Tag Archives: Akhlaq

Personality Development

Development of personality is a duty upon all. It requires a great effort, lots of consciousness, much correction & gentle reminders. Are we people who live a life as we wish, always want things done our way, do as we please whether it is considered upright or not, courteous or not – or do we really try hard to accommodate others, respect them and speak to them politely no matter who they are, try to help others, maintain good relations with family and try our best to be as courteous and helpful as possible to all?

Time to think hard, be honest and make a positive change!

Remember, charity begins at home, so start with your spouse, children and parents!

Mufti Ismail Menk

Be Considerate

Being considerate of someone sleeping by not disturbing them is actually a charitable deed. The Messenger pbuh used to walk in and greet those awake in such a voice that they could hear, but those asleep were not disturbed at all.

Today our televisions, radios, CD players and other sound systems literally “blast” through the whole neighbourhood let alone disturbing poor family members or room mate…s! Do we phone at awkward times, knock the door so loudly, ring the bell like maniacs, speak so loudly on our phones whilst others are asleep or trying to sleep?

Let us become more conscious of those who are asleep and be considerate towards them whether in the house or elsewhere. Not only will we be earning a reward but we will prevent many a crisis from erupting and ease what may be unknown silent suffering.

Mufti Ismail Menk

The Wisdom of the Shaykh

An incident once took place when a student of Knowledge was taking a walk with his teachers in one of the gardens of their Madrassah. During this walk, the student decided to address a problem he was facing and seek its remedy from his teacher. He began to tell his teacher, ‘I have a spiritual ailment; I am habitual of talking ill of others and mentioning matters about them behind their backs.’

The teacher carried on walking for a moment and then asked him, ‘do you have a mobile phone?’ The student answered affirmatively and took out his phone to show his teacher. The phone was one of the latest models on the market and he had just purchased it recently.

Upon seeing the phone and the student’s attachment to it, he asked the student to throw the phone in a nearby mud patch and trample upon it. Whilst astonished by the teacher’s request, the student questioned, ‘how can I throw this phone on the floor? It has cost me a lot of money and is worth a lot to me.’

The teacher replied to him with the following words of wisdom, ‘So too is the respect and honour of your brother as sanctified and valuable as this in the eyes of Allah. How can it be easy for you to trample upon this honour and respect with such ease?’

The student realised how he had never understood nor appreciated the true value of a Muslim brother; and from that day onwards he never failed to compare the respect of his brothers to all those items which were the most valuable to him.

Jazakallah to Maulana Zain for his help in putting together this story.

Expressing Condolences and Sympathy

9.3 EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES AND SYMPATHY
When offering condolences about a plight that befalls a relative, friend or acquaintance, it is kind to pray for the dead. Say a prayer similar to that reported by Muslim to have been articulated by Messenger (PBUH) to Umm Salamah (RA) at the death of her husband: ‘O Allah, forgive Abi Salamah, elevate his status among the guided people, and look afterthe family that he left behind. O Lord of the universe, forgive us and him, comfort him in his grave, and lighten his stay.’

Your conversation with anguished persons should be aimed at mitigating their agony by mentioning the reward of patience, the transitory nature of life on earth, and that the Hereafter is everlasting life.

In this respect, it is desirable to reiterate certain verses of the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) or some of the well-spoken condolences of our ancestors. You may mention the saying of Allah SWT: ‘But give glad tidings to those who patiently endure, who say, when afflicted with calamity: To Allah we belong and to Him we return. They are those on whom [descend] blessings from their Lord, and mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.’4 Or you may quote another verse from the Quran: ‘Every soul shall have a taste of death and only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only those who are saved far from the fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object [of life], for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.’ And such are Allah’s words: ‘All that is on earth will perish. But Allah will abide [for ever], the face of your Lord, most gracious, and most generous.’

You may mention some of sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) reported by Muslim and others: ‘Oh Allah, reward my calamity and replace my loss with a better one.’ And like the saying of Prophet (PBUH) reported by Bukhari and Muslim: ‘It is Allah’s that takes and it is He that gives, and He prescribes a certain destiny for every matter.’ Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that when the Prophet (PBUH) mourned the death of his son Ibrahim he said: ‘My eyes are tearful. My heart is full of anguish, but we will say only what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim, your loss filled us with sorrow.’ Also, it is very appropriate in this regard to use some of the traditional sayings of the Muslim forefathers. Omar bin Al-Khattab used to say: ‘Everyday we are told that so and so has just died. One day it will be said, ‘Omar has died.’ ‘ You may allude to the saying of the just Caliph Omar ibn Abdul Aziz (RA): ‘A person who is not separated from Adam by a living father, is indeed deep-rooted in death.’

The honoured follower Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: ‘Oh son of Adam, you are nothing but mere days. Whenever a day passes away: a part of you passes away.’ He also said: ‘Allah ordained that the ultimate resting place of believers will be paradise, no less.’ His student Malik ibn Dinar said: ‘The wedding of the one who fears Allah, is the Day of Judgment.’ A poet said:

Passing the days we are content
Passing a day brings us near the end

Another poet said:

Offering condolences, we trust not living long
The manners of this religion we follow along
The consoled and the consoling may live today
Tomorrow though, they ‘ll vanish away.
A suitable poem in this regard:
We die and live every night and day
One day we will die and move away

Another poem describes how oblivious humans can be to death:

Life is but a ship afloat
We think it’s still, but running is the boat

I have quoted all these appropriate mourning quotations because I have witnessed many inappropriate conversations and talks by people offering sympathy. Mourning hearts are depressed with anguish and sorrow. Be sensitive and select a suitable topic for your conversation.

Attempt to lift the spirits of the bereaved family. The great scholar, Mansour bin Zazan said, ‘Sorrow and sadness will increase rewards.’ Al-Hassan Al-Basri pointed out that this painful state will gradually pass away, but our sins will remain with us forever. He said, ‘Every sad anguish will diminish, except anguish over sins.’ The great scholar, Ata bin Abi Muslim pointed out that life is full of challenges and events. ‘A believer would not be happy for one complete day.’

9.4 Sending Flowers and Reading Quran during Funerals
It should be noted that many people at the death of a dear person will bring flowers and wreaths and after proceeding with the funeral, will take the flowers and wreaths to the home of the deceased. They buy the best flowers and wreaths to show their deep sympathy and concern. To do this is forbidden – whether presenting it at the funeral, accompanying the funeral with it, or bringing it to the deceased’s house. This is an imitation of non-Muslims, and is an evil innovation which should be strictly avoided. Those who do such a thing will have no reward from Allah. To the contrary, they will be questioned for such meaningless waste.

Another misguided innovation during funerals is that the car that carries the deceased will broadcast, through speakers, a recording of the Holy Qur’an as if announcing the passing away of the deceased. The funeral procession should be characterized by thoughtfulness, humbleness, remembrance, reflection, awareness of Allah, and prayers for mercy. No sad music or religious chant should accompany funerals. These two rules should be followed and spread around to make Muslims aware of the right way.

A Final Word
This is a collection of Islamic manners that form the etiquette of our pious Muslim predecessors. I introduced it in a clear and understandable way so that you may practice it. The best place to follow these manners is at your house and the houses of your brothers. Do not overlook these etiquettes when dealing with your family and your Muslim brethren.

Your immediate family and friends are the most deserving of your good conduct and manners. In this regard, Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man asked the Prophet (PBUH): ‘Oh, Prophet of Allah, who deserves my best behaviour? The Prophet answered: ‘Your mother! Your mother! Your mother! Then your father, then the closer, and the closer among your relatives.’

Do not overlook these manners when interacting with the appropriate people, and act nicely and amicably with others. If you do not behave properly, you degrade yourself, abuse the duty that you are entrusted with, and abandon the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Rely on Allah to attain His pleasures and the manners of His religion, for it is He who protects the virtuous people.

May Allah protect you, your relatives and your beloved ones. May Allah help you obey His orders, remain obedient to Him, and follow the example of His Prophet. May Allah grant you His love, grace and His generosity. May Allah pray upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, his family and his companions. All praise to Allah, the Lord of the universe. Ameen.

This was written in the hope of receiving your prayers.

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

Condolence

9.1 BREAKING UNPLEASANT NEWS

If you have to break the undesired news of a tragic accident, or the death of a dear or close relative or friend, break the news in such a way as to lessen its impact and to make it as mild and gentle as possible. For example, in the case of a death, you may say: ‘Recently, I learned that Mrs. X has been terribly sick, and her condition worsened. Today, I heard she has passed away. May the mercy of Allah be with her.’

Start by giving the name of the person in question. Do not break the news of a death by saying, ‘Do you know who died today?’  This unduly manner frightens the listeners and prompts them to expect the worst, namely that the death involves someone who is very close to them. Instead, mention the name of the dead person before breaking the tragic news of the death. This will soften the impact of the news, reducing the listener’s apprehension, and making the news more bearable.

Convey the news of fire, drowning, or car accident, etc. in a similar fashion. Prepare the listener for the news in a way that minimizes its impact. Mention the name(s) of the affected person(s) in a kind way, not a shocking way. Some people have weak hearts and such bad news may cause them to faint and collapse.

If it is necessary to convey such news, choose the appropriate time. It should not take place at a meal, before going to sleep, or during an illness. Compassion and tactfulness are the best qualities you will need to handle such a situation.

9.2 EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES IS A COURTESY AND A DUTY

Parting among loved ones is one rule of Allah in his creations. Al-Hafiz Al-Munziri reported a Hadith, ‘Love whoever you will and you will part.’ Along this same rule, poets said:

We are but guests with our families,
Staying for a while, and leaving them.
Wealth and families are but trusts.
Inevitably, one day trusts will be recalled.
The sons of this life will all part
To meet together again in the hereafter.

One wise poet listed eight stages we must all pass through. No one will be spared of these:

Happiness and sorrow; gathering and parting;
Difficulties and easiness; and illness and good health.

Another poet said

Make perseverance your friend, and leave painful sorrow
You are not alone
Everyone lost, or will lose a loved one.

If a relative or a close friend of one of your relatives or friends dies, hasten to offer your condolences. You owe your relatives, friends and Muslim brothers the moral obligation of alleviating their plight. If you can, you should attend the funeral and the burial at the cemetery. Aside from being a highly rewarding gesture of sympathy, it could be an effective and stern admonition, and a lesson reminding you of the inevitability of death.

While alive, your life had lessons, reminders and admonition
Today, your death gives me the most important lesson

Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘A Muslim owes his Muslim brethren five gestures: returning a greeting, visiting the ill, and attending their funeral…’ Imam Ahmad
reported that the Prophet said: ‘Visit the sick and follow the procession of funerals; you will remember the Hereafter.’

Condolences is to alleviate the sense of grieving that confront the family of the deceased. This is achieved by encouraging them to be composed while trusting in Allah’s promise of great reward. Allah said in Surat Al-Baqarah ‘And give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere; who say, when afflicted with a disaster, ‘Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him is our return.’ They are those on whom descend blessings and receive the mercy of their Lord, and it they who are the guided ones.’ Condolence is done by praying for the deceased to be helped and pardoned, since they will receive the benefit of such prayers. Condolence is a sincere expression of sympathy and to share the sorrow of these stressful moments. Ibn Maja and Baihaki reported, with a fair authority, a Hadith: ‘A Muslim who consoles other Muslims suffering from a calamity will be awarded a dress of dignity by Allah on the day of Judgment.’

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

Visiting the Sick

8.1 VISITING A PATIENT
It is your duty to visit your Muslim brethren in time of illness. This will enhance and nourish the bond of Islam and the brotherhood among you. As a committed Muslim, do not undervalue the great reward from Allah. Imam Muslim reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘A Muslim visiting ill brethren will continue to be in the Khurfa of paradise until he, or she comes back home. He was asked, ‘What is the khurfa of Paradise?’ He answered, ‘This means the harvest of paradise.’ Imam Ahmad and Ibn Hibban in his authentic book reported that the Messenger said: ‘A visitor walking to visit a patient will be wading in the mercy of Allah. When the visitor sits with the patient they will be immersed in mercy until his, or her return.’

8.2 PRAYING FOR THE SICK
It is very appropriate to say few prayers for the sick asking Allah (SWT) to bless them with recovery and help them through their sickness. Bukhari and Muslim reported that Aisha said ‘If someone fell sick the Prophet would pass his right hand over them while saying the following prayer ‘O the Lord of humans, take away the suffering, bring the recovery, no cure but your cure that leaves no ilness.’ In another hadith reported by Bukhari, Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet when vising a sick person would say: ‘Hold on, may Allah cleanse you.’

8.3 THE LENGTH OF THE VISIT
Certain etiquette will make your visit to an ill person a refreshing and morale boosting one. Your duty is to ease his or her pains, and to make him or her more conscious of the rewards they will gain in return for their suffering and endurance.

Make your visit brief. Sick persons may not withstand such long visits. The length of the visit should be not longer than the time between the two speeches of Friday. In this respect, it was said that the visit should be long enough to convey your greeting and wishes (Salam), to ask the sick how he or she is doing, to pray for recovery and to leave immediately after saying good-bye.

If you visit a patient say your greeting
And immediately you should say, ‘Good-bye’
The best visit is every third day The best stay is in the blink of an eye
Do not bother the patient with many questions
Two or three words will get you all along.

At the end of his book of Malkite Fiqh, Al-Kafi, Imam Ibn ‘Abdul Al-Barr said: ‘Whether you visit a healthy or an ill person, you ought to sit where you are told. Hosts know better how to ensure privacy in their home. Visiting an ill person is a confirmed Sunnah. The best visit is the shortest. The visitor sought not to sit too long with an ill person, unless they are close friends and the ill person enjoys their company.’

8.4 THE MANNERS OF VISITING A PATIENT
The visitor ought to wear clean clothes with a fresh scent in order to make the patient feel better both spiritually and physically. At the same time, it is improper to wear fancy clothes that are more appropriate for parties and festivities. Wearing a strong perfume may annoy the sick.

Visitors ought to keep their conversation light and avoid gloomy talk that might exacerbate the patient’s distress. Avoid conveying bad news such as a failing business, a death, or similar bad news. Also, visitors ought not to inquire about the details of illness unless the visitor is a specialized physician. Similarly, visitors should not recommend to a patient any food or medicine that might have helped them or someone else. Such recommendation might lead the ill person, out of ignorance or desperation, to try it, causing further complication or even death.

Do not criticize or object to the treatment by the physician in the presence of the ill person for it might cast doubt in the mind of the sick. If you are a specialized physician, you may want to discuss the case and its treatment privately with the doctor in charge.

8.5 How the Ill express their complaints
It is recommended that when asked about our condition, a sick person should start by thanking Allah and then proceed to list his complaints. This is to avoid the appearance of complaining of Allah’s will. This was the etiquette of the followers as reported by Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi in his Tarikh Baghdad in the biography of Abdul Rahman Al-Tabib who was the physician of Imam Ahmad and Bishr Al-Hafi. Abdul Rahman said both Imam Ahmad and Bishr became sick and were treated at the same place. ‘When I visited Bishr, I asked how he felt, and with thanks to Allah first, he then proceeded saying I have this pain or that complaint. When I visited Imam Ahmad and asked how he felt, he would say ‘I feel all right.’ One day I told him, ‘your brother Bishr is also ill, but when I ask him of his conditions, he thanks Allah first, then tells me his condition. Imam Ahmad said, ‘Please ask him from where did he get this.’ I answered, ‘His presence makes me reluctant to ask.’ Imam Ahmad said, ‘Tell him your brother, Abo Abdillah asks from where did you get this.’ Abdul Rahman asked Bishr as told. Bishr said, ‘Abo Abdillah wants everything with authority. I heard this from Azhar who heard it from ibn Aoun who heard it from ibn Sireen; ‘If a person thanked Allah before complaining, it will not be a complaint but as if telling the acts of Allah. ‘ Abdul Rahman said, ‘I
told this to Imam Ahmad. After that, if asked how he felt, he would start by thanking Allah, and then describing his complaints.’

The answer of Bishr indicates that when asked about their health, the sick preferably should praise Allah first then explain their complaints. By this approach, it is not considered complaining against the acts of Allah.

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

Weddings

7.1 WEDDINGS ARE PART OF THE PROPHET’S TRADITION
If invited to a marriage ceremony or wedding celebration, you should accept the invitation unless it may include prohibited acts. Attending a wedding is part of the Sunnah, as Islam regards marriage as an act of worship and obedience to Allah. Islam endorses performing marriage contracts in the mosque. Muslim jurists stipulated that this is based on a Hadith reported by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja: ‘Publicize the marriage, execute it at the mosques and celebrate it with drums.’ Another Hadith reported by Imam Ahmad and Al-Hakim and others supports the first Hadith: ‘Publicize Marriage.’ It also supported by a third Hadith reported by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Maja: ‘The difference between a legitimate (Halal) and an illegitimate (Haram) marriage is the presence of voices and drums.’

There is no dispute among Muslim scholars that in a wedding celebration, the Prophet (PBUH) allowed women to use drums. The most valid opinion among many scholars is that men can also use drums in order to publicize the marriage thus making it known near and far. The noble Islamic purpose of such publicity is to distinguish between an evil and illicit relationship and a pure and desirable marriage.

Attending a wedding is one of the rights of brotherhood among Muslims. It fulfills the requirement of publicity, reinforces the need to attest to the sanctity of the marriage, and it gives a chance to join your brethren as they complete the second half of Islam, and while you pray that they remain observant of the first half. Attending a wedding also honours the husband and wife by having their relatives and friends share in their happiness. It blesses them with guests that pray to Allah for their righteousness, success, affluence and prosperity.

7.2 THE MANNERS OF ATTENDING WEDDINGS
If invited, attend the celebration as if you have answered an invitation to a blessed occasion, and a delightful and acclaimed celebration, as the Prophet proclaimed you should. Dress appropriately, for the Prophet’s companions used to dress properly at weddings. When initiating or sharing in discussions, make sure your conversation fits the happy occasion and does not include depressing and distasteful subject matter that could spoil the occasion. Muslims should be wise and considerate.

It is recommended that you congratulate the bride and bridegroom, by reciting the Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi, and authenticated by Ibn Maja and Al-Hakim, whereby the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘May Allah bless your side and bless your counterpart and may Allah tie your union with virtue.’ Do not use the commonly used phrase ‘With comfort and children,’ because this was the phrase used by the people of ignorance (Jahilia). The Prophet (PBUH) prohibited such a saying, and Allah, with His blessing, replaced it by the prayer of his Prophet (PBUH). Al-Bukhari reported that ‘Ayisha (RA) said: ‘When the Prophet (PBUH) married me, my mother led me into the house where women of Ansar were celebrating. They congratulated me with reward, blessing, and ‘best of luck’ wishes.

Islam permits women to celebrate a wedding by singing tasteful songs, accompanied by a drum beat. Such poems and songs should not promote lust, lewd desire, or portray physical beauty. Instead, they should sing delightful and decent songs to express their happiness with the marriage. Al-Bukhari reported that ‘Ayisha (RA) said: ‘A bride was led to her Ansar husband. The Prophet (PBUH) said: O Ayisha, did you not have merriment? The Ansar love fun.’ He was referring to the singing and beating of drums.

Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar reported in his book Fath Al-Bari that ‘Ayisha recalled that the Prophet (PBUH) asked ‘Why did you not send with her [the bride] a singer girl to sing with a drum beat? I said, ‘What?’ He answered:

We are visiting you, we are visiting you
If you greet us, we’ll greet you.
For your gold, bright and red, brought the bride to your farm
And it is your wheat, brown and tanned, that made your virgins’ charm

Songs sung at weddings must be similar and have wholesome and seemly meanings. Songs of lust, passion and immorality should be avoided.

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

Manners of Eating

6.1 THE IMPORTANCE OF EATING MANNERS
Eating manners are very important since it is repeated many times every day. It must be done properly whether eating alone, with family, or with friends. To avoid pretenses, you should train yourself in proper eating manners, whether alone or with your family. It will then become a natural part of your behaviour, and you will be at ease at the table.

6.2 THE MANNERS OF EATING
There are certain table manners that are indispensable. Say ‘Bismillah’ when starting, to thank Allah and say ‘Alhamdulilah’ when finished. Eat what is in front of you. Eat using your right hand. A hypocrite was eating with his left hand when the Prophet saw him and advised him to eat with his right. The man falsely said ‘But I cannot’ The Prophet said ‘May it be so’ and the hypocrite was not able to lift his right hand again.

The companions of the Prophet followed his example in stressing the use of the right hand while eating. Omar was Khalifa when he saw a man eating with his left hand and similarly advised him to eat with his right. The man answered ‘My right is busy’ Omar repeated his request and the man repeated his answer. Omar asked him ‘What is it busy with?’ The man answered that it had been severed in one of the battles. Omar blamed himself for neglecting such handicap and ordered the treasurer to provide the man with a servant to help him.

If eating with your hand, use three fingers with small bites, lifting it gently with ease to your mouth. Close your mouth while eating to avoid unnecessary noises. To eat on the floor is nearer to what the Prophet used to do. However, there is no problem to eat at a table. Imam Ghazali said, ‘To eat at a table is to make eating easier and there is nothing against that.’ Do not start eating ahead of the elders or the nobles. If you are the elder, do not commence eating before everyone is at the table.

It is preferred that eating should not be conducted in silence. It is good manners to talk during meals. Topics should be nice stories suitable for eating. At the end of the meal, if hands are to be washed, the elder or the noble should be asked to proceed first.

At the end of a meal, thank Allah as in the Hadith reported by Abo Dawood and Nasa’i in ‘the deeds of day and night.’ Thank Allah who fed us and provided us with drink. It is very appropriate to make a prayer for your hosts as it is reported by Muslim that Al-Migdad ibn Al-Aswad reported that the Prophet said, ‘May Allah feed those who have fed us, and provide drinks to those who provided us with it.’

Do not express your disapproval or dislike of certain foods. Either eat it or pass it over quietly. Abu Huraira reported that ‘the Prophet never expressed his dislike of a food. If he liked it he will eat it. If he disliked it, he will set aside.’

Do not put in your plate more than can eat. Leftovers could be thrown out, it shouldn’t, and wasted. Put smaller portions twice rather than one large portion that you will not eat. The Prophet did not approve of leaving any food in a plate since as he said ‘You don’t know which portion is blessed’. Food is a blessing of Allah, to misuse it is contrary to Islam. Do not forget the poor and the needy who do not have the portion you are throwing away

6.3 THE MANNERS OF DRINKING
Drinking manners are no less important. To start in the name of Allah is a must. Use your right hand to drink. Abo Dawood and Tirmizi related that Hafsa (RA) said ‘the Prophet used his right hand for eating and drinking. He used his left for other things [such as personal hygiene].’ Do not pour your drink down your throat in one gulp. Drink it in three sips. Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet said ‘Do not drink like a camel. Drink twice or thrice. Say the name of Allah before drinking. Thank Allah after finishing.

Do not exhale in your glass. This will irritate others and will smudge the glass or the cup. Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet forbade exhaling in a glass or puffing into it.

Do not drink directly from the jug or the container. Beside being unhygienic behaviour, others may want to drink after you who could be irritated. Abo Huraira narrated that the Prophet forbade drinking directly from the mouth of the sheepskin or the flask.

6.4 AVOID GLUTTONY
Modesty is the crown (hallmark) of the common people. Keep this crown on your head if invited to a feast or if you are presented with food or drink. Do not be gluttonous devouring food as if you have not eaten for a long time, or as if you have not seen such excellent food before. Do not sample every dish on the table. People, even generous hosts disapprove of greedy eaters. Be reasonable and moderate in enjoying the generosity of your hosts.

6.5 GOLD AND SILVER CUTLERY
Do not eat using golden or silver plates or cutlery. This goes against the spirit of Islamic modesty. Pomposity is not an Islamic trait. Bukhari narrated that Huzaifa said the Prophet said ‘Do not drink in golden or silver cups nor eat in such plates.’ If you were a guest, simply ask your host to replace it with another one.

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

Social Manners with Parents

5.5 MANNERS WITH PARENTS
Observe complete respect and reverence to your father and mother, for they are the most worthy of your consideration. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man asked the Prophet (PBUH): Oh Messenger of Allah, who is the most worthy of my best conduct?’ He answered: ‘Your mother! Your mother! Your mother! Then your father, then the next, and the next.’

Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad and Abdul Razzaq in his Musanaf (the wording is his) reported that Hisham bin ‘Urwa recounted that his father told him that Abu Hurairah (RA) saw a man walking ahead of another. He asked him: ‘How is this man related to you?’ ‘He is my Father,’ the man answered. Abu Hurairah told him: ‘Do not walk ahead of him, do not sit until he sits, and do not call him by his name.’

According to Ibn Wahab, a student of Imam Malik bin Anas named Imam ‘Abdul Rahman bin Al-Qasim Al-‘Utaqi Al-Masri (132-191 AH), said: ‘While Imam Malik was reading Al-Muwata^ to me he suddenly stood up for a long while, then he sat again. He was asked why, and he answered: ‘My mother came down asking me something. Since she was standing I stood up respectfully, when she went, I sat back down.’

The revered follower Tawoos bin Kisan said: ‘It is part of the Sunnah to respect four persons: a scholar, an elder, a leader, and a father. It is considered rude that a man call his father by his name.’ At the end of his book of Malkite Fiqh Al-Kafi, Imam Bin ‘Abdul Al-Barr said:

‘Kindness to the parents is an obligatory, duty and by the grace of Allah it is an easy matter. Kindness means to be humble with them, to speak to them nicely, to look at them with love and respect, to speak in a mild tone that does not surpass theirs unless they are hard of hearing, to give them complete access to your own wealth, and to offer them the best of your food and drink.

Children should not walk ahead of their parents, nor speak ahead of them in matters that they know are their father’s. Children should wholeheartedly avoid upsetting their parents and should seek their pleasure as much as possible. Making your parent’s life enjoyable is one of the most virtuous acts.

Children must hasten to respond to their parents’ call. If a child is praying voluntarily, he/she should shorten the prayer and respond promptly. Children should express only good words.

In return, it is the parents’ duty to make it easier for their children to be kind to them by being kind and generous to their children, but without Allah’s help people cannot become obedient, nor can they perform his commands.’

You may encounter various difficulties while serving your mother and father, but do not forget that their rights are multiples of these difficulties. For this Aallah said in the Qur’an ‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to the parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in the life, say not a word of contempt, nor repel them but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility, and say: ‘My Lord bestow mercy on them as they cherished me in childhood.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘No child will compensate a parent unless he finds him or her a slave and he frees them.’

Keep in mind that everyone likes to be the best in status, prestige and popularity, and hates to see someone better than himself or herself. Only your parents would wish that you become better than what they are. How should you treat those who prefer you to themselves and wish you better.

5.6 Tell Your Family your Whereabouts
If you leave home to go to a place other than your usual work, it is advisable to inform your family where you are going. This information is very useful to have their mind at ease knowing where you are. The great follower, Qatada bin Di’ama Al-Sadousi disapproved of someone going somewhere without telling their family their whereabouts. Imam Ahmad reported that Qatada narrated that he went with Abo Ma’shar to visit Al-Sha’bi. His family said he was not home. Qatada asked, ‘Where did he go?’ His family said, ‘We do not know.’ Qatada then said, ‘You mean he does not tell you where he goes?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ Telling your family where you are lessens their worries besides putting you and them at ease if you were late since they know where you are.

5.7 RESPECT THE POOR
If you come across a poor person at a gathering or you were visited by a poor person at home or at work, do not look down upon him or her because you consider them poor. Poverty is not a defect or a fault to be ashamed of, while lack of kindness and generosity is.

Treat poor companions or guests with honour and respect. Be pleasant while talking to them, using the best of language. Again, poverty is not a vice. Many of the poor are more honourable than the wealthy, and many who are penniless are preferred to the rich.

5.8 DEALING WITH NON-MUSLIMS
If your neighbours happen to be non-Muslim you must not forget Islamic manners in dealing with neighbours. The recommendation of Islam for good relationship with neighbours is for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

You as a Muslim should demonstrate to all people the goodness of Islam with your gentle manners and kind behaviour. Bukhary and Muslim reported the Hadith of Anas ‘No one is a believer if he do not like for his brother what he likes for himself.’ The report of Muslim said ‘ till he loves for his brother, or neighbour, as he likes for himself’. The scholars said that the word ‘brother’ here is said in the most common context and thus the means brothers in humanity including Muslims and non-Muslims. A Muslim would love for his non-Muslim brother, as he loves for himself, to become a Muslim to enjoy the benefits of Islam and the rewards of Allah.

A Muslim would do very well when he prays for the guidance of his non-Muslim brothers as he likes for his Muslim brothers to remain Muslim and to continue their devotion and adherence to Islam. In Sura Al-Mumtahana, Allah said ‘Allah forbid you not, with regard to those who did not fight you for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, to deal kindly and justly with them: For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fought you for your faith and drove you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, for turning to them for friendship and alliance. Those of you who do that are doing wrong.’

There is nothing to prevent us from being kind, generous and helpful to non-Muslims as long as they do not demonstrate verbal or tangible animosity towards Islam. Hopefully, this will remove barriers to introduce them to join Islam and Muslims.

This positive attitude does not mean going along with non-Muslims and abandoning our distinct personality. It means we must fair, kind and moderate with ourselves and our neighbours in all matters. In interpreting this, Imam Qortubi said: ‘This constitute a consent by Allah to maintain amicable relationship with those who did not antagonize Muslim or attack them. Imam Qortubi cited the opinion of Abdul Rahman bin Zayed who said that this rule was in the beginning of Islam when fighting was not required, but later it was annulled. Imam Qortubi also cited Qatada who said this verse had been annulled by another verse in Sura Al-Tawba (9:5) ‘But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and the slay the pagans wherever you find them..’

After citing these two opinions and other similar ones, Imam Qortubi concluded by saying: The majority of interpreter are said that it is a valid verse that has not been annulled. They cited the story reported by Bukhary and Muslim of Asma’ bint Abi Bakr when she asked the Prophet if could entertain and be kind to her non-Muslim mother who visited her in Madina and the Prophet said ‘Yes.’

It was said that this verse was revealed in this incident. Al-Mauardi and Abo Dawud reported that Amer bin Abdullah bin Al-Zubair narrated that his father told him that before Islam Abu Bakr divorced his wife Qutaila who was the mother of Asma. When the truce was held between the Prophet and the pagans of Quraish, the mother visited her daughter in Madina and brought her an ear-ring and other gifts. Asma was reluctant to accept the gifts before asking the Prophet. In answer to her question Allah revealed this verse. When Allah says ‘to deal kindly and justly with them’ Al-Faraa said that Allah meant those who did not fight you alluding to Khoza tribe who made an agreement with Muslims not to fight them or assist those fighting them. Allah ordered Muslims to be kind and faithful to them as per the terms of the agreement.

Al-Kadi Abu Bakr ibn Al-Arabi said that the expression of qist is not derived from justice but from share, meaning you may give them a portion of your money to maintain cordial relationship. For justice is a duty toward all whether they were friends or foes. Imam Bukhari and Imam Ahmad reported that Anas bin Malik that a Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet, preparing his ablution and to hand him his shoes. The boy became ill. The Prophet went to visit the boy and he was gravely ill with his father sitting at his head. The Prophet invited him to Islam by telling him to say: There is no God but Allah. The boy looked at his father who kept silent. The Prophet repeated his request and the boy looked at his father again who told him ‘Obey Abo Al-Kasim.’ The boy, just before dying, said ‘I bear witness that no God but Allah and that you are His Messenger.’ The Prophet said ‘Thank Allah for enabling me to save him.’

Hafiz Ibn Hajar said that this Hadith indicates many rules; that Muslims are allowed to employ non-Muslims, to visit them while sick. It also directs us to maintain cordiality. It allows the employment of the youth, to offer them Islam if they were mature to make a choice, and to accept their conversion if they embraced Islam.

Hafiz Al-Badr Al-Aini said this Hadith indicted the consent to visit ill non-Muslims especially if they were neighbours since it demonstrated the kindness of Islam and may encourage them to embrace it. The Hadith also allows the employment of non-Muslims and the coridality to them. It also consent employing the youth.

You may console non-Muslims on mourning using appropriate expressions. Imam Al-Kadi Abo Yosuf said, in the end of his book Al-Kharaj, that he asked Abo Hanifa about how to console a Jew or a Christian who lost a child or relative. Abo Hanifa said to say ‘Allah decreed death for all His creations. We ask Allah to make death the best fate to wait for. We all belong to Allah and to Him we all shall return. Be patient and endure this calamity.

Abo Yosuf said we learned that a Christian who used to attend the lectures of Al-Hasan Al-Basri died. Al-Hasan went to console his brother. He said: May Allah reward you for this calamity as He reward your fellows. May Allah bless our death and make it the best fate to wait for. Be patient against the misfortunes. You may say these kind words and remind them of death as the inescapable fate with which we can do nothing about but acceptance and patience.

Imam Ibn A’bdin in his book Rad Al-Muhtar that the Shaf’ee said: You may console Muslims when at the death of a non-Muslim relative. On such occasion you may say: May Allah increase your rewards and patience. You may console non-Muslims on the loss of a Muslim relative. On such occasions you may say: May Allah forgive your deceased and give best condolence.

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