On the authority of Abu Huraira (RadhiAllahu Anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “Part of the perfection of a person’s Islam is leaving that which is of no concern to him.” [Recorded in al-Tirmidhi]

“Part of the perfection of a person’s Islam is leaving that which is of no concern to him.”

This hadith provides a foundation for manners, etiquette and behaviour in Islam. It is clear from this hadith that if we want to perfect our practice of Islam, we must learn to leave that which is of no concern to us. What does this mean?

This hadith is not referring to things which are of no concern to us due to our naffs or selfish desires. Rather, it refers to things that are of no concern to us based on the guidance of the Shariah. That is, we should stay away from things which from a Shariah point of view have no benefit either in this life or the Hereafter. Bringing our own desires, interests and occupations in line with the Shariah is part of the perfection of our practice of Islam.

There may also be many things that we think are of no concern to us, whilst from a Shariah point of view, they should be. This might include for instance, when the teachings of Allah are being violated. This should be of concern to every Muslim whether they wish to admit this or not. When evil is spread or rights are ignored, every Muslim should be concerned. When a fellow Muslim is in need or sincere advice, he must be advised, whether we like giving advice or not. We can see then, that this hadith cannot be used as an excuse for avoiding the obligations of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and advising and guiding others.

So, according to the Shariah, what is of no concern to the believer? In other words, what are the matters that we should avoid? Let’s remember that this hadith refers to our actions, speech and beliefs. It includes staying away from forbidden acts, doubtful acts, disliked acts and over-indulgence in permissible matters.

With this in mind, we should avoid concern over other people’s affairs that have no impact on us. That is, gossiping and backbiting. Let’s remember that to say something about someone that they would not like to hear (even that they are short or fat etc) is backbiting and a punishable sin! The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was once asked if people were held accountable for what they said and he (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) replied:

“O Muaadh, may your mother be bereaved of you. Is there anything that topples people on their faces – or on their noses – into the Hell-fire other than what their tongues reap?” [Recorded in Tirmidhi]

Allah (swt) said:

“There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders charity and righteousness, or conciliation between mankind.” (Surah al-Nisaa:114)

Let’s ask Allah to help us purify our thoughts, deeds and speech and to assist us in leaving matters which are of no concern to us. Ameen.