Category Archives: Islamic Manners

The Manners of Conversation

4.4 DISCUSSIONS AND DEBATES
If you have trouble understanding some of what has been said in a meeting, restrain yourself until the speaker finishes. Gently, politely, and with proper introduction, ask for clarification. Do not interrupt a person’s talk. This is contrary to the proper manner of listening, and stirs up contempt. However, this is not the rule if the meeting is for study and learning. In such a case, asking questions and initiating a discussion is desirable if conducted respectfully and tactfully and only after the speaker finishes. Caliph Al-Ma^mon said, ‘Discussion entrenches knowledge more than mere following.’

Al-Haitham bin Adi, a known scholar, and historian, and one of the entourage of the four Caliphs Abi Jafer Al-Mansour, Al-Mahdi, Al-Hadi, and Al-Rasheed, said: ‘The men of wisdom said it is an ill manner to overwhelm someone while speaking and to interrupt them before they end their speech.’

If a colleague did not understand a matter and asked a scholar or an elder to explain, you should listen to what is being said. From the repeated explanation you may gain additional benefits to what you already know. Never utter any word belittling your colleague, nor should your face betray any such emotion.

When an elder or a scholar speaks, you should listen attentively to them. Never busy yourself with a talk or discussion with other colleagues. Do not let your mind wander somewhere else. Keep it focused on what is being said. If you did not understand something that was said, wait until the talk is finished. Then and only then, ask the speaker, with respect and politeness, to explain it. Never raise your voice with the question, or be blunt to draw attention to yourself. Never interrupt a speaker.

Never rush to answer if you are not very confident of your answer. Never argue about something you do not know. Never argue for the sake of argument. Never show arrogance with your counterparts especially if they hold a different opinion. Do not switch the argument to belittle your opponent’s views. If their mistaken understanding became evident, do not rebuke or scold them. Be modest and kind. A poet said,

Who could get me a person
When I offend him, his answer will reflect calmness
Who would listen intently to what I have to say
When he knows it better than I.

4.5 SWEARING BY ALLAH
To confirm a statement, many resort to swearing by the name of Allah (SWT) or one of His attribute. This is a bad habit that should be resisted. The name of Allah should not be used so lightly, and to swear by it is a very serious matter. Allah (SWT) in Sura Al-Nahil says ‘And do not take your oath to practice deception between yourselves, with the result that someone’s foot may slip after it was firmly planted’ Always remember the hadith of the Prophet reported by Bukhari and Muslim ‘ Whoever believe in Allah and the Last Day should say something good or remain silent.’

4.6 ANSWERING A QUESTION
If a colleague was asked about something that you know, do not rush to answer. Instead, you ought not to say anything until you are asked. This is a better manner, and a nobler attitude. It generates interest in what you say, while enhancing your respect.

The honourable follower Mujahid Ibn Jabr recalled that Luqman the Wise said to his son: ‘If another person was asked a question, never hasten to give the answer, as if you are going to gain booty or to win a precious prize. By doing so, you will belittle the one who was asked and will offend the inquirer and you will bring the attention of the obnoxious people to your stupidity and ill-manner.’

Sheikh Ibn Batta, a Hanbali scholar, said: ‘I was with Abu ‘Omar Al-Zahid Mohammed ibn ‘Abdul Wahed Al-Baghdadi – the Imam and linguist known also as Ghulam Th’alab. He was asked about an issue. I rushed and answered the inquirer. He turned toward me and asked: ‘Do you recognize an officious character?’ He suggested that I was a nosy person and made me feel very embarrassed.’

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

The Manners of Conversation

4.1 SELECTING SUITABLE TOPICS
In Sura Al-Haj, Allah described the believers ‘And they have been guided to the purest of speeches; and guided to the path of Him who is worthy of all praise.’ When you talk during your visit, say only what fits the situation and be brief. If you are the youngest among those sitting, don’t speak unless you are asked to, or unless you know that your speech and words will be well received and will please the host and other guests. Don’t prolong your speech. Use a proper tone of voice. Anas reported that ‘the Prophet’s talk was clear and concise. Not too much nor too little. He disliked loquacity and ranting.’ Bukhari narrated a Hadith in which Aisha said ‘The Prophet’s talk [was so little] that you can count his words’.

If you hear the Azan you must listen and respond to the call of Allah. Many people, even those with Islamic knowledge continue talking while the Azan is being called. This is rude, since those hearing the Azan should listen to it and quit speech, study and even Quran recitation. Solemnly they should repeat the words of the Azan and reflect on the words of this highest call. We should listen to the Azan, whether we are at home, office, shop, or attending a lesson, even if it is a religious lesson. Imam Al-Kasani in Badaiu Al-Sanaei’ said: ‘Those hearing the Azan or Iqama should not talk. Even if reading Quran or doing other noble things, everything should be stopped to listen and respond to the Azan’.

The Azan is the food of the soul nourishing it with faith and elevation. Do not forgo your share of it. Teach this to your children and friends. Al-Bukhari narrated a Hadith by Abu Saeed Al-Khudri that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘If you heard the call say like what the Muezzin is saying.’ In another Hadith reported by Jaber that the Prophet said ‘He deserves my help on the day of judgment who said when hearing Azan: O’ Allah, the Lord of this perfect call and imminent prayer, please award Mohammad the help, nobility, and the desired status you promised him.’

Imam Abdul Razaq narrated in his Musanaf that Ibn Juraig said: ‘I was told that people used to listen to Azan like they would listen to recitation of Quran. They would repeat after the Muezzin. If he said: come to prayer, they will say: with the help and power of Allah. If he said: come to the good deed, they will say: with the will of Allah.

4.2 TALK IN A SUITABLE TONE
If you speak to a guest or any other person, whether in a gathering or alone, make sure that your voice is pleasant, with a low, audible tone. Raising your voice is contrary to proper manners and indicates a lack of respect for the person to whom you are talking. This manner should be maintained with friends, peers, acquaintances, strangers, the young and the old. It is more important to adhere to this with one’s parents or someone of their status, or with people for whom you have great respect. If appropriate, smile while talking to others. This will make them more receptive to what you have to say, and may dispel the impression that practicing Muslims are stern and humorless.

The Quran tells us that the advice of Luqman the Wise to his son was, ‘…and lower your voice,’ directing him to speak in a gentle manner, for speaking loudly is detested and ugly. Verses two and three of Surat Al-Hujurat read: ‘Oh you who believe! Raise not your voices, above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and you perceive not. Those that lower their voices in the presence of Allah’s apostle, Allah has tested their hearts for piety, for them there is forgiveness and a great reward.’

Imam Al-Bukhari in his Sahih reported that ‘Abdullah bin Al-Zubair said that after the revelation of this verse, whenever Omar bin Al-Khattab wanted to speak to the Prophet (PBUH), he would talk as if whispering. The Prophet would hardly hear him and he would inquire about some of what Omar said, since he did not hear him well.

Your talk should be clear, concise and to the point. Do not talk and talk and talk. Bukhari and Muslim reported that Anas said ‘The Prophet’s talk was precise clear, and succinct without undue elaboration.’ Al-Hafiz Al-Zahabi wrote in his biography of Imam Ibn Sireen, the great scholar and eminent follower of the companions, that: ‘Whenever he was in his mother’s presence, he would talk in such a low voice that you would think that he was ill.’ In his biography of Abdullah bin Awn Al-Basri, a student of Imam Ibn Sireen and one of the famous scholars Al-Hafiz Al-Zahabi, noted: ‘One time his mother called him and because he responded with a voice louder than hers, he was fearful and repentant and he freed two slaves.’

‘Asim bin Bahdelah Al-Koofi, the reciterof the Quran, said: ‘I visited Omar bin ‘Abdul Aziz, and a man spoke loudly, and Omar replied: ‘Stop it. You need not talk loudly. Talk loud enough to make your listeners hear.’

4.3 THE ART OF LISTENING
If a person started telling you or your group something that you know very well, you should pretend as if you do not know it. Do not rush to reveal your knowledge or to interfere with the speech. Instead, show your attention and concentration. The honourable follower Imam ‘Ata ibn Abi Rabah said: ‘A young man would tell me something that I may have heard before he was born. Nevertheless, I listen to him as if I have never heard it before.’

Khalid bin Safwan Al-Tamimi, who was with the two caliphs Omar bin Abdul Aziz; and Hisham bin Abdul Malik, said: ‘If a person tells you something you have heard before, or news that you already learned, do not interrupt him or her to exhibit your knowledge to those present. This is a rude and an ill manner.’ The honourable Imam ‘Abdullah bin Wahab Al-Qurashi Al-Masri, a companion of Imam Malik, Al-Laith bin Sa’d and Al-Thawri, said: ‘Sometimes a person would tell me a story that I have heard before his parents had wed. Yet I listen as if I have never heard it before.’ Ibrahim bin Al-Junaid said: ‘A wise man said to his son: ‘learn the art of listening as you learn the art of speaking. Listening well means maintaining eye contact, allowing the speaker to finish the speech, and restraining yourself from interrupting his speech.’

Al-Hafiz Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi said in a poem:

A talk never interrupt
Though you know it in and out

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Stay in Touch

3.11 STAY IN TOUCH
If you cannot visit your relatives, friends or acquaintances, you should still keep in touch by calling them or sending them a letter. This will leave them with a deep amicable impression, and will keep the relationship alive. Al-Fadhl ibn Marwan, the vizier if the Abbasid Khalifah al-Mu’tasim said, ‘Inquiring about friends is [like] meeting them.’

In this regard, I would like to quote two poems:

If dear friends missed meeting each other
Then, the best meeting is a letter

I will be grateful every day
To a friend sending greetings while far away

3.11 A BRIEF ADVICE TO MY SISTERS
A specific advice to my dear Muslim sisters: If you want to visit your relatives or your Muslim sisters, carefully select the day and the hour of your visit and its duration. There are appropriate and inappropriate times for paying visits even to relatives and friends.

Do your best to make the visit a nice, brief, and pleasant one. Avoid turning it into a boring, wearisome, inquisitive and lengthy visit. Instead, it should be a visit whose purpose is to rekindle and nourish an old friendship or kinship. The visit is desirable if it is short and considerate, and it is undesirable if it is long and tedious during which conversation moves from being purposeful and valuable to being aimless and useless. The honourable follower Mohammed ibn Shihab Al-Zuhri said: ‘When a meeting becomes too long, Satan increasingly participates in it.’

Make sure that during a visit that most, if not all of your talk, is of value and benefit. Keep away form backbiting, gossip, and idle talk. Astute Muslim women do not have time for such nonsense

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Manners of Visiting

3.8 GREETING
If you enter a room, greet everyone inside. If you want to shake hands with those present, start with the most eminent, the most knowledgeable, the most pious, the oldest or those who have similar Islamic distinctions. Do not overlook the most distinguished or most eminent and start with the first person on your right. If you cannot decide who is the most reputable, or if those present happen to be of comparable status, then start with the elderly, for they are easier to recognize.

Al-Bukhari explained that the Prophet said, ‘The elder! The elder!’ In another version he said, ‘The elderly come first.’ ‘Abu Yalla and Al-Tabarany in Al-Awsat reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘Start with the elderly, or , he said, ‘with the notables.’ ‘

3.9 SITTING BETWEEN TWO PERSONS
If you enter a room do not sit between two persons. Instead, sit on their left or right side. Abu Dawood reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘No one is to sit between two people without their permission.’

Sometimes two persons will be kind enough to favour you by making room for you to sit between them. Acknowledge this kind gesture by accepting their offer. Do not sit crossed-legged to crowd them out. A sage said: ‘Two persons are considered immoderate: a person to whom you give advice and he arrogantly holds it in contempt against you, and a person who is favoured with a seat in a room and he sits crossed-legged.’

If you are seated between two people, do not eavesdrop and listen to what they say, lest their conversation be a confidential or private matter. Eavesdropping is a bad habit and a sin. Al-Bukhari reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘Whoever listens to people’s
conversation against their wishes, will be punished by liquid lead being poured down their ears on the day of Judgment.’

You should seek to benefit from the company and wisdom of the elders who are described as ‘ a fruit at the end of the season.’ I would add, ‘a sun wearing the veil’ since it will leave us and disappear at night. Be keen to attend the gatherings of the elders whether scholars, pious persons, nobles, or relatives. Soon you may lament their departure and your loss.

It is an inappropriate Muslim manner to whisper to someone sitting next to you if you are in a group of three people. The third person will feel deserted and isolated and will think the worst of thoughts. The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) hated this. Imam Malik and Abu Dawood reported that he said: ‘No two shall exchange whispers in the presence of a third person.’ That the Prophet used ‘No two…’ in an assertive negative form, indicates that such a mistake is not only inappropriate but an unimaginable and instinctively despicable. ‘Abdullah Bin Omar was asked, ‘What if they were four?’ ‘Then it does not matter,’ he answered, meaning it is not irritating then to whisper or to mutter. If a friend entrusted you with a secret, do not betray him or her. Do not tell it even to your best friend or closest relative.

3.10 THE HOST’S DUTIES AND THE GUESTS’ RIGHTS
If you are having a guest overnight, be hospitable and generous. But do not exaggerate when providing food and drink to your guest. Moderation without excess is the Sunnah. You should try your best to make your guest’s stay pleasant and comfortable during wake and sleep. Inform your guest of the direction of Qibla and show them the way to the bath.

Your guest will need to use towels after showers, ablution or washing hands before and after meals. Make sure that they are fresh and clean. Do not offer towels that you or your family members have used. It is also a nice idea to offer guests some perfume and a mirror. Make sure that the toiletries and bath accessories they will be using are clean and sanitized. Before leading your guest to the bathroom, inspect it and remove anything that you don’t want your guest to see.

Your guests will need rest and a quiet sleep. Spare them the noise of the children and the house as much as possible. Remove intimate clothing from their view. If the guest is a man, remove all women’s clothing and belongings. This is a desirable, decent practice that will leave you both feeling comfortable. When meeting your guests, serve them with tact and respect. Dress properly and look your best but do not overdo it. The close relationship between you is no excuse for negligence or indecency in your manner or look. Imam Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad reported that our forefathers used to look their best when visiting each other. Be kind and generous to your guests. As a rule do not ask them to help you with house chores. Imam Shafie’ said ‘Gentlemen do not employ their visiting guests.’

If you visit a relative or a friend, you should be considerate of your host’s circumstances and work commitments. Shorten, as much as possible, the length of your visit, since every person has various duties, obligations and responsibilities. Be considerate of your hosts and help them with their business , house chores and obligations. While at your hosts’ house, do not inspect and examine every corner, especially when you are invited beyond the guest room, lest you see something you’re not supposed to notice. In addition, do not bother your hosts by asking too many questions.

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Manners of Visiting

3.5 CHOOSING A SEAT
Sit where asked to by your host. Do not argue with your hosts about the place where they wish you to sit. If you sit where you want, you may overlook a private area of the house, or you may cause inconvenience to the house residents. Ibn Kathir narrated in Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihayah that the honoured companion ‘Adi bin Hatam Al-Tay converted to Islam and came to Madina to see the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). The Prophet honoured Hatam by seating him on a cushion, while he himself sat on the floor. ‘Adi said: ‘…then the Prophet took me along and upon reaching his house, he took a leather cushion filled with palm fiber and threw it on the floor. ‘Sit on this,’ he said. ‘No, you sit on it,’ I answered. The Prophet insisted, ‘No you.’ So I sat on it while the Prophet sat on the floor.’ ‘

Kharija bin Ziada visited Ibn Sireen. He found Ibn Sireen sitting on a cushion on the floor and wanted to also sit on a cushion, saying, ‘I am content as you are.’ Ibn Sireen replied: ‘In my home, I will not be content until I provide you with what I am usually comfortable with. Sit where you are asked to sit.’ Do not sit in the patron’s seat unless he invites you to it.

In this regard, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘No person shall lead another in prayer while the first is at the latter’s house. No person shall sit, uninvited, at the favourite seat of the patron of the house.’

If it happened that you arrived early and your host, out of kindness, directed you to sit at the most prominent seat, be prepared to stand up and give this seat to the elder, the notable, or the scholar when they arrive after you since they are more deserving of this seat.

Do not be insensitive and tactless. If you refuse to give your seat to those who are considered more deserving of it by those around you, this will only indicate your lack of manners and common sense. You will become one of those referred to by the Prophet, when he said, ‘Those who do not respect our elders do not belong to us.’

To remain entrenched in your seat will not elevate your status, and it will certainly surprise those present. You will be considered a snob since you are insisting upon an undeserved honour. This rule applies equally to men and women. Insensibility does not enhance social standing. On the contrary, it will be a terrible mistake that will only tarnish your reputation. To honour an honourable person can only improve your standing and stir admiration for your manners and humbleness.

If you happened to sit in the second best place and a notable person entered the room, you should give up your seat to that person. To be respectful of our elders is evidence of your good manners and social sense. Imam Muslim reported that the Prophet said, when organizing prayers, ‘The wisest of you and the elders should stand next to me, then those below them, then those below them.’

In the gathering, a prominent person may call upon you to discuss a matter, or to answer a query, or to give you an advice. If you sat beside him or near him, it is desirable that you return to your previous seat once the matter is concluded unless that person or other notables insist that you remain at your new seat. This is provided that by doing so, the space does not become so tight as to cause discomfort to those already sitting there. Manners are based on common sense. They could be developed by socializing with prominent and tactful individuals. By observing how they act and behave, you will be able to enhance your common sense, good manners and graceful behaviour.

You could be called to a gathering where you are the youngest. In such cases, do not sit before you are invited to do so. Do not sit if you will be crowding out others, or forcing others to leave their seats for you. If you are invited to sit, do not proceed to the best place when there are others more deserving of it. Be prepared to give up your seat to such individual. Doing this on your own, before being requested to do so, will enhance admiration and respect for you.

3.6 A VISITOR IS NOT AN INSPECTOR
When you enter a home, whether as a visitor or an overnight guest, do not closely examine its contents as an inspector would. Limit your
observation to what you need to see. Do not open closed closets, or boxes. Do not inspect a wallet, a package, or a covered object. This is against Islamic manners and an impolite betrayal of the trust your host has accorded to you. Uphold these manners during your visit and seek to cultivate your host’s love and respect, and may Allah bless and protect you.

Imam Muhasibi in Risalat Al-Mustershidin said: ‘The duty of sight is to preclude forbidden sights and not to try to see what has been hidden or covered. Dawood Al-Ta’i said ‘I was told we will be accountable for our minor gazes as we are accountable for minor deeds.’

The Arabic poet Miskin Al-Darimi said:

‘My neighbor should not worry if
his door is not closed.’

3.7 TIMING YOUR VISIT
Choose an appropriate time for your visit. Do not visit at inconvenient times such as mealtime, or when people are sleeping, resting, or relaxing. The length of the visit should be in accord with how well you know the hosts, as well as their circumstances and conditions. Do not overstay your welcome by making your visit too long or burdensome.

Imam Al-Nawawi said in the book of Al-Azkar: ‘It is strongly recommended for Muslims to visit the pious people, the brethren, the neighbours, friends and relatives, and to be generous, kind, and obliging to them. However, the extent of the visit varies according to the host’scircumstances. The visit ought to be conducted in a pleasant manner and at convenient times. There are numerous sayings and traditions in this regard.’

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Manners of Visiting

3.3 CONTROL YOUR EYES

When asking permission to enter a home, avoid glancing unnecessarily at its interior or beyond the guests’ quarters. This is shameful and harmful. Abu Dawood and Tabarani explained that Sa’d bin ‘Ubada (RA) said: ‘A man came and stood at the door of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) asking permission while facing the door. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘Turn this way,’ turning him away and ordering him to move farther from the door, saying, ‘Asking permission is prescribed to prevent intrusion.’ ‘

Bukhari also explained in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad that Thawban (RA) recounted that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘A person should not look inside a house before getting permission, if you do [look inside before asking permission] , you have already entered [or trespassed].’ Al-Bukhari also stated in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad and Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmidhi narrated by Abu Huraira who said that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘If the sight leaps, permission should be denied.’ Also, Al-Bukhari narrated that ‘Ammar bin Sa’id Al-Tujiby stated that Omar bin Al-Khatab said: ‘Whoever fills his eyes with the sight of the interior of a house before being permitted is a wrong doer.’

Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others narrated that Sahl bin Sa’d (RA) said that a man peeked through a hole into the room of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) while he was scratching his head with a small pitch fork. When The Prophet saw the intruder, he told him: ‘Had I known you were looking I would have poked your eye! Asking permission is prescribed to prevent intrusion.’

3.4 REMOVING YOUR SHOES

When entering the house of your host, or even your home, be gentle as you enter or leave. Lower your eyes and your voice. As a rule, you should take off your shoes unless your host asks you to keep them on. Take off your shoes at an appropriate spot, and set them in an orderly fashion. Do not forget the manner in which you put the shoes on and take them off: you put on the right shoe first and you take off the left shoe first. It was noted by Muslim and others that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘When you put your shoes on, start with the right shoe. When taking your shoes off start with the left one. The right shoe is the first to be put on and the last to be taken off.’

Before entering your house or that of your brethren, inspect your shoes. If they are dirty, remove them or wipe the shoes against the ground. Islam is the religion of cleanliness and courtesy.

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Manners of Visiting

3.1 KEEPING APPOINTMENTS, DELAYS AND CANCELLATION
In the first verse of Surat Al-Mai’da, Allah called upon the believers ‘O’ you the Believers, fulfill your promises.’ In Surat Maryam Allah also praised Prophet Ismail may peace be upon him ‘He was true to his promise. He was a Messenger and a Prophet.’

To keep an appointment is vital to our lives, since time is the most precious commodity, once wasted it could not be replaced. If you made an appointment, whether to a friend, colleague or for business you should do your utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other person who gave you part of their time and may have declined other appointments. Not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have marred your image and personality. If your punctuality becomes lousy you will lose people’s respect. You should keep all your appointments whether it was with an important person,a close friend or someone else. You will be responding to the call of Allah in Surat Al-Issra’ ‘and keep your promises. The promise is a responsibility.’

It is enough to know that our kind Prophet gave an appointment to one of his companions. The companion came three days later. The Prophet gently reprimanded him ‘You have caused me some trouble. I have been waiting expecting you since three days.’ The companion probably had an excuse for this delay. Then, he had no means to inform the Prophet about his inability to meet the appointment.

Today, fast and reliable communication means are available everywhere. As soon as you realize you will not be able to keep an appointment, you should inform the other parties to enable them to utilize their time. Do not be careless or irresponsible. Do not think that the appointment is so unimportant that it does not merit a notice or an apology. This is totally irrelevant. Regardless of its importance an appointment is a commitment. It must be kept or canceled properly in advance.

Never make a promise while you do not intend to keep it or fulfill it. This is forbidden as it falls within lying and hypocrisy. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet said: ‘Three traits single out hypocrites, even if he prayed and/or fast and claimed to be Muslim: If he talks, he lies. If he promises, he does not keep it. If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.’

Imam Ghazali in Al-Ihya said that this Hadith fits those who promise while intending not to fulfill it, or those who, without excuse, decide later not to fulfill a promise. Those who promise but could not fulfill, their promise due to a proper excuse are not hypocrites. But we should be careful not to create excuses that are not valid. Allah knows our inner thoughts and intentions.

3.2 DECLINING A VISIT
If you visit friends with or without an appointment and they apologize for not being able to receive you, accept their apology without ill-feeling. You should understand that something may have come up compelling them to decline your visit. Their own affairs, or the state of their house, may have made your visit inconvenient. It is perfectly all right for them to ask to be excused.

The follower (Tabi’ee) Qatada bin Di‘ama Al-Sadüsy said: ‘Do not hang around at the door of those who declined your visit. Accept their reason, leave to attend your business, and let them attend their own business.’ Do not ask for reason or explanations. Imam Malik used to say: ‘Not all people can disclose their reasons.’ Accordingly, when it comes to visiting, our righteous ancestors used to say to their hosts: ‘Perhaps you just became busy and cannot receive us,’ making them feel at ease in case they wanted to be excused. Imam Al-Tabari in his Tafseer (18:113) reported that a man of Muhajirin said: ‘All my life, I wanted to practice this Sura ‘If you are told to turn back then do so, it is much better for you’ but I could not. I was hoping I will seek permission to visit a brother and he will tell me: Go back! I gladly will go back fulfilling this directive to Allah.

This particular etiquette is very important in order to remove any ill-feelings that could linger because of declining of a visit. Allah SWT said, ‘If you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity.’

Many people do not know what to do, and become disturbed by the visit of someone whom they do not want to receive under the circumstances, and may resort to lying. Not only their children learn these bad manners, but such behaviour may lead to antipathy.

The Quranic etiquette provides a better alternative to such unpleasantness and guards us against lying. It provides for the host to kindly present a reason to visitors and asks that they accept it in good faith and without hesitation: ‘If you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity.’

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Entering/ Leaving a House

2.6 KNOCKING AND RINGING
Knock at the door, or ring the door’s bell in a pleasant way and not louder than is necessary to make your presence known. Do not knock loudly and violently or ring the bell continuously. Remember that you are a visitor and not a thug or an oppressor who is raiding the house and frightening its occupants. A woman came to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal seeking his opinion on a religious matter. She banged at his door loudly. He came out saying, ‘This is the banging of policemen.’ Al-Bukhari reported in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad that the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to knock on the door of the Prophet with the tips of their nails.

This nimble and gentle knocking, or ringing, is appropriate for those whose living quarters are close to the door. For those living farther from the door, it is appropriate to knock on their door, or ring the bell loud enough to enable them to hear it, without banging. In this regard the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘Gentleness adorns every act, its absence will tarnish it.’ In addition, Muslim reported that the Prophet also said, ‘Whoever lacks kindness, lacks all good things.’

Leave an adequate time between two knocks, or rings. This will enable those performing ablution, praying, or eating, to finish without rushing. Some scholars estimate this interval to be that of the praying time of four rak’as. Keep in mind that a person may have just started the prayers just before you rang the door bell.

After three spaced knocks, or intermittent rings, you may feel that the person you came to see is busy, otherwise, he or she would have answered you. If this is the case, leave. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘If you asked permission three times, and were not granted permission, then you must leave.’

While waiting for permission, do not stand in front of the door. Instead, stand to the right or to the left. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), upon coming to someone’s door, avoided facing the door directly. Instead, he would stand to the right or to the left of the door.

2.7 ANSWERING ‘WHO IS IT’
If you knock on the door you may be asked, ‘Who is it?’ Identify yourself , using your most common name but do not respond with, ‘It is me,’ ‘Somebody,’ or, ‘Guess who?’ These words are useless in identifying who is at the door. You should not assume that your voice is known to the person or persons who live there, because your voice may resemble another person’s voice. Don’t forget that people differ in their ability to distinguish voices.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) discouraged people from saying ‘it’s me’ because it does not reveal your name. Bukhari and Muslim reported that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said: ‘I came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and knocked on his door, and he asked, ‘Who is it?’ I answered, ‘It is me,’ and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) disapprovingly said, ‘ Me is me, me is me!’ ‘ For this reason, the companions used to mention their names whenever they were asked, ‘Who is it?’

Bukhari and Muslim reported that Abu Zar said: ‘While walking out one night I saw the Messenger of Allah walking by himself. I opted to walk in the shade of the moon, but he turned around and saw me and said, ‘Who is there?’ I replied, ‘It’s Abu Zar.’ ‘ Bukhari and Muslim also reported that Umm Hani, a cousin of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and the sister of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, said: ‘I came to see the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). He was taking a bath and his daughter Fatima was sheltering him, and he asked ‘who is this?’ I replied, ‘I am Umm Hani.’ ‘

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Entering/ Leaving a House

2.3 GREETING
When entering or leaving your house, acknowledge those inside. Use the greeting of Muslims and the label of Islam: ‘Assalam ‘Alãikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakãtuh; Peace and mercy of Allah be with you.’ Do not forego this Islamic greeting by replacing it with something else, such as ‘Good Morning,’ or ‘Hello.’ This greeting is the sign of Islam and the phrase that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recommended and practiced. The greeting of Muslims and Islam is: Assalam Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. Peace, mercy, and blessing of Allah be upon you. The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught his faithful servant Anas bin Malik to greet his family when entering or leaving his house. Imam Tirmizi reported that Anas said: ‘The Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘My son, greet your family when you enter [your home], for that is a blessing for you and your family.”

Qatada, a prominent follower (Tabi’y), said: ‘Greet your family when you enter your house. They are the most worthy of your greeting.’ Al- Tirmidhi reported another Hadith whereby Abu Huraira (RA) stated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘If you join a gathering, greet them, and if you want to leave, dismiss yourself. The first is no less important than the second.’

Imam Al-Suyuti in his book ‘Praising the Abyssinians’ cited from Abo Taleb Al-Jumahi’s Al-Tahyat the following: ‘Every nation has a way of greeting. Arabs will say salams. Persians Emperors require prostrating and kissing the floor. The Persians touch their hand on the floor in front of the king. The Abyssinians quietly, gather their hands at their chest. The Romans uncover their head and bow. The Nubians would gesture as if kissing the guest and then putting both hands on their face.’ All these greetings, except Salam, are forbidden.

Imam Nawawi in Al-Majmu said ‘It is preferred to say ‘Bismillahi Arrahman Arrahim’ when you enter your house or others’ houses. You ought to say Salam if you enter it regardless whether it was empty or occupied. You say a prayer when you go out. Imam Tirmizi and Imam Abu Dawood narrated a Hadith by Anas that the Prophet said: ‘If you say in the name of Allah, I seek help from Allah, no strength or means but with Allah. Then he will be told: you are protected and saved. The Satan will leave him.

He cited another Hadith narrated by Muslim that Jaber bin Abdullah related that he heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: ‘If you enter your house and pray to Allah when entering and before your meals, the Satan will say [to his group]: No sleep and no food. If you entered it without praying to Allah. Satan will say [to his group]: You secured your sleep and dinner.’

2.4 ANNOUNCING YOUR PRESENCE
When entering a house, make your presence known to those inside before you approach them. Avoid startling or frightening them. Do not descend upon them suddenly. Abu ‘Ubãida ‘Àmer bin ‘Abdullah bin Mas’wüd (RA) said: ‘My father ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’wüd used to announce his arrival by addressing his family in a cordial tone.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: ‘When a person enters his house, it is recommended that he/she creates noise by coughing or tapping his/her shoes.’ His son Abdullah said: ‘When returning home from the mosque, my father used to announce his arrival before entering, by tapping with his shoes or coughing.’

Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet denounced those who unexpectedly surprise their families at night, whether returning from travel or otherwise, because it makes them appear to be distrustful.

2.5 SEEKING PERMISSION TO ENTER
If family members are resting in their rooms, and you want to join them, it is appropriate to ask for permission and/or knock on the door. Otherwise, you may see them in a condition that you, or they for that matter, may not like. This applies to your entire household; your immediate family or otherwise. In the Muwata by ‘Ata ibn Yasãr,
Imam Malik narrated that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) the following: ‘Should I seek permission to enter my mother’s room?’ The Prophet answered, ‘Yes.’ The man said, ‘We live together in the same house.’ The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘Ask for permission to join her.’ The man argued, ‘But, I am her servant.’ The Prophet said, ‘Ask for permission. Would you like to see her naked?’ The man replied, ‘No!’ The Prophet said, ‘Then ask permission when entering.’

A man asked ‘Abdullah bin Mas’wüd: ‘Should I ask permission to enter my mother’s room?’ He answered him, ‘Yes. There are certain circumstances in which you would rather not see her. ‘ Zaynab, the wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’wüd said that upon reaching the door, ‘Abdullah used to make noise, fearing that he might surprise us and encounter an embarrassing situation. A man asked Huzaifa ibn Al-Yamãn, ‘Should I ask permission to enter my mother’s?’ Huzaifa replied, ‘Yes, if you do not ask for her permission, you may encounter an embarrassing situation.’

Müsa the son of the companion Talha ibn ‘Obaidillah said: ‘My father went to my mother’s room. I followed him as he entered, he turned toward me and pushed me down forcing me to sit. Then he reprimanded me: ‘How dare you to enter without permission?’

Nafi,’ the patron of ‘Abdullah bin Omar said: ‘When any of Ibn Omar’s children come of age, Ibn Omar would assign him/her another room. He would not allow any of them to enter his room without permission.’

‘Ata bin Abi Rabãh asked Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘Should I seek permission when calling on my two sisters?’ Ibn Abbas answered, ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘I am their guardian, supporter and provider of their needs.’ He said, ‘Would you rather see them naked?’ Then he read the Quranic verse, ‘And when the children among you come of age, let them ask for permission, as do those senior to them in age; thus does Allah make clear His signs. Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.’ Thus, Ibn ‘Abbas concluded that asking permission is obligatory for all people. Ibn Mas’wüd said: ‘A person should seek permission whenever entering the room of a father, mother, brother and sister.’ Jãber also said: ‘A person should seek permission whenever entering the room of a son, a daughter, a mother -even if she is old, a brother, a sister, or a father.’

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

Entering/ Leaving a House

2.1 HOW TO ENTER
Enter or leave your house with your right foot first, as it was the tradition of the Prophet. Imaam Abul Ala Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Hamazani, a great scholar of Hadith of his time, was so keen on applying this Sunnah to the extent that if someone entered his house with their left foot first, he would ask them to go out and re-enter with their right foot first. He was so much respected that the Sultan of the day would visit him at school and sit in front of him as a student. At one occasion, he told the Sultan to exit with his right foot first and walk on the right side of the road.

When entering or leaving a house, do not push the door violently, or slam it shut, or leave it to close by itself wildly. Such actions stand in contrast to the gracefulness of Islam to which you are honoured to belong. Close the door quietly with your hand. You may have heard a Hadith reported by Imam Muslim whereby ‘Aisha (RA) quotes the Prophet: ‘Gentleness adorns every act. Its absence will tarnish it.’

2.2 ENTERING WHILE OTHERS ARE ASLEEP
If you enter a place where people are sleeping, whether during day or night, be quiet and gentle. Be considerate. Do not cause any undue noise when entering or exiting. You have heard the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم): ‘Whoever is deprived of gentleness, is deprived of all sorts of goodness.’ Muslim and Al-Tirmidhi reported that the honourable companion Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad (RA) said: ‘We used to preserve the Prophet’s share of the milk, when he came back at night he would greet us with a voice loud enough for those awake to hear, without disturbing those who were asleep.’ In addition, whenever the Prophet used to pray at night, he would recite the Quran with a voice that pleased those that were awake, without disturbing those that were asleep.’

Princess Qatrul Nada (Dew point) was famous for her intelligence, manners and beauty. She was the daughter of Khimarwaih bin Ahmad bin Toulon, the King of Egypt. She married Al-Mu’taded Billah. Qatrul Nada said: ‘My father taught me an important manner – do not sleep among sitting people and do not sit among sleeping people.’

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)