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Islamic Ethics .. The Best

Discussion in 'Islam DIR' started by Islam, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Islam

    Islam Member

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    I seek refuge from Allah, the All Knowing, the All Hearing, from the cursed Satan, in the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, we praise Allah, thank Him, seek His help, guidance and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and the sinfulness of our deeds. He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guiding advocate.

    Everybody will find it strange that the manner that we talk about this time is part of Islam; it is the manner of (courtesy, politeness, nobility and high-ranking behavior with other people). Many of you may wonder: What is the relation between this manner and Islam? I intend through this lecture to reach the conclusion that the origin of this manner is Islam.

    First: What is the meaning of courtesy and politeness?

    I mean politeness in dealing with people, I mean a sensitive spirit, I mean a pretty soul, I mean beauty, cleanliness, order, I mean the delicate sensation and perceptive soul that discerns what is wrong through a glance or a smile.

    This is a real Islamic manner; nevertheless I know that you are still hesitant and wondering, “What is the relationship between this manner and religion?” I also know that the title of this lecture does not attract you, and that what I intend to speak about should be addressed to diplomats for example, or that it should be taught in foreign schools where they would value such a speech! So what do we have to do with it?

    In our societies, we have four types of people depending on how they view and interact with this manner:

    - First type: Those who think that politeness, courtesy, civilization, progress and high manners are Western or European values that we have adopted from them. For this reason we learn them in foreign language schools, and send our children there to learn courtesy and politeness so they may grow up with these manners. Our speech today is directed to this type in particular so together we will see the origin of this manner.

    - Second type: Those who grew up with this manner at home but imagine that Islam is contrary to it. When they hear of religious people, this conjures up images of impoliteness, disorder and uncleanness. Courtesy therefore becomes a barrier between him/her and religion. Here I should say to them: No, this barrier that you have put up between courtesy, progress, civilization, politeness and religiousness is but an illusion, because the origin of courtesy is from our religion, Islam.

    - Third type: Those who view Islam as being in the mosque only, that it has no relation with anything outside of it such as politeness, management and dealings.

    - Fourth type: A devout young man, who understands Islam as worship, prayer, invocation of Allah, night prayer, but has no courtesy. As a result, he has made other people hate the idea of religiousness, and this could include his parents. They may say, “Look, since he has become religious, he has neglected his appearance!” He is religious, sticking to his worshipping, sticking to satisfying Allah but he cannot comprehend that courtesy is one of the Islamic values that our Prophet (PBUH) came with.

    Today I want to address this type saying: Please comprehend Islam as an integrated religion, for this reason I consider this type of manner as one of the most important Islamic manners which we should adhere to, and it is of no less importance than honesty or faithfulness.

    At the end, my aim is to implant one very important concept: we are proud because we belong to Islam.

    I know that everyone has grown up and learned courtesy at home. However, he views it as a matter of etiquette, especially those who are from high social standings, and not because it is part of Islamic teaching. I am here to say that your dealings with courtesy and politeness originally stem from Islam.

    Let us start our speech after this long introduction with the types of politeness and courtesy:

    Types of Politeness and Courtesy:

    1) Politeness with Allah (SWT)
    2) Politeness with Allah's Prophet (PBUH)
    3) Politeness with people.

    Politeness with people

    Let us begin with people and conclude with Allah the Great and Almighty:

    Actually, when I tried to enclose everything that Islam said concerning politeness and courtesy, I was lost and I knew that I had put the different aspects in order. For this reason, I will start with politeness and courtesy in your home, then in street, then with those to whom you pay visits, and so on.

    For example, one comes home carrying with him a kind of food that he likes and has a large appetite for. He is afraid that his parents may see it and take it, so what does he do? He hides it, eats it on his way home, or eats it with his friends. I repeat, I am not talking here about being dutiful to one’s parents; I am talking about the courtesy of a Muslim man with his parents and Islam’s evaluation of this courtesy. I will tell you a story:

    One of our Prophet's companions was dying, his brothers asked him to utter the two declarations of faith but he could not. So they went to the Prophet (PBUH) as this is a very serious matter. The companion was a disciplined man, close to the Prophet (PBUH), and obedient to Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (PBUH). “Has he a mother?” the Prophet (PBUH) asked, “Yes, Prophet of Allah”, they answered. The Prophet (PBUH) went to his mother asking her about her son's piety. “He was dutiful to me”, she said, “but he used to bring fruits and food and hide them away from me, feed his kids without feeding me.” So he could not utter the two declarations of faith because he did not deal with his mother courteously! The Prophet (PBUH) then lit a fire and told the mother that her son would burn if she does not forgive him, so she said, “I have forgiven him.” When her heart moved, her son’s tongue said, “I declare that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Prophet.”

    Look at this incident and to Islam’s evaluation of dealing courteously with one’s mother in a simple situation. This man used to give fruits to his children and not to his mother, compare this with your deeds.

    Other manners: Your mother calls out to you and you do not answer her.

    Islam sets an example for this point. There is a very long Hadith narrated by the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “A time ago, there was a man called Gureige the worshiper, who used to pray a lot. Once when he was praying his mother came, called for him, he said, “Oh Allah, my mother and my prayer”, he was confused, and went on with his prayer so his mother went out. The day after, she came again calling, “O Gureige.” and he said, “Oh Allah, my mother and my prayer”, also he went on with his prayer. Then on the third day, she came, called for him,” Oh Gureige.” He said,” Oh Allah my mother and my prayer.” He went on with his prayer. By then his mother was angry and said, “Oh Allah, don't make him die until he looks into the faces of….” and said a word that means prostitutes. So a prostitute who was pregnant kept bugging him pretending that the son was his, so the Israelites(1) began beating and hurting him until Allah saved him at the end.” (Authentic Hadith, narrated by Muslim, Al-Masnad As-Sahih, 2550).

    Notice how he was a worshiper and dutiful towards his mother, but she was hurt because he had not answered her when she called for him three times. I present this story to a young man who goes to Jumua’a prayer and is late for two hours while his parents are waiting for him at lunch and not to the young man busy with worshipping away from his parents. I also present it to a girl who sits with her friends for hours and hours while she refuses to sit with her mother for half an hour.

    Even in asking permission to enter one's parents' room

    Can we find a verse addressing politeness in entering the parents' bedroom in this Qur’an, which will be read to all on the Day of Judgment? Yes.

    Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as “O you who believe! Let your slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) on three occasions” (TMQ 24:58). (1)

    This verse sets one of the rules of courtesy, children who have not reached the age of puberty should ask permission three times: before Fajr (morning) prayer, and while you take your clothes off for the noon siesta and after the ‘Isha’ (late-night) prayer. This religion does not only organize life in the mosque or at home, it has come to organize life inside the bedroom! Truly there is no God except Allah (SWT).

    A man came to the Prophet (PBUH), “O Prophet, should I ask permission to enter my mother's room?” asked the man, “Yes”, said the Prophet (PBUH), “ O Prophet, should I ask permission to enter my mother's room?”, asked the man, “Yes”, said the Prophet (PBUH), “ O Prophet, should I ask permission to enter my mother's room?”, asked the man, the Prophet (PBUH) then asked, “Would you like to see her naked?”, “No Prophet”, answered the man, “Then ask her permission to enter her room”. (Authentic, Al-Albani, Sahih al-Adab, 809).

    Hence, generations grew up with this rule of asking permission before entering their parent’s room through the instructions, courtesy and manners of Islam. So it is Islam that moved humanity to civilization and culture, for this reason, such a situation was strange to this man.

    We will now speak about courtesy with the wife since we are still tackling the issue of courtesy in the home.

    For example, we have all seen how in foreign films and serials, if the husband is having dinner with his wife, he cuts a piece of the meat and puts it in his wife's mouth using his fork. The youth in particular, like this and say, “How romantic!”. We grow up imitating theses dealings pretending modernity through imitating Europeans, and we forget that what our Prophet taught us. To whom will you now refer?
     
  2. Islam

    Islam Member

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    I am not stating anything new, for all of these are Ahadith with which we are all familiar, yet we do not realize that they lay the foundations of courtesy and politeness in our interactions. We must therefore take great pride and a sense of belonging to this religion Islam.

    Other aspects of politeness when dealing with the wife include taking care of her when she feels weak or angry:

    One time Aisha was sitting with the Prophet (PBUH) and she raised her voice just as Abu Bakr As-Sedeek (her father) was entering the room, he was just about to hit her but the Prophet (PBUH) stepped in between them and calmed Abu Bakr, then Abu Bakr left. The Prophet (PBUH) returned to Aisha, and found her defeated since she was about to be humiliated and beaten, so he said to her trying to make her feel better, “Did you see how I stepped in between you and him?” It is the Prophet’s (PBUH) courtesy and presence of mind in making her feel better at her moment of weakness.

    Many husbands do not deal with their wives with courtesy or tenderness, always threatening that they will marry someone else, or that they will divorce them. This kind of talk even in a joking manner is hurtful to the woman.

    Aisha was once sitting with the Prophet (PBUH) telling him the story of ten men with their wives. A very long story and at its end she mentioned the story of a man named Abu Zar’e, who was a gentle man and loved his wife and they lived happily together, however he divorced her. The Prophet (PBUH) then looked at Aisha and told her, “I was to you as Abu Zar’e was to Um Zar’e, however I will not divorce you.” (Authentic Hadith, narrated by al-Albany, Ash-Shmael Al-Muhammadiah, 215). The Prophet (PBUH) realized Aisha’s worry and wanted to quickly remove any doubts in her mind that a similar thing could happen to her, all this through his quick understanding and extreme courtesy.

    From the aspects that again show a lack of courtesy: The husband returns home after a long workday with a frown on his face and he sits to read newspapers till he goes to sleep. This really hurts the wife. Yes, you may be very tired and exhausted from working all day however, you are not busier than the Prophet (PBUH) was. Look at how he (PBUH) was in his house: All of the Prophet’s wives mention that he was bright-faced in his home and that he would always bring a smile to their faces. He used to sit and talk with them, and not close the door behind him and say I am tired and busy with many problems. However, when the call to prayer came, it was as if he did not know them and they did not know him.

    In the question of appearance and looking good: The husband always wants his wife to adorn herself before him however, he does not pay any attention to his appearance and how he should look before her.

    Abdullah Ibn Abbas, one of the most knowledgeable companions said, “I like to adorn myself before my wife, just as I like her to adorn herself before me.” Honestly, the meanings of courtesy in Islam are extremely high and sophisticated.

    The last example that we will speak about concerns the sexual relationship between the husband and his wife:

    The Qur’an has referred to the courteous manner of their interaction in bed, for Islam left neither small nor large matters without discussing them. Listen to this ayah that can be translated as, “Your women are a tillage for you; so come up to your tillage however you decide, and place forward (good deeds) for yourselves; and be pious to Allah, and know that you will be meeting Him. And give good tidings to the believers.” (TMQ 2: 223). Therefore, doing some good act for your yourselves beforehand refers to the tender and affectionate acts undertaken before the intimate relation, as this is from the courtesies of the relationship between a man and his wife.

    The Qur’an has referred to this in a word that is full of courtesy: “Place forward good deeds for yourselves”.

    • Courtesy and Politeness in the home: A nice example from the Prophet’s life

    If you want to enter your home, then it is from the Sunnah to ring the bell first and wait seconds before opening the door.

    This is for two reasons:

    First: Because Islam likes you to see your wife in the most beautiful image, and her hair or her dress may be disheveled and so it is not nice for you to see her in that way. Therefore, you should give her chance to neaten her self up as it is also from courtesy for her to look beautiful for you, as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “if you look at her, she pleases you”.

    Second: Because some men are by nature suspicious about their wives, and the Prophet (PBUH) wants to remove this attribute from their hearts and minds, as they should not treat their wives in this way. You should always give her security and knock the door first so that she is aware of your presence and then enter the house.

    What kind of sophisticated courtesy is this? It may be simple but it makes a big difference when dealing with people.

    Courtesy and politeness in the street

    In fact, the etiquettes of courtesy and politeness are hard to find in the Egyptian street. We will, however, go through them one by one.

    The way of walking: We were taught at home that we should not walk idly or kick the stones on the ground, right?

    Listen to what they used to say about the Prophet (PBUH), “If he walked, he did so quickly but did not run.” His walk was serious and full of courtesy and politeness. It was neither slack nor quick.

    Even the Holy Qur'an mentioned the issue of walking, such as in the ayah that can be translated as, “And the (faithful) slaves of the Most Gracious (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness.” (TMQ 25:63). It is therefore a sedate walk that is courteous and not arrogant.

    Another lost etiquette in the Egyptian street is about honking your car’s horn:

    A youth might want to call over his friend while waiting outside. He would do so by honking the horn without any courtesy, simply because he is too lazy to go up the stairs to his friend's home.

    Even this point is mentioned in the Qur'an, as in the following ayah that can be translated as, “Verily those who call you from behind the dwellings, most of them have no sense. And if they had patience till you could come out to them, it would have been better for them. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (TMQ 49: 4-5).

    Even though the ayah is about the Prophet (PBUH), it still serves as a lesson in human behavior.

    Another wrong behavior is when you do not want the car behind you to pass you so you decide to block the road for it.

    Listen to this ayah that can be translated as, “O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room.” (TMQ 58: 11).

    Omar Ibnul-Khattab said, “Three things make wins over your brother's friendly feelings, one of these things is; making room for him”.

    To move and make room for another is a concept that applies to everything, whether you make room for others in the mosque, in the street between cars, or during times of condolences! You might realize that whoever would enter the room would be nervous because all eyes would be on him. Wouldn't you put an end to his nervousness if you took his hand and made him sit down?

    This also applies in a college lecture hall where you should make room for you classmates. All of this comes from an ayah in the Qur'an that teaches manners and to make room for others!

    Another wrong manner is throwing trash in the street:

    While driving, you check around to see if there is anybody watching you, and then you throw your trash. Yet the Prophet (PBUH) taught us that, “Removing what is injurious from the street is charity.” Imagine then how horrible it would be to throw something injurious in the street? What will his sin be? The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Faith has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the highest of which is the declaration that there is no god but Allah, and the humblest of which is the, removal of what is injurious from the path. Thus, removing harm from the street is part of faith”. (Authentic, narrated by Muslim, 35).

    This makes courtesy a part of our faith. Making sure our streets are clean is a charity, as in the previous Hadith. We should therefore get to know our Islam correctly. Why are people afraid of Islam and commitment? It is all courtesy and politeness.

    Think with me: the Prophet (PBUH) said the following, “Removing harm from the street is charity,” when the Arabian Peninsula was mainly a vast desert. On the contrary, we usually do not feel regret throwing our trash in the desert while traveling. However, the Prophet (PBUH) taught us about civilization 1400 years ago as if he is saying this Hadith today.

    What is worse than throwing the trash is spitting in the street? Listen to this Hadith: the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whatever harms mankind will harm the angels”. (Authentic, narrated by Muslim, 564). That will be sufficient for you to apply courtesy in everything. Think about anything that harms mankind and remember that it also harms the angels.

    Yes that applies to all: spitting, cigarettes and the bad smelly socks. Politeness and courtesy are the basis of faith.

    The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Beware! Avoid sitting on the roads.” They (the people) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We can't help sitting (on the roads) as these are (our places) where we have our talks.” The Prophet said, “If you refuse but to sit, then pay the road its right” they said, “What is the right of the road, O Allah's Apostle?” He said, “Lowering your gaze, refraining from harming others, answering the greeting, enjoining what is good, and forbidding what is evil” (Authentic Hadith, narrated by Bukhari, 2465). They were thus asking about street manners.
     
  3. Islam

    Islam Member

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    Courtesy and Politeness during visits:

    I will tell you about the Prophet's (PBUH) Sunnah or teachings. I don't know whether to call them teachings, civilization, or precious values?

    First: visiting someone without an appointment. “O, you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them; that is better for you, in order that you may remember.” (TMQ 24:27).

    Nowadays, seeking permission is by making a phone call. Examine the Qur’anic expression, “until you have asked permission”. This means that you are assured that it is possible to pay a visit, which can also be inferred from the person's tone on the phone. Look also into courtesy in this Qur'anic phrase “and greeted those in them” Hence, greetings come after being permitted to visit and after going to that home.

    If the person is not ready to welcome you then do not be angry, “And if you find no one therein, still, enter not until permission has been given. And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you. And Allah is All-Knower of what you do.” (TMQ Surat 24: 28). The Qur’an thus teaches you that it is out of courtesy to go back and not to be angry.

    If you had an appointment and went on time, you will then be standing in front of the door. Remember that when you were a child your mother taught you not to ring the bell and stand facing the door directly, because that is not of courtesy. The Prophet (PBUH) also gives the same advice. He taught us not to stand in front of the door, but instead to turn right or left. In other words, you must stand to the right or the left of the door. We were also taught not to ring the bell continuously or more than once in order not to disturb the households. The Prophet (PBUH) also teaches us that. He taught us to ask permission three times. It is from the Sunnah to wait for a while between each of these three times to give the one you’re visiting a chance if he was praying or in the bathroom.

    “If anyone of you asks the permission to enter thrice, and the permission is not given, then he should return.” (Authentic, Sahih Muslim, 2153). Do not insist then on knocking the door or ringing the bell because you assume that someone is in there. “…And if you were asked to return; then do so.”

    When you knock the door and you are asked, “Who is it?” Then do not say, “It's me” Islam teaches us that we must directly say our names. Jaber Ibn Abdullah said that he went to the Prophet (PBUH) and knocked the door. “I was asked who I was and I said that it was me. I then heard him say “me, me?” as if he disliked it.” The companions then learned that if the Prophet (PBUH) asked who it is, one should say I'm Aba-Dhar while another might say I'm Um-Hani. Thus, the companions learned this over 1400 years ago. This is Islam, which did not neglect either large or small issues.

    The door was opened for you and you closed it loudly/harshly behind you. This is not of courtesy. The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Every act will be completed with kindness yet without it this act will be disgraced”. (Authentic, Sahih Muslim, 2594).

    Another thing: You were invited to a banquet and you went there with a friend. Or if you informed your mother that a friend of yours would come and have lunch with you, but then you surprised her with six, this will not be courteous.

    The Prophet (PBUH) went with five other companions to one of the Ansar (supporters) who invited them to eat. While walking, someone followed them. As soon as they reached the door of the Ansari, the Prophet (PBUH) told him, “The sixth one followed us, if you want you can give him the permission to enter. If not, then he must return.” The supporter replied by accepting to take the sixth man in.

    However, we might say that having six people rather than five is not a big difference and will not be noticeable. Yet, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “No”, and taught us something else.

    You have now entered your guest's home and found a phone. You ask to use the phone to make a phone call but you made an international call and spoke for about half an hour. That is neither right nor courteous. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “What is taken out of shyness will be ill-gotten.” Whatever you take from another by taking advantage of his modesty is forbidden. Imagine the greatness of this religion.

    Assume that you went on a visit and you stayed for a long time. Allah says what can be translated as, “and when you have taken your meal, disperse” (TMQ 33:53). After you eat, disperse by not burdening the host.

    Al-Imam Al-Shafi'ee had a story; Once someone came to visit him. The Imam brought him food, he ate it and waited. Once again he brought him food, he ate it and he waited for a very long. The man then said: O Imam, I'm afraid I have been a heavy guest. He said: You have been heavy, and you're at your home!” Consider how his admonition was courteous for the sentence carries a double meaning.

    You decided to visit a relative and stay in his house for two days or one week. His wife welcomed you. In return, you were so careless and chaotic to the point that you invited others and stayed up late at night. The Prophet (PBUH) tells us about the time when he immigrated from Makkah to Madinah and stayed over at Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s place for a while till he built his mosque and his own home. Abu Ayyub's home was two stories; out of courtesy he told the Prophet (PBUH) to stay in the second floor and he would stay in the first in order not to step over the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) was also courteous and told him that because many of the companions would visit him then Abu Ayyub’s wife would be disturbed by the number of visitors; but by staying in the second floor neither he nor his wife would be disturbed.

    When we visit someone, it is not right to enter and sit anywhere. You should sit where the household chooses for you to sit so as not to sit in a place whereby you could be facing the whole house.
     
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