7 April 2007

The Scope of Islamic Manners


Islam does not separate ‘ritual’ from life; rather it is a comprehensive way of life. Religion is that which is part-time, followed by the non-muslims. The Muslims, take from Islam, the teachings for every matter, both private and social for every aspect of life.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
“Oh you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah: verse 208)

These teachings are just as applicable to the old as they are to the young, and to women, just as they are to men. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“Women are the counterparts of men”.
(Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi)

So what is required of men is also required of women, in terms of Islamic manners, and in turn they form the very essence of the Muslim society. Islamic manners cover every minor act, even those most private to us. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught us for example the issues of taharah (purity, cleanliness) with reference to relieving oneself, menstruation, Janaba (major ritual impurity), bathing for example. Even the most private moments are detailed in Hadith, relating guidance to the believers.
At the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), one of the polytheists mockingly said to Salman al-Farsi, “ Your Prophet taught you everything, even the manners of going to the toilet” Salman answered, “Yes, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) forbade us from facing the qibla (direction of the Ka’ba) when urinating or relieving ourselves” Salman continued “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) asked us not to use the right hand when cleaning ourselves and to use at least three stones for cleaning” .

(Reported in Muslim)
Another example of one of the multiple, beautiful Sunnah’s the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is that of the wedding night supplication, read whilst one places his or her hand on the forelock of their partners head:
‘O Allaah, I ask You for the goodness within her and the goodness that you have made her inclined towards, and I take refuge with You from the evil within her and the evil that you have made her inclined towards.’

Islam is introduced by those who are practicing and living Islam, so it is important we are a reflection of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in terms of our adab and etiquettes. The personalities that Islam calls to are those that bring about harmony, peace and suchlike qualities. It is the internal beauty that really makes a person beautiful. By their manners, one will feel close to that person. The exhibition of manners is that which will help others to love us. When we look for a suitable marriage partner, it is important that we look for Husan ul seerah over Husan ul soorah (character before looks). We should lose interest in worldly competition and compete in increasing our manners, we should live in the dunya but be careful of our intentions, because it is that which renders a deed null and void, or rewardable.

When we slaughter and animal we should make sure it is beautiful, and should slaughter it in a just manner. We should sharpen our knives, cut the vein of the animal and ensure we don’t injure it, but are efficient and merciful in our actions.

So we should submit to the will of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) whole heartedly and completely, for us to be true classed the true Muhsinun. It is the Muslims, the Muhsinun that will enter Janaah with no fear or grief.

Adab holds much greater value than ‘amal (actions). We should increase our efforts in adab, so as to insure that our ‘amal are not in vain. Many of us hold status, pride, arrogance in our hearts; we think it is “below us” to help those below us in status for example. Today, we lose sight of the fact that our beloved Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was just in his actions, and made efforts to help where possible and encouraged the same.

Sallam ibn ‘Amr (رضى الله عنه) narrated from one of the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘Your slaves are your brothers, so treat them well. Ask for their help in what is too much for you and help them in what is too much for them.”

Abu Huraira (رضى الله عنه) also said: “Help the worker in his work. He that works for Allah (i.e. the servant) will not be disappointed”.

(Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)
Let us be reminded, so that our actions and adab combine to make us close to the hearts and minds of people and more importantly closer to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and his beloved Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

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