Adherence to Virtues
The first aspect of "Civilized Manner" is that the Muslim should aspire to virtues and beware of inferior and useless matters. In this respect, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Allah loves refined manners and hates low ones. [Note: Reported by Al-Hakim on the authoriy of Sahi Ibn Sa'd, Sahih Al-Jami'Al-saghir, No.1889]
Also, "Allah, the Exalted, loves noble and honorable matters and hates inferior ones" [Note: Reported by Al-Tabarani on the authority of Al-Husain Ibn `Ali, Sahih Al-Jami' Al-Saghir, No.1890] "Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty. He loves refined manners and hates low ones " [Note: Reported by AI-Tabarani in AI-Awsat on the authority of Jabir, Sahih Al-Jami AI-Saghir, No.1744]
"I was sent so as to perfect the noble virtues" in another version, "The best manners". [Note: Reported by lbn Sa'd, vol. I, p.192, also by Ahmad. AI-Raismi said: its transmitters are of the Sahih, vol. 8, p.18. It is also reported by Al Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, No.273, also by AI-Rakim, and Al Baihaqi upheld the same, vol. 2, p. 613, also by AI-Baihaqi in Shu'b Al Iman. All of them reported it on the authority of Abu Hurairah. It is also mentioned in Sahih Al-Jami Al-Saghir, No.2349]
Thus, the Prophet made exhorting people to virtues his mission and aim, and thus put the value of manners in the spotlight. Scholars have said that virtues or the noblest manners ensure the righteousness of the Muslim's religion, life and Hereafter. The Prophet's (Peace be upon him) supplication to Allah includes all these meanings as he says: "O Allah! Make my religion righteous as it is my sole savior. Make my life righteous as long as I live. Make the Hereafter righteous for me as it is inevitable. Make life abundant with good things for me and make death my savior from all kinds of evil." [Note: Reported by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurairah, Sahih Al Jami' Al-Saghir, No. 1263]
Fortunately, Allah gifted Muslims with a model to follow from which excellent virtues have transpired and which were bequeathed by all the messengers. But one model is greater and that is the Prophet whom Allah praises saying: "And surely thou hast sublime morals." (68:4)
"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day, and who remember Allah much." (33:21)
`Aishah, Mother of the Believers, (May Allah be pleased with her) was once asked about the Prophet's morality, she answered,"His manners were the Qur'an." [Note: Reported by Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Dawud on the authority of Aishah, Sahih Al- Jami' AI-Saghir, No.4811]
What she meant by this was that he was an embodiment of the teachings of the Qur'an. Not only had the Prophet explained the Qur'an in words but also in deeds. It is Allah's Will and Benevolence that his noble history is preserved and registered in detail from the time of his birth until his death, in particular the time of his Prophethood and most importantly after the migration to Yathrib.
Scholars have written and classified his invaluable history in different periods. Until now, for the pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, they continue to write about him, focusing and shedding more light on the greatness of his example and his noble life.
Everyone, young or old, single or married, rich or poor, ruler or subject, civilian or the warrior, will find the best example and perfect guidance in this comprehensive Sirah (life story of the Prophet Muhammad) No man in history reached the apex of perfection but Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as the universality of his Sirah ran parallel to that of his message. [Note: See Muhib Al-Din AI-Khatib's Muhammadan Risalah (Muhammad's Message) a collection of lectures by Sulaiman Al-Nadawi and rendered into Arabic by Muhib Al-Din Al-Khatib and published by Al Matba'h AI-Salafiyah]
Virtues include the best manners and conduct which the Sunnah upholds and advocates. There are many Hadiths to this effect. The Prophet (Peace he upon him) said:
Thus, the Prophet set the foundations of Muslim's relationship with Allah, himself and the people.
A. Kindness, Forbearance and Magnanimity:
The Sunnah advocates treating people in a kind rather than an aggressive way. It advocates generosity and leniency rather than harshness and vulgarity. It urges the Muslim to control his anger and subdue his rebellious self. Further- more, it encourages him to forgive and forget as much as possible and to be patient at the time of extreme anger. Allah, the Exalted, states some of these virtues saying: "Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant." (7:199)
Allah also describes the servants of Allah saying:
Allah, the Exalted and Almighty, describes the pious for whom He prepared a garden which spans the heavens and the earth saying: "Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good." (3:134)
Both the verbal Hadiths and practical life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) portray for us a detailed way of life and they show an example which comes alive.
For instance, Jabir reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "May Allah's Mercy be on him who shows tolerance in his buying, selling, and paying or demanding back his money." [Note: Reported by Al- Bukhari and lbn Majah on the authority of Jabir, Sahih Al- Jami' AI-Saghir, No.3495, also by Muslim in the book of Al-Bir, No.2593]
`Aishah reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Allah, the Almighty is Merciful and loves mercifulness. He rewards mercifulness more than harshness or any other thing". [Note: Reported by Muslim, No.2594, and Abu Dawud, No.4808]
This means that Allah rewards those who are gentle by making their course easy in this life and by rewarding them in the Hereafter.
In another hadith, `Aishah reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Mercifulness is recommended in everything, for anything that is void of mercifulness is faulty". [Note: Reported by Muslim in the book of Al-Bir, No.2594]
This hadith is narrated to an occasion when `Aishah mounted stubborn horse in which she spurred several times until the Prophet said "Be gentle ... etc.
Abi Al-Darda' reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Whoever is bestowed with the blessing of mercifulness has his share of goodness and whoever is deprived of it, is deprived of his share of goodness". [Note: Reported by AI-Tinmidhi, No.2014, and he said that it is a Good Sound hadith]
Jurair Ibn Abdullah reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:"Whoever is deprived of mecifulness is deprived of all goodness." [Note: Reported by Abu Dawud, No.4809, and Muslim, No.2592]
Is there, then, any sensible man who would jeopardize his chance to win all goodness. Abu Hurairah narrated that "A Bedoum once urinated in the mosque. The people caught him but the Prophet ordered them saying: "Leave him and pour a bucket of water over the area he had passed urine, for you have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult. " [Note: Reported by Al-Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi and AI-Nasa'i]
The Prophet's point of view was that the treatment of this kind of vulgar behavior and vulgar man was easy, so why should one make things difficult?
Ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet said to Al-'Ashaj, a man of `Abd Al-Qays' delegation, "You have two qualities which Allah loves and they are meekness and patience." [Note: Reported by Muslim and AI-Tinmidhi, Sahih Al-Jami' AI-Saghir, No. 2136]
Anas reported that:
"Once I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) whilst he was wearing a Najrani cloak with a thick margin and a Bedouin followed him and pulled his cloak so violently that I noticed the shoulder of Allah's Prophet affected by the margin of the cloak because he tugged so hard. Then, the Bedouin said: "O Muhammad! Give me some of Allah's wealth which is with you." Allah's Prophet (Peace be upon him) turned and looked at him, then he smiled and ordered that he be given something." [Note: Agreed upon, AI-lu' wal Marjan, No.629]
This privilege of discernment strikes a difference between the civilized and the uncivilized person. The civilized man should excuse vulgar actions which are stimulated and motivated by his Bedouinism, his environment and the way he was brought up. He must defuse his ignorance with meekness, his harshness with gentleness, his vulgarity with good-naturedness and his ill-treatment with good treatment!
Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) favored some people in the distribution of the booty and excluded others; he gave Al-'Aqra' Ibn Habis one hundred camels and gave `Uyainah Ibn Husain the same amount, and also gave to some of the eminent Arabs and gave preference to them. Then a person came and said: "By Allah in this distribution justice has not been observed, nor has Allah's Pleasure been the aim." I said to him "By Allah I will inform the Prophet of what you have said. And when I informed him he said:"If Allah and His Prophet did not act justly, who else would act justly, may Allah bestow mercy upon Moses, for he was harmed with more than this, yet he remained patient." [Note: Agreed upon, Al-lu'lu Wal Marjan, No.637]
Obviously, this rude man could not appreciate the higher interests considered by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on distributing the war booty. The Prophet wanted to join the hearts of the people who had newly embraced Islam in case that Islam had not firmly entered their hearts yet. He, evidently, bought their loyalty to Islam, to its message and to its leader with transient worldly things. Allah gave him permission to give them a share of the alms when he said: "For those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth)" (9:60)
From that, they should be given a share of war booty. The Prophet's attitude towards those who are inclined to give hastily judgements and are prejudiced, was one of sincere forgiveness, meekness and patience. He followed in the footsteps of his brothers the Prophets and the Messengers of firm will (Ulu Al-'Azm). [Note: Those are the prophets, Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Those prophets were faced by a great torture and persecution from their people in communicating Allah's Message to them. But they remained too forbearing and patient and proceeded further in preaching their people. Thus the Prophet Muhammad was instructed to be patient and follow in their footsteps] He ignored the unruly enthusiasm of some of his Companions to punish them severely to make an example of them.
In a similar case to that of Ibn Mas'ud in which the Prophet was distributing gold from Yemen amongst four persons of those whose hearts are newly inclined to Islam, a man stood up and said: "We are more deserving of this gold than these persons.!" When heard this the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, "Don't you trust me even though I am the trustee of what is in the heaven, and I receive the news of heaven (i.e. Divine Inspiration) both in the morning and in the evening". Then a man rose with sunken eyes, raised cbeek bones, a shaven head and a waist sheet that was tucked up, and he said: "O, Allah's Prophet! Be afraid of Allah." The Prophet said: "`Woe to you! Am I not of all the people in the earth the most entitled to fear Allah." Then the man went away. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid said: "Let me cut his throat." The Prophet said: "No, for he may offer Prayers." Khalid Ibn Al-Walid said: "Numerous are those who offer Prayers and say by their tongues what is not in their hearts." Allah's Prophet said: "I have not been ordered to search the hearts of the people or cut open their bellies." [Note: Reported by Muslim in the book of Zakah, No.144, and Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 4]
This hadith highlights someone who was a pioneer in narrow-mindedness. He was not able to perceive the higher aims of the Messenger of Allah. He said what he said out of rudeness and superficial judgment. To him, religion was nothing more than a thick beard, shaved head, and a tucked up waist sheet! In spite of this, the Prophet refused Khalid's suggestion and refused `Umar's suggestion in many other similar situations. He decided to treat this man and others like him as Muslims not with standingly.
The Prophet's attitude towards those people was that of forgiveness and pardon and he did not surrender to an emergent anger or deepened envy of any person. In conquest of Mecca, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to the Meccan polytheists, in spite of all such harm and persecution he had received at their hands, "O, people of Quraish! what do expect me to do with you?" They replied: "Peace, a gracious brother and a son of a gracious brother! the Prophet said: "I will say to you what Joseph said to his brothers before: "This day let no reproach be upon you! Go you are free." [Note: See, Sirat Ibn Hisham, vol.2, p.274]
Thus, he forgave them completely and open anew leaf with them. Furthermore, he taught his Companions how to vanquish hatred and resentment.
Abu Hurairah reported that a man said to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) "Advise me! The Prophet said: "Do not get angry." The man asked the same again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, "Do not get angry." [Note: Reported by AI-Bukhari in the book of AI-Adab, see Sahih Al Bukhari and Fath Al-Bari, No.6116]
In another version the Prophet said: "The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength. The strong is the one who controls himself whilst in anger." [Note: Agreed upon on the authority of Abu Hurairah, Al-Lu `lu' Wal Marjan', No.1676]
Furthermore, "The strong man is not the one who knocks people down. The strong man is the one who overcomes himself ". [Note: Reported by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, AI-Ihsan, No.717]
The strong man is the one who has a strong body and who can knock people down, but this hadith teaches Muslims that true strength lies in the strength of the soul rather than the strength of the body. However, this does not mean that one should not wish to have a strong body, on the contrary, the believer must prepare himself physically to achieve his message in life. Most importantly, but preparing himself spiritually take precedence. In other words, he must have inner strength to control his desires and whims before any attempt to control others.
B. Refined manners:
There are so many Hadiths in the Sunnah that urge Muslims to become good in character and form warm social relations.
It suffices here to remind the reader that all the books which included the Sunnah, devoted a separate chapter to manners. These books recited a great number of both Good and Sound Hadiths which dealt with refined manners or politeness, or what we may term as Civilized Manners (Suluk Al-Hadari).
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the chapter of Manners (Adab) includes 256 Hadiths as Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned in his explanation of Al-Bukhari in Fath Al-Bari (The Conquest of the Creator). Although, the book of Al-Jami Al-Sahih includes so many chapters which are relevant to the same subject such as: marriage, asking permission, medicine, the ailing and diseased, Al-Riqaq (Softening of hearts), food, drink, desires and others.
In Sahih Muslim the book on Good Manners (Adab) includes 45 Hadiths plus 155 Hadiths on greetings in Al Salam book, and 166 others in the Book of Righteousness (Al-Bir) including relations and manners, and 21 others in the book on Terms (Al-Alfaz) including manners and others along with many others found in different books.
As for Abu Dawud, the book on Good Manners, of his book Sunan, is classified into 180 chapters which includes 500 Hadiths.
Imam Al-Bukhari showed much interest in this issue so much so that he devoted a whole book in what he called "The Single Book on Good Manners" (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad) This was done to draw a distinction between it and that mentioned in the book of Al-Jami' Al-Sahih. The Imam did not stipulate the authenticity of his Hadiths precisely as in Sahih Al-Bukhair, therefore, his book included 1322 Hadiths which cover all or most aspects of good behavior. It included the Hadiths that are traceable in ascending order of traditionaries to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as well as the Hadiths which were reported by the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) and part of what they have endowed from the light of Prophethood.
I can not list here the headings of the chapters as there are 644 chapters, but I will mention some of them so that one is able to grasp what is meant by refined good manners which the Imams of Hadith called Al-Adab and which we call Civilized Manners (Suluk Al-Hadari).
|These headings are as follows:
These teachings encompass all aspects of life. Every chapter includes at least one hadith which sets the basis for the perfect way of life uniting healthy taste, noble manners, enlightened thought, compassionate heart, and the righteous way.