Noble Shaikh Muhamad ibn Salih al-Othaimin in the book of “Makarimul Akhlaq” explains that there are two kinds of noble morals. He says:
كما يكون الخلق طبيعة، فإنه قد يكون كسباً، بمعنى أن الإنسان كما يكون مطبوعاً على الخلق الحسن الجميل، فإنه أيضاً يمكن أن يتخلق بالأخلاق الحسنة عن طريق الكسب والمرونة
“As sometimes there are morals that are habits (innate), so too, sometimes morals need to be trained. That is, as sometimes a person is born with a beautiful character, so too, a person can have a good character by practicing and getting used to it.” (Makarimul Akhlaq : 13).
1. Morals that are innate
That is noble character that has been embedded in a person. So he does not need to bother to practice it, because it has become an instinctive habit. Like a person whose nature is easy to smile, then when he meets other people he will easily smile.
The Prophet sallallahu’alaihi wasallam says about al-Asyaj ‘Abdul Qais:
إنَّ فِيكَ خَصْلَتَيْنِ يُحِبُّهُما اللَّهُ: الحِلْمُ، والأناةُ
“Indeed, in you there are 2 things that Allah loves: the nature of al hilm (ability to control anger) and al aanah (be careful in action)” (Muslim : 17).
In another narration, Al Asyaj Abdul Qais was asking:
قال يا رسولَ اللهِ أنا أتخلَّقُهما أو جبَلني اللهُ عليهما قال بل جبَلك اللهُ عليهما قال الحمدُ للهِ الَّذي جبَلني على خَلَّتينِ يُحِبُّهما اللهُ ورسولُه
“O Messenger of Allah, are these two morals what I strive for or has Allah instilled them in me?” The Messenger of Allah replied: “Indeed, Allah instilled in them these two morals.” Al Asyaj said: “Praise be to Allah who has instilled in me two morals that are loved by Allah and His Messenger.””
(Abu Daud: 5225, Ahmad 4:206, Shu’aib al-Arnaut said that this hadith is hasan).
In this hadith the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi Wasallam said that the nature of al hilm and al anah are morals that Allah has instilled them in Al Asyaj. That is, these two morals have become his nature.
2. Morals that are trained
That is the morals to do it requires effort, practice and need to get used to it first. Like a gloomy person, it is difficult to smile, so when he meets other people he needs to be intentional to smile.
In a hadith from Abu Hurairah, the Prophet sallallahu’alaihi wasallam says:
إِنَّما الحِلْمُ بِالتَّحَلُّمِ
“The nature of al hilm (calm; able to control oneself) is obtained by at tahallum (training oneself to be hilm)”
(al-Bukhari with mu’allaq method in the book of Sahih Bukhari).
This hadith shows that sometimes morality needs to be trained.
For example, a person who –qaddarallah– has a scary face, so he must often train his facial muscles to smile and have a bright face.
People who are ignorant, must train to greet people, be warm and care for others in kindness.
People with bad morals should not say “This is me, I am being myself!” as an apology to his bad character. But he must train himself to change the bad character.