, by associating with whom one can receive great benefits in terms of spirituality and positivity; but at the same time there are others who are bad, and continuing to associate with them will be harmful to one’s morality and spirituality.  The existence of these opposite kinds of characters, both bad and good, which can be found in every society—perhaps without exception—may prove to be a harmful phenomenon. This is a test for a true believer. He must pass this test. He must be mature enough not to yield to those who obviously have a bad character and at the same time, he must be so well-inclined towards those having a good character as to learn from them and receive from the good advice for the betterment of his life.

Social life in this world is like living in a bush where there are beautiful flowers side by side with harmful thorns. You have to be cautious enough to be able to pluck the flowers without becoming entangled with the thorns. This is a bit like tight-rope walking, which requires great skill if one is not to overbalance. Without this skill, no one can achieve his higher goals. People of evil character are not entirely worthless people. They can also have a positive role, provided you deal with them with a positive mind. If you can inculcate this positive quality in your personality, then bad people can prove to be good teachers for you from different points of view.

Having a mixture of opposites in one’s personality is not beyond one’s capacity. It is neither unnatural nor impossible. It is quite natural and completely achievable for a sincere person. Describing this human capacity one Western scholar has rightly said: “I am large enough to contain all these contradictions.” People of evil character are not entirely worthless people. They can also have a positive role, provided you deal with them with a positive mind. All that is needed is to unfold this quality hidden in every human personality.

Being a mixture of opposites is a feature of personality development. It is not a problem: it is rather an opportunity. A mixture of opposites means having diverse qualities, the most important of which is the wisdom of difference management. It is, moreover a sign of principled behavior. It is proof of a person’s maturity. The mature person adopts the formula of ignoring the problems and availing of the opportunities. He has the ability to act in a selective manner. He possesses the virtue of high morality. It means that his behavior is friendly towards all mankind. He is able to deal with both friend and foe alike.

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