Good manners in Islam

As-salámu ‘alaikum wa rahmatul láhi wa barakátuh!”
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem.  Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem.
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Qur’an is full of suggestions and guidance in attaining good manners in our lives. A few of them are as follows:

‘Respect and honour all human beings irrespective of their religion, colour, race, sex, language, status, property, birth.’ (17:70)

‘Choose the best words to speak and say them in the best possible way.’ (17:53, 2:83)

‘Do not shout. Speak politely keeping your voice low.’ (31:19)

‘Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and ostentatious.’ (22:30)

‘When you voice an opinion, be just, even if it is against a relative.’ (6:152)

‘Be moderate in thy pace.’ (31:19)

‘Do not make mockery of others or ridicule others.’ (49:11)

‘Spy not upon one another.’ (49:12)

‘Do not backbite one another.’ (49:12)

I would like to talk about the combination of all these manners which were put into practice by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). In fact, when his beloved wife Aisha was asked about his manners she replied, ‘His manners were the Qur’an.’

Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an, ‘Verily you are created on good manners’ testifying to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as the best example for all human beings in delivering good manners in practice.

Good manners and good conduct should shape the lifestyle of all Muslims and they should strive to attain the highest level in this area. This is a very important characteristic of Islamic identity. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) says: ‘Islam consists of good manners or Islam is good manners/conduct itself.’ Also, in another hadith Prophet Muhammad (SAW) declares his own most important duty by saying: ‘Surely I have been sent to beautify and to complete good manners/conduct (for human beings).’ It is very clear that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was sent to show and teach good manners not just through sayings but more importantly by practicing them in his life. Mankind has been set the best of examples in the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as he exemplified every kind of good manners at the highest level in his lifetime.

Muslims have a very important duty and responsibility to learn the good manners of Islam and practise them in our lives. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) gave a very clear indication of that in the following hadith: ‘The best of believers is the one who has the best manners.’

Believers who have not got good manners are those who have deficiencies in their practice and possibly in their belief as well. Good manners are very important and are a vital part of the chain of protective barriers which preserve a believer’s faith and make it possible for him/her to reach paradise. Good manners provide protective barrier for Nawafiles (things which Muslims are advised to do although they are not compulsory), ensuring that the believer is fully spiritually capable of carrying out these actions. In the same way, Nawafiles are protective barriers of Sunnahs (actions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and therefore actions Muslims are advised to do). Sunnahs are the protective barriers of Wajibs (necessary actions) and Wajibs are the protective barriers of Fards (actions that are definitely compulsory for Muslims). Fards are the protective barriers of faith. It is very clear to believers that anyone who loses good manners starts to lose his/her hold on this vital chain. A lack of good manners will lead to a lack of Nawafiles, followed by neglect of Sunnah, then of Wajib and finally of Fards. Once any believer is at the stage of leaving Fards, God forbid, he/she walks in a very dangerous path; nobody can tell where this path may end.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Human beings cannot change their physical appearance but they can change, improve and beautify their manners. It is up to each individual either to follow the way of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and beautify his/her life with good manners or to follow the deceits of the devil and jeopardize his/her hereafter. When Prophet Muhammad (SAW) laid down the priorities of marriage he said ‘Marriage can be done for beauty, money, social background and for good manners (faith). You chose the one who has good manners so your life becomes prosperous.’ This saying shows us the importance of things we can change over and above the importance of those things that are out of our hands. So believers should beautify their life with good conduct.

Believers should research the lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and try to emulate his actions. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) used to smile at everyone; he would use the best way of talking to and approaching people; he did not say bad words; he never lied; he treated his relatives, orphans and those left alone in society kindly; he took care of the needy and the disabled; he treated his neighbours and companions kindly and mercifully; and he advised people to take care of and to be nice to people working under their care. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was most generous to the needy and to travellers. He never looked for a reward for his goodness to others, not even thanks, except for their salvation.

Another example from the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is that he used to greet people he did not know as well as those he did, and even to give them food. In accordance with his own example he asked his companions and followers: ‘Give food and give greetings to those you know and those who you do not know.’

Bad actions cannot survive good manners. Through good conduct, the wrongdoings in peoples’ lives are eliminated. Once the Prophet was asked: ‘O prophet! who is the highest ranked among believers?” He said, ‘Highest ranked believers are those who have good manners.’

Dear Believers,

As Muslims, we have an important duty in this life: to live our lives according to Islamic rules, to do what we are ordered to do and abstain from evils which we are asked to keep away from. This can only happen if we worship Allah (SWT), remember Him always in our actions and activities, smarten up all our actions with good intentions and beautify them with good manners at the highest level. Faith is made up of pure actions as well as belief.

May Allah (SWT) make us read and understand the Qur’an, and subsequently put the Quranic teachings into action by implementing good manners as instructed by the holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khayril mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wa sahbihee, aj-ma’een.
Ammaa ba’ad:
Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, wa alaa áli Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”

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