I have chosen to address you in this Friday Sermon today on “Perfecting Good Manners”. Every good Muslim must necessarily have a good behaviour and good manners in his everyday life. He must understand that good behaviour in this life on earth is essential to lead an honourable life. The Muslim, in addition, has the sacred duty to have a good behaviour because therein contains high moral values.
And these moral values have a particular importance. They are signs of happiness and success here in this life on earth, but much more so in life after death. It has been reported that our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said: “I have been sent to perfect good moral character.” (Musnad Ahmad).
He also said: “The dearest and the closest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who will be best in behaviour.” (Tirmidhi).
When his companions questioned him about what most cause people to enter paradise, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Taqwa (piety, righteousness, fear of Allah) and good manners (or character).” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah).
This is why Muslims must pay special attention to moral values and must give them special importance because they represent the signs of happiness and success in this present life and in the hereafter.
Four Golden Rules
High Islamic moral values are based on four pillars divided into four Hadiths, each of them designating a pillar among these pillars.
Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or better keep silence; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbour with kindness and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Indeed among the excellence of a person's Islam is that he leaves what does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad).
Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra): A man asked the Prophet (pbuh) for an advice and he (pbuh) said, “Do not get angry”. The man repeated that several times and he replied, “Do not get angry”. (Bukhari, Muslim).
Narrated by Anas ibn Malik (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
If the believer inculcates all these pillars of good behaviour, these counsels for a high morality within him, he will have succeeded in a brilliant (excellent) way, both in this world and in the hereafter. Based on these Hadiths, pillars of good behaviour, we also find other pillars on which rest the high moral values and perfection of character, manners or good behaviour in Islam.
Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) encourage us to have piety, to acquire good morality and righteousness. Good behaviour is what makes a believer what he is after having cultivated in him the Islamic faith in a firm and sincere way. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that the members of our body are not used to spread evil around us. Moreover, we have to control our mind also to think only good of others. So we must :
(1) Preserve the tongue against vain words, such as gossip, slander (i.e. putting blames on others) and saying useless, non-constructive words. This part of the body which has no bone and which takes the freedom to twist in the mouth of the individual as it wants, too often voice out nonsense, lies, wicked behaviour and character that do not please Allah (swt). You must speak only when it is necessary for you to speak, otherwise you must remain quiet. You have to control your tongue so as not to say nonsense and hurt others.
Regarding this tongue, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was very clear in his words: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter (say) good words or better keep silence.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
This leads us to understand in a very clear way that anyone who does not guard his tongue (that is, uttering bad and vain words) will not be among the good people who have a good morality. That is why it is in the interest of every believer that he thinks well before speaking. So, think carefully before speaking at the risk of saying something that you may later regret and that will be registered as an evil for you in the sight of Allah. Surely Allah says in the Holy Quran, “O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak righteously (that is, words of appropriate justice, words of truth).” (Al-Ahzab, 33: 71)
(2) Beware of being unnecessarily curious. Curiosity is the worst of vices. The believer should not interfere in anything that does not concern him. Moreover, the curious man develops a bad mentality of talking unnecessarily and stupidly. He will never be a person who commands respect. In fact, his curiosity and the fact of interfering with that which does not concern him, pushes him away from virtue. But when he moves away from all these vices, he will become a person of good virtue, good behaviour, respectable, courteous, pious and filled with love for Allah (swt). Surely, he will certainly be part of the circle of believers because the Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Indeed among the excellence of a person's Islam is that he leaves what does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad).
(3) The believer must beware of yielding to his angry impulses. When the believer becomes angry, he may speak nonsense, words which he will regret bitterly afterwards. Anger devours (eats away) good deeds and gives Satan the upper hand over the person’s actions, which brings the angry person away from good behaviour and virtuous conduct.
Our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has given us many solutions against anger. Among them is this: “I know a word which, if he were to utter it, would dissipate his anger. It is: ‘I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed.’” (Bukhari, Muslim).
“If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent.” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud & Ahmad).
But there is an exception to the rule, especially concerning the implementation of the commandments of Allah (that is, whenever God’s Laws were violated). Imam Bukhari, Muslim and the other Hadith compilers mentioned this fact: “The Prophet never got angry for anything. But when the prohibitions of Allah were violated, nothing could restrain his wrath (anger).”
(4) The believer must persevere to acquire the serenity of the heart. He must have no grudge, animosity or bad feelings towards anyone - believers or non-believers. The heart is the seat of faith or ungodliness, and that is what the Lord looks upon in man. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “God does not look at your bodies or your appearances, but He looks at your hearts,” pointing to his chest. (Muslim).
He who contains in his heart bad feelings against his Muslim brother or some corrupt thoughts cannot be among the people who have a virtuous conduct, because the defilement which is in his heart and his deviance also influence his external appearance. What is hidden in his heart become manifest on his face and in his actions. Certainly, our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Truly, there is a piece of flesh in the body, if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Verily, it is the heart.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
Therefore, it is incumbent upon us, believers, to love our brothers in Islam, and to wish the best of this life and the hereafter for them, and as the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
We must do our best, then, I and all of you dear disciples and Muslims around the world, to establish good behaviour/ manners and all its pillars that will guide us to the right path. Inculcate in yourselves good behaviour so that you become true Muslims, Sahih al Islam (true believers), so that you reflect in you, the very essence of Islam, with a pure and healthy heart. And that shall come to be with your connection with Allah, by attaching yourselves to Him in your prayers and in your good behaviour towards your family, your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues and the society where you live. Live well as per the teachings of Allah and Allah will help you in all spheres of your lives. Insha-Allah. Ameen.
----Friday Sermon of 19 October 2018 (09 Safar 1440 AH) delivered by Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.