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TOWARDS REFORMATION OF SOCIETY

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Good manners, respecting others, and ensuring their rights result in friendly bonds between people, and removes dislike and grudges from their hearts. In this way the hearts become pure, sympathetic, and kind; so feelings of love and brotherhood prevail. The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“He is not from my nation, he who does not respect our elderly, have mercy upon our young, and honor our scholars.”
[Musnad Ahmad]

Good moral conduct is the path to beneficial knowledge:

Allah The Exalted Says (what means):

“Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is acquainted with what you do.”
(Quran 58:11)

We are so much in need today for beneficial knowledge that leads us towards the progress, glory, and dignity that we have lacked for a long time. At the same time, this would achieve for us the satisfaction of our Lord and knowledge that is not a result of [following] the inseparable two: whims and ignorance. Good manners save us from such things.

A student of knowledge – any type of knowledge –cannot obtain it without acquiring good manners first. Should a person obtain some knowledge without obtaining good manners, it shall have negative consequences on him in this life and in the Hereafter, because he risks being a bad scholar.

Our predecessors frequently cautioned about taking knowledge from someone who lacks good manners.

One of the righteous predecessors said, “One who seeks religious knowledge and does not have good manners is likely to tell a lie about Allah [The Exalted] and His Messenger.”

Another person said, “Through good manners, knowledge can be understood, and through knowledge, deeds are soundly performed.”

Good manners are a necessity:

Good manners are necessary for every Muslim with Allah The Exalted, the Prophet Muhammad and with all creation. Allah The Exalted Says (what means):

“And speak to people good [words]”
(Quran 2:83)

When there is interaction between a Muslim and another person, each one should fulfill the criterion of rights and obligations; and it is necessary to understand the principles needed for interacting with others. This is what is meant [here] by good manners. This can only be gained through acquiring knowledge. Some would say good manners are a kind of etiquette; but in reality they are a Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) and religion and a way by which to draw nearer to Allah The Exalted; and they are subject to the five basic Sharee‘ah rulings. Good manners are an obligation upon every Muslim to seek and to abide by [in everyday life]. Good manners constitute the following five basic Sharee‘ah rulings: that which is obligatory, forbidden; recommended, and that which is permissible, and that which is disliked.

• Obligations are known through good manners:

Through good manners a Muslim knows what his obligations are in worship, in daily practices, in his interaction with others and in his conduct. The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“May Allah have mercy upon a man who is forgiving if he sells, [who is forgiving] if he buys, and [who is forgiving] if he collects money due to him that he had lent out.”
[Al-Bukhari]

• Good manners are the nation’s image:

We require good manners so that a youth respects his elders, a student respects his teacher, a teacher respects his students, offspring respect their parents; a wife respects her husband. The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“He is not from my nation he who does not respect our elders, have mercy upon our young, and honor our scholars.”
[Musnad Ahmad]

• Good manners are the result of the Da‘wah of the Prophets:

Good manners are the means to every virtue, and they are one of the purposes for sending messengers and the result of their Da‘wah (call to Islam).

The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

• “I was sent to perfect righteous manners.”
[Ahmad]

• “A believer reaches with his good manners the rank of one who is fasting and praying throughout the night.”
[Ahmad]

• “There is nothing heavier in the scales [of the Hereafter] than good manners.”
[Abu Dawood]

• “I guarantee a house on the outskirts of Paradise for he who leaves arguing even if he is right; and a house in the center of Paradise for he who does not lie even when he jokes; and a house in Upper Paradise for the one who has good manners.”
[Abu Dawood]

When you realize the value of good manners in Islam and how Islam gives much importance to it then know that acquiring good manners is comprised of two stages:

First: The manners that parents teach their children

Second: The manners that a person acquires as he grows up

Parents should teach their children basic manners, so that they become an essential part of their lives and they can easily acquire them as they grow up. Should teaching a young child good manners be ignored, it is very difficult to achieve that after he has grown up.

Allah The Exalted Says (what means):

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones…:
(Quran 66:6)

Ibn ‘Abbas (RadiyAllahu Anhu) said (that protecting them in the verse means):
“Educate them and teach them good manners.”

The manners required for a person when he is grown is to supplement what was missed, and this is what is required, because it is necessary for the reformation of the soul. With a righteous soul the body becomes sound; rather, a person’s whole life and affairs become sound.

Allah The Exalted Says (what means):

“He has succeeded who purifies it [the soul], And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].”
(Quran 91: 9-10)