Indeed, Allah has bestowed favor upon the believers by sending the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم as a mercy to mankind. He came with the message of truth alongside a revelation — the Qur’an to purify them of their iniquity. This comes with purging the heart away from polytheism and all forms of immoral activities. Among his mission besides establishing the unity of God is the perfection of noble character. A Muslim is not true to his faith if he’s lacking in good moral conduct.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: I have only been sent (by Allah) to complete the good manners.— Al-Hakim
So part of the great responsibility bestowed upon a Muslim besides worship is to establish good manners. In so many chapters of the Qur’an, Allah commands the believers to follow up good deeds with moral conduct. Such an instance was mentioned in Suratul Ankaboot verse 45 where Allah said: “Recite, [O Muḥammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do”. And in the verse where Allah prescribed fasting for the believers — Suratul Baqarah verse 183, He mentioned: “Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may remain conscious of Allah”. A similitude was also mentioned with regards to zakat in Suratu Tawbah verse 103. Hence observing acts of worship like fasting, prayer, and charity, in turn, leads you to develop moral character.
In so many narrations, the Prophet [PBUH] mentioned the virtues of good manners and how they could lead one to paradise. A few examples are depicted below:
Aisha [RA] reported that Allah’s Messenger [PBUH] said: “Indeed a believer attains a status in jannah because of his good manners, the level of one who fasts and stands (for the night prayers).— Abu Dawud
Jabir Ibn Abdullah Radiallahu Anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: Indeed, those among you who are most beloved to me and who will be seated nearest to me on Resurrection Day are those with the best manners.— At-Tirmidhi
Abu Hurayrah Radiallahu Anhu reported that Allah’s Apostle peace be upon him said: “The things that mainly cause people to enter Jannah are revering Allah and good manners. And those that mainly cause people to enter the fire are the mouth and private parts.”— At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah
Having established this, it’s important to observe a few moral etiquettes that are highly praiseworthy, lead to felicity, and are well established from the sunnah of the best of mankind — peace be upon him.
He, it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them (from the filth of disbelief and polytheism), and teaching them the Book (this Qur’ân, Islâmic laws and Islâmic jurisprudence) and Al-Hikmah (As-Sunnah: legal ways, orders, acts of worship of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم). And verily, they had been before in manifest error. — Qur’an 62[Al-Jumu’ah]:2
Our teacher, the best among humanity, Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] is the best role model to imitate if we want to strive in perfecting our manners. Allah [SWT] describes him [PBUH] as thus; “And Verily, you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) are on an exalted (standard of) character.” (Surah Al-Qalam:4). Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,”I have only been sent to perfect righteous behavior.” Verily, this Deen is good manners, and we have exemplary models from the Quran and Sunnah, few of which are;
1. Truthfulness: Allah the Exalted and Most High loves the truthful, established it as a quality of the believers and praised them for it in many chapters of the Qur’an. He also condemned the liars and considered it as a trait of the hypocrites.Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud radiallahu anhu reported that Allah’s Apostle peace be upon him said:
“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to evil-doing and evil-doing leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.”— Bukhari and Muslim
2. Humility: The prophet peace be upon him was so humble that he disapproved of people standing for him upon arrival. Humbleness is a recommended characteristic of the believers but we scarcely see it these days. Allah’s Apostle peace be upon him emphasized it to the point where he mentioned that anyone with an iota of pride in his heart will not enter paradise.Iyad Ibn Himar radiallahu anhu reported that Allah’s Apostle peace be upon him said:
“Indeed Allah has revealed to me that you must show humbleness so that none among you will boast over anyone else and none among you would transgress against anyone else.— Muslim
3. Kindness and Mercy: As Muslims, we are enjoined upon ourselves to show utmost kindness and mercy towards each other. We should be ready to forgive, guide, and show empathy to others. Mercy here extends to our spouses, parents, children, weak members of society, animals, our fellow Muslim brethren, and of course humanity at large.Abdullah Ibn Amr radiallahu anhu reported that the Prophet peace be upon him said:
“the merciful ones are shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Show mercy to those who are on earth, and the One above the heavens will show mercy to you— Ahmad
4. Justice and Avoiding Oppression: Muslims are enjoined to uphold justice and avoid oppression in all circumstances by any means necessary. Allah the Most Gracious mentioned this and was exemplified by His Messenger peace be upon him.Allah mentioned to us in Hadithul-Qudsi:
O, my servants! I have indeed prohibited injustice upon myself and made it prohibited among you. Therefore, do not oppress one another. — Muslim
Jabir bin Abdullah Radi Allahu Anhu said that the Prophet peace be upon him mentioned: “avoid oppression for oppression will result in deep darkness on the day of resurrection; avoid stinginess because stinginess destroyed those before you”.— Muslim
5. Generosity and Benevolence: Allah’s Messenger peace be upon him was the most benevolent and generous of the people. He never denied the request of anyone who came to him asking for something. A man once came to him asking for something and he gave him a flock of sheep filling the area of two mountains. The man was so happy that he returned to his people and invited them to Islam saying: ‘embrace Islam for Muhammad is so generous that he gives in charity without fearing poverty.’ — Muslim
Part of our being Muslim is to spend in the cause of Allah as we can’t attain piety until we spend of that which Allah has bestowed upon us. Share with your kith, kin, and those in need.
Beloved brethren, good manners are of the best deeds that could lead one to paradise. The Prophet peace be upon him was once asked about which deeds will lead one to paradise? He said: “Piety and Good Character”.
Allah’s Apostle said: “No deed that will be placed on the scale of deeds on the day of judgment will be heavier than good character. Indeed a person with good character will attain the rank of those with a good record of voluntary fasts and prayers”.— Tirmidhi
We ask Allah to count us among those who attain the best of manners.