Imām al-Ghazzālī said,

“Character is an internal state, firmly rooted in the self. Actions stem from it with ease, without need for reflection and thought. So if that internal state is such that beautiful actions arise from it, then that internal state is described as good character. And if that internal state gives rise to ugly actions, then that internal state is referred to as bad character. We have said that it is a firmly rooted internal state because the one who gives in charity occasionally because of some external motivation cannot be described with the character trait of generosity as long as that quality is not firmly established internally. And we said that the actions must come forth with ease because the one who forces himself to spend in charity, or to be silent when angry cannot be described as having the character traits of generosity or forbearance.”

(Iḥyāʼ ʻUlūm ad-Dīn)

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