The Sunnah As it Pertains to Good Manners

• His Character Was the Qur’an (first issue)

By: Dr. Khalid bin Abd al-Aziz al-Janahi ((Bahrain)) - 2012-09-10

All praise is for Allah, who sent Muhammad to creation in order for them to adhere to his Sunnah, imitate his character, and follow his path.  May Allah’s peace and blessings be on him.


            Our Prophet is the one Allah said about, “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah(Muhammad you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in(the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day.” (33:21);“And We have sent you (O Muhammad but as a mercy for the `Alameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists).” (21:107)

            Also, Allah prepared Muhammad  for all this; He said, “And verily, you(O Muhammad are on an exalted (standard of) character.” (68:4)

            The Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them, and those after them, took great care in striving to imitate the character of Allah’s Messenger  They did so to the extent that they asked the honorable `Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, about his characteristics, and she responded, by saying, “His character was the Qur’an.”

            Whoever reflects on the life-story of the Prophet r will realize that he r was implementing the teachings of the Qur’an in all aspects of his life.  In some instances, the Qur’an directs the Prophet to the best of characteristics, “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don’t punish them).” (7:199)

            Sometimes, Allah would remind His Prophet r that He has bestowed a great blessing on him by granting him good manners and an exalted character, such as by saying,

Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad amongst yourselves(i.e., whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad anxious over you (to be rightly guided, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the Hell-fire), for the believers (he r is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.” (9:128)

            Other times, Allah would urge His Prophet to be lenient in dealing with people and to teach them good manners, “And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults).” (3:159)

            Also, Allah said, “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad the Way of your Lord(i.e., Islam) with wisdom(i.e., with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” (16:125)

            This is how the Prophet’s life was.  He was the best of people and had the best manners among all of them.  He used to be in the service of his family when they needed it, as well.  He would feed the cattle, milk the sheep, mend his clothes and shoes, and would invoke his Lord by saying, “Guide me to the best of manners, because only You can guide to the best of manners; and take away from me the worst of manners, because only You can take the worst of manners away from me.” (Muslim, 771, from the hadeeth of `Ali t)

            He r also called us to emulate his character.  He r said, “The best of the believers in faith is the best of them in manners.” (At-Tirmithi, 1196, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah t)  Indeed, our Prophet r was, and still is, the best in manners among all people and had the most perfect faith. 

            The Prophet also said, “I was sent to perfect the best manners.” (al-Bukhari in, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 273, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah t)

            He also said, “The closest of you in grade, to me, on the Day of Resurrection is the one with the best manners.” (Collected by Ahmad, 7035, from the hadeeth of `Abdullah bin `Amr t)

            He also mentioned that with good manners, the believer will reach the level of those who fast and pray, saying, “A believer can achieve the status of the one who prays at night, and fasts during the day, by having good manners.” (Collected by Abu Dawud, 4798, from the hadeeth of `Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her)

            The Prophet also clarified that nothing is heavier on the scale on the Day of Resurrection than good manners; he r said, “There is nothing heavier on the scale on the Day of Resurrection than good manners, and indeed, Allah hates every obscene sinner’.”(Collected by At-Tirmithi, 2002, from the hadeeth of Abu ad-Darda’t)

            The Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with all of them, frequently asked the Prophet r for advice, and he advised them to fear and obey Allah, and to have good manners.  Abu Tharr (t) said, “Allah’s Messenger r said to me, ‘Fear and obey Allah, wherever you are; follow a sin up with a good deed, and the sin will be erased; and treat people with good manners.” (Collected by At-Tirmithi, 1987)

            Also, the Prophet r advised Mu`ath (t), before he set off for travel, “Worship Allah and do not associate anything in worship with Him.”  Mu`ath said, “O Allah’s Messenger, give me more advice.”  He r said, “If you commit a mistake, follow it with a good deed.”  Mu`ath said again, “O Allah’s Messenger, give me more advice.” He r said, “Remain on the Straight Path, and have good manners.” (Collected by Ibn Hibban in his sahih, 524, from the hadeeth of `Abdullah bin `Amr bin al-`Aas t)

            Further, Allah’s Messenger r was asked about the main reason behind entering Paradise, and he replied, “Fearing and obeying Allah, and having good manners.” (Collected by At-Tirmithi, 2004, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah t)

            Also, when a man asked the Prophet r, “Which of the believers has the most complete faith”, he r said, “The one with the best manners.” (Collected by Ibn Hibban, 484, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah t)

            He r also said to his Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with all of them, “Should I not inform you of the best among you?”  They said, “Of course, O Allah’s Messenger!”  He said, “Those who live the longest among you, and those with the best manners among you.” (Collected by Ahmad, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah t)

            As for our Righteous Predecessors, their manners and dealings were in accordance to the teachings of the glorious Qur’an and what the honorable Sunnah encouraged.  Good characteristics were their slogan, and they indulged in advising one another with the Islamic morals and values; they also included this in what they would write and teach.

            An example of this is what Imamas-Sabuni (D. 449 Hijri) said in his book, `Aqidat as-Salaf As-`hab al-Hadeeth, “They, meaning the salaf, encouraged each other to pray by night after having slept [a part of the night], and to keep ties of kinship as much as they could, to spread the greeting of peace, or salam, to feed the poor, to have mercy on the destitute, the poor, and orphans, to be concerned with the affairs of the Muslims, to be modest in food, drink, dress, wedding ceremonies, and spending, to be foremost in rushing towards performing good actions, to enjoin good and forbid evil, to hasten to do all types of good, to fear the consequence of greed, and to advise one another with the truth, and with having patience.”

Therefore, good manners were a pillar of faith and a fundamental aspect of the methodology of the righteous salaf.

            The salaf understood the value of good manners.  For example, the wife of Abu ad-Darda’ said, “Abu ad-Darda’ prayed one night, and he started crying and supplicating by saying, ‘O Allah, just as You have created me in the best form, then give me the best of manners,’ until dawn arrived. I said to him, ‘O Abu ad-Darda’, your only supplication last night was for good manners.’ He said, ‘O Um ad-Darda’, Allah’s slaves will keep perfecting their manners, until they enter Paradise because of them; others will keep making their manners worse, until that ends with them being admitted into Hellfire.’”

            Abu ad-Darda’t understood that good manners were a way to enter Paradise.  Abu Hurairah treported that Allah’s Messenger r was asked about the most of what will enter people into Paradise, and the Prophet r responded, “Fear from Allah, and good manners.

            Our Righteous Predecessors used to advise each other to strive to have good manners and would reprimand one another in this regard.  For example, when someone was speaking in the presence of `Ata bin Abi Rabah and another man interrupted him, `Ata said, “SubhanAllah (May Allah be Glorified!); what manners are these? I would hear a narration from an individual and, even though I would be more knowledgeable than him in that hadeeth, would act as if I don’t know anything about it [rather than interrupting him].” (Sifat as-Safwah, 2/214, by Ibn al-Jawzi)

            Whoever examines and analyses the state of Muslims these days will notice a great distance between them and good manners and characteristics.  One will find the mannerism of most people to be contradictory to what the Qur’an teaches and what the Sunnah legislates, so much so, that we have been ostracized by other nations, in our times, because of our bad manners.

            Therefore, O slaves of Allah! Ponder on Allah’s Statement, “And speak good to people.” (2:83)Be gentle with your brothers and smile in the faces of one another, because, “Your smiling in the face of your brother is a charity.”  If you do that, you will achieve the pleasure of your Lord, your lives will be prolonged, and you will ultimately win by being loved by and close to your Prophet r on the Day of Resurrection.

            Lastly, all praise is to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.


Imamal-Albani said, “I used to think that the problem plaguing many Muslims is in their creed. However, I came to discover that the problem also lies in their mannerism.”





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