Lesson 9 (Good manners and noble qualities)

Chapter No.: 

Good manners and noble qualities of mind and character enjoy a place of crucial importance in the structure of Islamic teaching. Moral evolution and uplift was one of the main objects for which the sacred Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was raised up. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself has said:

"I have been sent down by Allah to teach moral virtues and to evolve them to highest perfection."


An idea of the supreme importance Islam attaches to the cultivation of good manners and noble moral qualities can be obtained from the under-mentioned Traditions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"The best of you are those who possess the best manners."

"On the Day of Recompense nearest to me will be one who displays in one's daily life the best of manners."

"On the Day of Reckoning the most weighty item in the 'Balance of Deeds' will be good manners."

Once a Companion asked the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), "What is there that takes a Muslim to Paradise?” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, "Fear of Allah and good manners."

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), again, is reported to have said, "A Muslim with good manners and good moral disposition gets the same reward as he who fasts (permanently) during the day and spends his nights in prayer."

The last Tradition tells that a believer who possess good manners and carries out scrupulously the moral duties imposed on him by Allah but does not engage himself much in supererogatory fasts and prayers attains the degree of excellence of the man who stands up in prayer all night and fasts all day long.

The Curse of bad manners

We have been warned by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in an equally forceful manner against the curse of bad manners. He has said:

"A man with bad manners and a bad moral conduct shall not enter Paradise."

"No sin is more detestable to Allah than bad manners."

Some More Important Virtues

Though in the Quran and the Traditions we are taught to cultivate all good and noble moral and social qualities and to avoid everything that is mean or wicked, here we will take up only such virtues as are more important and without which no one can hope to be a good Muslim and a true believer.


Truthfulness is a matter of such supreme consequence in Islam that in addition to speaking the truth always a Muslim is exhorted also to keep company only with those that are truthful. The Quran states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

"O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be only with those who are true (in words and deed)." (9:119)

Says the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): "He who wishes to love Allah and His Apostle, or wishes Allah and His Apostle to love him, must take care to speak nothing but the truth whenever he speaks."

"Speak the truth even if you see your ruin or death in it for, surely, salvation and life lie alone in truth, and avoid falsehood even if it may hold out to you the promise of success and salvation for the end of falsehood is nothing but failure and frustration."

Once the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked, "What is the hallmark of the dwellers of Paradise?" The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, "Truthfulness."

Conversely, another Tradition reads: "To be a liar is one of the special sings of a hypocrite."


Closely allied to truthfulness is the quality of trustworthiness. It is important branch of it. Islam has laid a special emphasis on it also. Here is what the Quran says:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا

“Allah doth command you to render back you Trusts to those to whom they are due.” (4:58)

And the Traditions: "People! In whom there is no trustworthiness, in him there is, so to speak, no faith."

"Look not alone at anyone's prayers and fasts to decide about his spiritual excellence (that is, do not be impressed by anyone's spirituality simply because you find him devout in his prayers and fasts). You should also see that he is truthful when he speaks, restores honestly what he has received in trust to whom it is due, and remains righteous in times of adversity and suffering."


Justice is an integral part of Islamic ethics. We must practice it in all spheres of life. The Quran states:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ

Allah commands justice and doing of good. (16:90)

In Islam we are commanded to be just and fair not only towards our own people or co­religionists but also towards others even if they be the enemies of our life, property or faith. It is candidly stated in the Quran that:

وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى

And let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety. (5:8)

The above verse enjoins justice to those also, individuals as well as communities, who may be harboring ill-will against us. Otherwise, we are sure to incur the displeasure of Allah and become grievous sinners and criminals in His sight. To refer now to some of the Tradition:

"The most beloved of men in the sight of Allah, on the Day of Resurrection, and the nearest to Him, shall be the just leader; and the most hateful of men in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection, and the farthest removed from Him, shall be the tyrannical ruler."

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have enquired one day from the Companions. "Do you know who will be the first to come under the shadow of Divine Mercy on the Day of Requital? " The Companions replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best."

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) then said, "They will be those who accept a trust when it is offered to them and restore it willingly to the rightful claimant when they are asked to do so, and who judge in respect of others exactly as they would in respect of themselves."

The pity is that we ourselves have forgotten the glorious teachings of Islam. If we can produce these qualities in us today and become truthful in word and deed, and honest in the matter of our trusts and promises, and just and fair in our dealings with others, the success of the world is bound to kiss our feet and we will attain a high place in the paradise too.

Compassion and Forgiveness

To feel pity on a fellow human being in distress, to be compassionately drawn towards him, to bring him succor, to pardon the guilty and the defaulter are virtues which are valued very highly in Islam. Take these Traditions, for instance:

"Show kindness, and kindness will be shown to you; forgive, and you will be forgiven." "They will not obtain the mercy of Allah in whose hearts there is no feeling of kindliness for others."

"His sins will not be forgiven by Allah who does not forgive the faults of the others." "Allah will have mercy upon them that are merciful. Treat kindly the dwellers of the earth, He who dwells in the heavens will treat you kindly."

It is apparent from the last Tradition that out kindliness and gentility is not to be confined to our own people alone. We ought to be kind and compassionate towards friend and foe alike and to all the creatures that exist on the earth.

It is reported from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that once a person who was traveling by road saw a dog licking wet earth in the agony of its thirst. The traveler was moved by the spectacle and gave water to the dog to drink. This simple service of the man to the thirsting dog pleased Allah so much that he blessed him with salvation.


Tenderness is monetary dealings, and in all other fields of one's activity, and the readiness to oblige and to put others at ease are all virtues of the highest order in the Islamic pattern of morality. We will reproduce two Traditions of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) in support of our contention Said he:

"Hell's fire is forbidden for those that are mild and gentle and make it easy for others to

deal with them."

"Allah is compassionate and likes compassion in His creatures. He grants more to the kind

and the tender-hearted than to those that are harsh and severe."

Self- restraint

Tolerance, affability, self-restraint, and the ability to control one's temper and to overlook what is unpleasant and disagreeable are qualities that Islam wants everyone to cultivate. Believers who possess these fine moral attributes hold a very high place in the

estimation of Allah.

In the Quran where a mention is made of the blessed ones for whom the paradise has been laid out such people are specifically referred to:

وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ

Who restrain anger and pardon (all men) (3:134)

Said the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"Allah will hold back His punishment from him who will hold back his anger."

Blessed, indeed, are men who remember these verses and Traditions during moments of provocation and exercise restraint, and, in return, Allah stays His chastisement from them!

Gentleness of speech

Gentleness of speech is a religious virtue in Islam and rudeness a sin. The Quran declares:

وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا

Speak fair to the People. (2:83)

We have it from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that:

"To speak politely is piety and a kind of charity."

"To indulge in intemperate language and in harsh behaviour is to perpetrate an injustice

and the home of injustice is Hell."

"Rudeness in speech is hypocrisy (i.e., the quality of a hypocrite)."


Humility is a virtue Islam wants its followers to practice as a distinguishing feature of their moral and spiritual behaviour. It does not become a Muslim to be haughty or


Greatness with Allah is not for those who look down upon others. Instead, it belongs to those desist from thinking too highly of themselves and practice meekness and humility. In the words of Quran:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا

And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on earth in humility. (25:63)

تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ()

The Home of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not highhandedness or mischief on earth. (28:83)

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said: "He who observes humility Allah will make him so exalted that, ultimately, he will attain the highest grade in Paradise."

On the other hand, pride is so greatly repugnant to Allah that the sacred Prophet (Peace be upon him) has warned us, again and again, against it in such strong words:

"Whoever has pride in his heart even of the weight of an atom shall be cast head-long into the Hell of Allah."

"Whoever has pride in his heart even of the weigh of the weight of a mustered seed, shall not enter Paradise."

"Beware of pride! Pride was the sin which first of all ruined the Devil."

May almighty Allah save us all from the Satanic evil of pride, and endow our hearts and minds with meekness and humility which He admires so much and which is the symbol of His slaves.

It needs, however, be remembered that it is demanded of us to practice meekness and humility in our personal matters and not in matters where truth of faith is involved. When it comes to faith or truth we must be bold and outspoken and give the fullest proof of courage and firmness of this is the will of Allah for such occasions.

The way of a Muslim, in sum, is that while he is meek and humble is his own individual sphere of existence, he is firm like a rock and allows neither fear nor weakness to come near him where faith or truth or justice is at stake.

Courage and fortitude

There occur periods of hardship and adversity in the lives of men. Sometimes there is want, sometimes there is disease, sometimes our enemies harass us. And, so forth. For such situations the teaching of Islam is that we should bear them with courage and fortitude, remain firm and stout of heart and do not waver from our principles in-spite of thousands trials and calamities that may assail us. For such men there is the assurance of the Quran that they are the Beloved of Allah:

وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ

For Allah loves those who are patient and persevering (3:146)

إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

Allah, surely, is with those who patiently persevere. (2:153)

وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

And to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and through all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. (2:177)

And the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says:

"No boon conferred on man more precious than that of patience."

"Patience is one-half of faith."

Contrarily, impatience, chicken-heartedness and cowardice are the most lamentable of evils against which the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to beg Allah for refuge in his prayers.


Sincerity is the life and soul of entire moral edifice of Islam, nay, of Islam itself. By sincerity we mean that all our deeds and actions should solely be for the sake of Allah and prompted by no other urge than to earn His approbation. Apart from it, there must be no other desire, motive or intention behind whatever we do.

Monotheism, which is the arch-stone of Islam, attains fulfillment through sincerity. Faith in Divine Unity remains imperfect unless all our acts are performed wholly for the sake of Allah, and we have no other objective before us while carrying them out except and winning of Divine pleasure and reward. States the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"He who loves or hates, offers favours or withholds them, and whatever he does, does so for the sake of Allah, he perfects his faith."

It shows that a perfect Muslim in the sight of Allah is only he who succeeds in subordinating his entire conduct, his social relations and all his other affairs to the Will of Allah and is not influenced in them by his personal desire or likes or dislikes or by any other urges or impulsions.

Another Tradition reads:

"Allah is not regardful of your fine visages or your wealth. He is regardful only of your hearts and intentions."

The idea of the above Tradition is that Allah will judge and requite on the basis of our motives and intentions. Now, here is a Tradition with which we propose to round off the present discussion. About this Tradition it is reported that Abu Huraira often used to faint while he related it. It says:

"The first of those who shall be called to account, on the Day of Resurrection, shall be one who had learned the whole Quran by heart, and he who had been killed in the way of Allah and he who had an abundance of wealth. Then shall Allah say to him who had got the whole of Quran by heart, 'Did I not teach thee what revealed to my Prophet (Peace be upon him)?" He will say, 'Yes, my Lord!' Allah will ask, 'And what hast thou done with regard to what thou didst learn therein?' He will say, 'I was constantly at it in the hours of night and in the hours of day. I learnt it myself and taught it to others, and I did it all for Thy sake alone'. Allah will say, ' Thou art a liar; thou didst only desire that men should say that such an one was a recieter of the Quran and that has been said already'

"And the master of wealth shall be brought before Allah, and Allah shall say, 'Did I not give thee an abundance of wealth, so that thou wast not in want of anything?" He will say, 'Yes, my Lord!' Allah will say, 'And what hast thou done with what I gave thee?' He will answer, 'I regarded the rights of kinship and gave alms and I did so for Thy sake.' Allah will say, 'Thou art liar; those didst desire that men should say that such an one was generous man, and that has been said already.'

"Then shall he who had been killed in the way of Allah be brought before him, and Allah will say to him, 'What was it that thou wast killed for? " He will reply, 'Thou didst bid us to do Jihaad in Thy was and I fought and was killed.' Allah will say, 'Thou art a liar; thou didst desire that men should say that such an one was valiant man, and that has been said already.'

"These are the three men who, of all creatures, shall be first sent into Fire."

Brothers, Now, let us examine our thoughts and deeds in the light of the above Tradition and see where do we stand in the sight of Allah!

O Allah! Endue our hearts with sincerity and set right our motives and intentions and make us Thy devoted, dedicated slaves.