Good Social Relations
Relations between individuals in an Islamic community can be harmonious if certain rules are adhered to. These consist, firstly, of duties toward others, secondly, cultivating essential personal characteristics, and thirdly, avoiding bad personal characteristics.
Duties Toward Others
1. Speech is an important element and an important means of social relations. It is therefore essential that what is said and how it is said are wisely considered.
2. Honesty makes a person likable and helps in building and strengthening social bonds.
3. It is also an essential attribute of a good Muslim.
4. Amiable facial expressions during conversation are of great importance and should be understood as part of a person?s duty towards others.
5. A Muslim should judge people by their deed. He should treat well those who treat him well. No man knows an other?s hidden intentions and feelings - those are for God to judge. But he who shows evil, is not to be trusted, even if he expresses good intentions.
6. Relations with others should be based on respect and kindness.
7. A Muslim should make sure before making a promise that he can keep it. He should not break promises by making excuses, thinking this will be enough. To think that others? acceptance of his excuses is the end of the matter leaves a bad effect on him.
8. Care should be taken not to make many promises at one time or to many people, lest one is unable to keep them.
9. Among social duties towards others is to visit them if they become sick and to attend the funerals of their dead.
10. "He who does not thank people does not thank God" (Hadith). The best way for a Muslim to thank a person for doing good to him is to say: May God reward you well.
11. A Muslim should help anyone who seeks his help, unless he asks for something forbidden or undesirable. He should not hesitate to do good to others, especially when asked to do so.
12. It is a duty to accept invitations; an important one not to be turned down is to a wedding ceremony (Except if there is haram involved).
13. It is a Muslim's duty not to displease others with unpleasant odors from his clothes, body or mouth such as that caused by onions or garlic.
Essential Personal Characteristics
Generally speaking, there is no goodness better than a good character. The best people are those with the best character, and the worst people are those with an evil character. The following are some aspects of a positive character which should be aspired to. A Muslim should:
1. Be humble and should not boast to others.
2. Fulfill his trust when put in a position of trust.
3. Speak the truth always, and carry out his actions in accordance with it.
4. Show mercy and tenderness to others, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
5. Supply help to one who needs help, and aid the distressed, even though he is not asked to do so.
6. Forgive when in a position of power and authority.
7. Harbor good thoughts of others.
8. Be disposed in friendship to others, and treat them in a friendly way.
9. Advise sincerely when consulted by others.
10. Leave alone and never speak about others what does not concern him.
11. Never ask others for anything unless it is urgent or necessary.
12. Keep his appointments.
13. Restrain his anger and refrain from negative reactions.
14. Attach special importance to his relationship with those who practice Islam.
15. Be patient always.
16. Greet whom he has quarreled with previously.
17. Guarantee the well-being of his family and kin.
18. Be modest.
19. Be satisfied and contented with what is given to him by God.
20. Put trivialities aside, concentrate on important things.
21. Be wise when dealing with evil people.
22. Exchange gifts with others.
23. Guide those towards good deeds who want to perform good deeds.
24. Mediate between disagreeing parties.
25. Contemplate his actions before performing them.
26. Be kind to others.
27. Keep secret that which others have confided to him or he has discovered about others.
28. Ask forgiveness if he has committed a deed affecting a Muslim?s honor.
29. Forgive someone who has treated him badly, as though he were a close friend.
30. Meet others with a cheerful countenance.
31. Mix with others, if they are good; if not, then solitude is better for him.
32. Defend others who are absent when they are slandered in his presence.
33. Direct someone who has lost his way, especially someone who has bad eyesight.
34. Be uncomplicated but not native.
35. Be generous, but without extravagance.
36. Show gentleness toward the weak and affection toward his parents.
37. Do not take revenge on someone who reviles or reproaches him for something he knows about him.
Bad Personal Characteristics
To be successful in developing social relations, it is necessary to avoid some negative characteristics and just as necessary to practice some positive ones. The following are a list of negative characteristics. A Muslim should avoid:
1. Being nervous, highly strung or liable to sudden anger.
2. Bad relations with others.
3. Speaking about what does not concern him.
4. Arrogance, especially if it comes from a poor person, who considers himself to be great but is in fact, not so in the eyes of others.
5. Slandering anybody.
6. Listening to other people?s talk when they do not want him to hear, or they are trying to avoid him.
7. Being two-faced.
8. Reviling other people?s genealogies.
9. Displaying pleasure at a fellow-Muslim?s misfortune.
10. Boasting about ancestors who have died or who are of high rank.
11. Seeking out others? faults in order to expose them.
12. Avoiding a Muslim for more than three days, if he has difficulties with him.
13. Being a mischief-maker, spreading slander.
14. Saying something about a Muslim which he or she dislikes even if what he says of him or her is true.
15. Being suspicious of others.
16. Being inquisitive about others.
18. Bidding against another in order to raise the price of a commodity.
19. Envying others.
20. Hating other Muslims.
21. Speaking evil of others behind their backs.
22. Ridiculing others, laughing, scoffing or jeering at them.
23. Acting dishonestly toward others, deceiving and misleading them.
24. Self-deceptions or self-delusion.
25. Being avaricious and miserly.
26. Being a coward, unable to control his fear and running away from danger.
27. Grumbling and complaining and never being satisfied with anything.
28. Drawing attention to his own helpfulness, charity, or generosity.
29. Being selfish, thinking chiefly of and being interested in his own needs and welfare without care for others.
30. Withholding help, when he is able to offer it to others.
31. Praising and flattering somebody in his presence.
32. Showing undue respect to those of a sinful nature, or those who are wealthy or have high position.
33. Speaking loudly.
34. Being harsh or rude to others.
35. Praising himself or over-estimating himself.
Talking is an important means of communication, it is also an extension and expression of a person's personality.
1. Moderation in speech is an excellent quality, which a good Muslim should cultivate.
2. A Hadith says that one should either speak good or keep silent.
3. A Muslim should not talk just for the sake of talking because he thinks it is a shortcoming to be silent. The shortcoming lies in talking badly and talking too much.
4. His duty is to say what is good or keep silent. While being silent is a good characteristic, it should not be overdone to the extent or annoying others.
5. A Muslim should adhere to the truth and speak it whether pleased or displeased. He should speak the truth, even if it is better.
6. A Muslim should think carefully before speaking, and avoid saying something that he might regret and for which he would have to apologize.
7. Simplicity and clarity should characterize speech; enunciating over-carefully and speaking gutturally should be avoided. Using strange archaic words, in an attempt to demonstrate linguistic ability or to show that one is more knowledgeable than others, is forbidden.
8. Looking pleasantly at others when speaking to them is required as a courtesy.
9. There is a specific topic related to every occasion. Decorum, appropriateness, should exist between the topic discussed and the occasion.
10. A Muslim should be sure of the truthfulness and accuracy of what he says.
11. If those listening to a person cannot follow him and need to have his words repeated, it is courteous to repeat them.
12. One should not speak hurriedly. It is better to speak neither too slowly nor too quickly, neither too loudly nor too softly, for such ways of speaking tire the listener. Nor should words be interspersed with long pauses, as this will bore the listener.
A Muslim should:
1. Try to listen to others as politely as possible.
2. Avoid interrupting others when they are speaking.
3. Face the person he is speaking to and show interest in what he is saying, even if he is not interested in the topic being discussed, try to control himself, unless the topic is directed against Islam, in this case he should either try to put an end to it or leave.
4. Avoid getting involved in a pointless argument with someone who expresses views with which he does not agree.
1. There are many reasons for laughing, such as seeing a pleasant thing, hearing good news or a joke.
2. Laughter should not be characterized by loud or unpleasant sounds.
3. A broad smile, such as making the back teeth visible, is better than laughing.
4. It is better always to control the sounds of laughter; excessive noise should be avoided.
5. Laughing in ridicule of another person must be avoided.
1. It is good to share jokes with others, because always being serious is burdensome.
2. When making jokes, it is better to avoid using impolite or hurtful terms, directly or indirectly.
3. Over-seriousness and excessive joking should both be avoided because they will lessen self-esteem and risk hurting others? feelings.
4. To terrify others, in jest, is forbidden.
5. Lying is not allowed even for joking purposes.
Behavior When Meeting Others
A Muslim should observe the following:
1. He should smile, for a smile is the key to a successful meeting. However, he should not smile at people because of their material wealth.
2. He should be first to salute other Muslims.
3. He should not bow to any person when saluting, no matter who he is and whatever the occasion.
4. When meeting others and after saluting, he should extend his right hand and shake hands; this enhances mutual respect.
5. He should not shake hands with anyone for whom it might be a nuisance.
6. If his hand is dirty and someone wants to shake hands with him, he should politely excuse himself, explaining the reason.
7. He should not feel upset about shaking hands at every meeting.
8. Men shake hands with men, and women with women. If a woman wants to shake hands with a man or vice versa, he/she should excuse himself/herself.
9. Too many questions about the family, etc. when meeting is a time-wasting activity and is likely to lead to boredom, so he should avoid it.
10. When a meeting is finished he should extend his hand to shake hands once again, saying: Asalamu Alaikum (peace be upon you).
11. He should not shake hands with someone who has a contagious disease.
1. Socializing, just to kill time, should be avoided. Time is a precious asset not to be wasted. Rather, it should be spent on useful affairs. Also, friends should be selected carefully.
2. Places for a gathering should be respectable, such as private houses and mosques, not pavements, markets, etc.
3. Socializing, if one?s body, clothes or mouth smell bad, should be avoided.
4. After seeking permission to enter and greeting the house owner, a Muslim should next greet the people seated. He should shake hands with everyone, starting from the right and sit where he finds himself when he has finished.
5. When joining a gathering, a person should sit where a place is made for him; otherwise he should sit in any vacant place.
6. One should be careful not to oblige anyone to leave his seat, even a child, in order to take his place.
7. Care must be taken when sitting not to turn one?s back on anyone, since this might be interpreted as a form of dislike or disrespect.
8. If more people join the gathering, those already seated should make room for the newcomers.
9. If the company consists of three people, any two of them must not talk privately in front of the third.
10. It is polite to listen to others and not interrupt or let one?s attention wander.
11. A person's sitting posture should be humble and respectful of others.
12. It is necessary that in any gathering, people should remember God and invoke blessings on His Messenger Muhammad (s) and His Household.
13. If a Muslim hears people talking about someone behind his back, he should politely try to stop them; if they persist he should excuse himself and leave.
14. What is said or done in a sitting place should continuously be noted and judged in terms of the permissible and the forbidden.
15. Those who sit in an assembly, gathering, meeting, etc., where there is much clamor or meaningless talk are recommended, at the end of the gathering and before getting up to leave, to say the following du?a?: "O Allah, I witness Your absolute transcendence, and praise You. I testify that there is no god except You; I ask Your pardon and turn to You in repentance."
Marriage is an important social institution which perfects the human personality. Every young man able to support a wife and family should marry, for marriage preserves one from immorality. Living in celibacy is an act abhorred in Islam. Moreover, there is nothing like marriage for increasing the love of two people.
The Search for a Wife
1. A man cannot marry a woman who is mahram according to the Islamic Law. Seven classes of women are prohibited by reason of consanguinity and seven by reason of relationship by marriage.
2. The woman who most adheres to Islam is the ideal wife. A woman may be married for her property, her rank, or her beauty. These foundations of marriage, however, never last and can unbalance the relationship between the couple. Therefore, there must be common ground to enable understanding and to over come misunderstanding, and that ground is adherence to Islam.
3. A decorous shyness and sensitivity are other attributes required in a wife.
4. Satisfaction who moderate material demands, with life at a moderate and not lavish standard, is a good quality in a wife. Waste of money is an indication of an irresponsible wife.
5. Marriage with a non-relative enlarges the circle of relatives by adding new ones.
6. One should avoid marriage with an infertile woman, and marry a woman who is fertile, for children are an important element in a successful marriage.
7. There is nothing at all wrong in marrying a divorced woman provided that she does not wish to return to her first husband.
8. Meeting the woman a man plans to marry is allowed only in the presence of a mahram, with whom marriage is forbidden.
The Woman's Right and Responsibility in Choosing a Husband
A woman should exercise her right to approve or disapprove of marriage to a particular man, but should be far-sighted and wise in making such a decision. Wealth, rank, good position and job, or any other material privilege, do not alone add up to proper attributes for a future husband.
1. Parents should not delay in giving a name to a recently born child; they should do so as soon as possible, preferably within seven days of the birth.
2. If the parents have agreed on the choice of name, well and good. If not, then it is the right of the father to name the child.
3. It is recommended that parents give children good, beautiful and meaningful names.
4. Names consisting of two parts, the first of which is Abd (slave) compounded with one of Allah's names are considered beautiful.
5. Children may be given the names of Prophets and Imams.
6. Names of Angel such as Gabriel, should be avoided.
7. The main elements of the full name are the first name, father's name, and surname.
8. Every child must be brought into relation to his father and called by his real fathers surname. That applies to the married woman who should retain her own family name and not relinquish it in favor of her husband's. That would amount to a humiliation for her and must be avoided.
1. Calling out to people from a distance in the street, market or other public places is not polite conduct. It is better to approach close to the person before hailing him.
2. People can be called either by their names or their agnomens.
3. Calling a teacher or parents by their first name should be avoided, as that is a sign of impoliteness.
4. Shortening of a name is a suitable way of calling others provided they are satisfied with it.
5. Calling another person by a certain title or agnomen must have the full approval of the person concerned.
6. If someone wants to call to a person whom he does not know, then it is best to use general terms that will not insult him, such as friend or brother/sister.
Going to Bed
1. A Muslim should be sure to relieve himself before going to bed.
2. It is recommended to go to bed in a state of purity by performing wudu (partial ablution)
3. It is preferable, and hygienic, not to go to bed on a full stomach.
When Going to Sleep
A Muslim should observe the following rules:
1. Examine mattress and pillow to ensure that no harmful insects, etc. have hidden inside them.
2. Pray with the words: "In Your name, O God, I live and die."
3. Sleep on his right side and avoid sleeping on his left side.
4. Never sleep on his stomach.
5. Should not try to force himself to sleep. Sleep should occur as naturally as possible, according to the body?s needs.
6. Make the mention of God, and keep mentioning Him till sleep comes. This will help him relax and prevent thoughts of the day?s difficulties and problems.
7. Regulate his sleeping to confirm to his body's real needs, neither more nor less.
1. Wake up with the dawn. The positive psychological effect on the whole day of doing so is clear and understood by those who experience it.
2. Start the new day as he ended the previous day by mentioning God, praising and thanking Him.
3. Clean his teeth with a toothbrush or tooth stick when he gets up before performing wudu for fajr, as also if he wakes up in the night for any length of time.
4. If no running water is available, then, when he wakes, pour water over his hands first, before dipping his hand into a retaining vessel for water. This is because he does not know what his hand has touched during the night.
Kindness and Gentleness
According to a saying of the Prophet (s), kindness is required in every instance of Muslim conduct. One of the main ends of main moral is to restrain people to be kind and gentle in every matter and toward every thing. The following examples will illustrate:
1. Speaking should be loud enough to be audible to those addressed, never louder.
2. Bad or objectionable language should be avoided.
3. Laughter should not be characterized by loud or unpleasant sounds.
4. Weeping should be restrained and polite, not hysterically loud or abandoned.
5. Eating and drinking should be done at a gentle, dignified pace.
6. It is proper for a Muslim to retrain his anger, keeping himself within the bounds of courtesy.
7. Parents should give their children beautiful, meaningful names, and avoid names indicating difficulty and sadness.
8. Smiling at other people when meeting them is recommended.
9. Looking pleasantly at others while conversing with them is required as polite conduct.
10. It is necessary that a Muslim be gentle when criticizing others for something they might have done.
Reading and Reciting the Qur'an
1. The best Muslims are those who learn and teach the Qur'an. Knowledge of the Qur'an and reciting it are two merits.
2. The Qur'an should be held, taken or given with the right hand, not the left.
3. Women during post natal bleeding or during the menstrual cycle and men and women who are seminally defiled, may neither touch nor read the Qur'an.
4. All chapters of the Qur'an and all of its words are benevolent and beneficial.
5. Gathering in a group to read and study the Qur'an is recommended.
6. Listening carefully while the Qur'an is being recited or read is not only an act of politeness, but an obligatory duty upon every Muslim.
7. Reading the Qur'an with proper contemplation, thinking and concentration is necessary to understand the meaning fully.
8. The Qur'an is a book of guidance for mankind in every respect of life. It is not meant to be recited only at ceremonial openings and such occasions.
9. When buying or selling the Qur'an and no fixed price is attached, using terms and tones of language usually used when bargaining should be avoided.
10. A Muslim's knowledge of the Qur'an should be refreshed by re-reading it frequently; this applies especially to those who memorize it, for it is difficult to remember it when it is abandoned for a while.
11. When reading or reciting the Qur'an, the established rules of pronunciation and intonation included in an independent science called al-tajwid should be followed.
12. When reciting the Qur'an, it should be beautified with a good voice and the verses chanted, not sung, for a beautiful voice increases the beauty of the Qur'an. This however should not be done in a way of contradicting the rules of al-tajwid. The inclination of some, is to recite the Qur'an with a melodious voice approaching singing, thus contradicting the rules of al-tajwid, is forbidden. The listener should take the first opportunity to correct such a recitation and politely draw attention to its incorrectness.
13. When reciting one of the fourteen special verses of the Qur'an requiring prostration upon completion of the verse, the Qur'an should be laid aside, and a sajdah (a prostration) be made.
14. A Muslim should not be hasty to judge others' reciting the Qur'an.
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