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A GOOD NAME IS BETTER THAN A GOOD FACE

Assalamualaikum and a very good morning to the honourable judges, teachers, and
my fellow friends. Today, on this fine day, I would like to present a speech about ‘A Good
Name Is Better Than A Good Face’.

Ladies and gentlemen,

What form of currency never fluctuates with the market?

Answer? Your reputation.

Your actions + what others say about you = your reputation. This small formula is the
most powerful leverage you have in life.

It is important not to judge a book by its cover that is to go beyond alluring


appearance and take note of the personality and disposition of a human being. A good
name would refer to having reputation for being a good person while a good face means
a charming appearance. It often happens that people are taken in by good looks and then
the person turns out to be bad. Therefore, one should not base their judgement on face
value but probe deeper into the character of that person and see if he has a good name
to match with a good face.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“‫سا ِم ُك ْم و ََل إ ِ َلى ص َُو ِر ُك ْم َو َلكِن إ َلى ُق ُلوب ِ ُك ْم و َأ ْع َما ِل ُك ْم‬


َ ‫َّللا َ ََل يَ ْن ُظ ُر إ ِ َلى َأ ْج‬
َّ َّ‫”إِن‬

“Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but he looks at your
heart and your deeds”.

The perfect example that we relate with this hadith is someone who has a good name in
Islamic history. Are you familiar with Bilal bin Rabah? Being born into slavery, Bilal had
no other option but to work for his master. Through hard work, Bilal became recognised
as a good slave. However, racism and socio-political statutes of Arabia prevented him
from achieving a lofty position in society. Bilal bin Rabah was one of the most trusted
and loyal Sahabah (companions) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is the first
Muezzin, chosen by Muhammad himself. Despite for being a slave, having dark skin, and
with African feature, he was known for his beautiful voice with which he called people to
their prayers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Every Muslim individual is obliged to take care of himself and his dignity from
being tarnished, as the saying goes by Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a
reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things
differently”. Great Muslims are the people who have their own identity by adhering to
the teachings of Islam and are not affected by destructive foreign elements. So how do
we take care of our good names?

1
First, cut out the negative talk. Don’t talk negatively about anyone in any situation
unless you’re facing them alone one-on-one or you’re in a group environment where they’ve
requested criticism. In the famous hadith that we’ve all heard before, the Prophet
ْ َ‫اليـو ِم اآلخِ ر َف ْليَ ُق ْل َخ ْي ًرا َأ ْو ِلي‬
Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ” ْ‫ص ُمت‬ ِ َّ ِ ‫ ” َم ْن كَانَ يُؤْ ِمنُ ب‬, “If you
ْ ‫اَّلل َو‬
can’t think of good things to say about someone, don’t say anything at all” [Bukhari
and Muslim]. This can be very hard for some people to do, but it’s a key part of building
a good reputation. People who are constantly negative rarely have a positive reputation.

Second, take on responsibilities, but be sure you can follow through on them. Some
people fail to build a reputation because they never take on any responsibility. Others
build a bad reputation because they offer to take on big responsibilities and can’t follow
through. There’s a happy middle ground there and that’s what you should shoot for. The
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“‫ع َل ْي ِه فِي ال ُّد ْنيَا َواآلخِ َر ِة‬ َ ‫” َو َم ْن يَسَّ َر‬


َّ ‫ع َلى ُم ْعس ٍِر يَسَّ َر‬
َ ُ ‫َّللا‬

“Whoever helps ease someone in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this
world and in the Hereafter” [Muslim]. When people need things and you’re sure you
can help them with what they need, volunteer to handle it and then follow through. The
follow through is the key part of building a positive reputation. An occasional failure is
acceptable and expected, but it should usually come on top of a large pile of successes.
Also, it’s often worthwhile to silently take on responsibilities that need to be handled.
You don’t need to shout what you’re doing from the rooftops – in fact, that’s often
detrimental.

I really like to highlight the third point. Choosing righteous friends is important
to take care of your good name or reputation. Our religion has placed great emphasis
about choosing companions. When distinguishing between a good friend and a bad friend,
the Prophet stated, “The example of a good companion in comparison with a bad one,
is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows; from the first you would
either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your
clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof” [Bukhari]. If we analyse
this hadith, we would find that good friends will always benefit you just like musk sellers.
You can either buy perfume from them or at the very least, you would try some on and
leave with a pleasant scent. On the other hand, a bad companion is the one who will always
bring harm to you in one way or another just like a blacksmith, who, when you are around
them, will burn your clothes or at the very least, gives off an unpleasant odour that will
affect your clothes. The good friend is the one who when you see, they increase your
Iman. When the Adhan goes for prayer, they are the ones who encourage you to go and
pray with them so that both of you can gain greater reward by praying in congregation,
whilst the bad companion is the one who when the time of prayer enters, will give a
hundred and one different excuses not to pray or they will divert you from praying and
instead, occupy you with something else.

2
Ladies and gentlemen,

A good name is better than a good face, because it can’t be bought with money.
It has to be earned moment by moment, day by day, decision by decision. Having a good
name means living in a way that earns the trust of others. It means demonstrating
integrity that people can depend on. Maintaining a good name doesn’t mean that you are
perfect, but when you make mistakes, you learn from them and do what you can to make
things right. A good reputation is valuable. It’s something you’re going to want on your
side. That’s all from me. Thank you.