Etiquette, behaviour towards Allah Etiquette, behaviour towards Allah
A Muslim thinks about the countless blessings that Allah has bestowed upon him. He considers the numerous bounties that Allah has given him –... Etiquette, behaviour towards Allah

A Muslim thinks about the countless blessings that Allah has bestowed upon him. He considers the numerous bounties that Allah has given him – from the time that he was a “drop of fluid” in his mother’s womb. These bounties continue until he meets His Lord. Therefore, a Muslim must thank Allah for these bounties with his tongue, by praising Him in a proper manner. He must also thank Him with his limbs by using them in obedience to Him. This is how he should behave towards Allah. Obviously, it is never considered proper etiquette to be ungrateful for the bounties one has received, or to reject the bounties of the One Who gives them. One also should never deny the goodness and bounties he has received. Allah Says in the Qur’an (what means): “And whatever of blessings or good things you have, it is from Allah.” [Qur’an 16:53]

Allah also Says (what means): “And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them.” [Qur’an 14:34]

Another verse states (what means): “Therefore remember Me (by praying and glorifying), I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never be ungrateful to Me” [Qur’an 2: 152]

A Muslim thinks about Allah’s Knowledge and the fact that He is watching everything, under every circumstance. The Muslim’s heart then becomes filled with awe, respect and love for Allah. He becomes shy and embarrassed to disobey Him. This is how he should behave towards Allah. Obviously, it is not proper for a slave to go against his Master by disobeying him or by treating him with disrespect, while his Master is witnessing and watching him.

A Muslim also ponders over Allah’s Power and Control over him, and submits to this control. He knows that there is no escape or fleeing from Him. Allah is the only source of refuge and shelter. Therefore, the Muslim flees to Allah and throws himself before Him. He leaves his affairs with Allah and puts his trust in Him. This is how he should behave with respect to his Lord and Creator.

Allah Says (what means): “There is not a moving (living) creature but He has grasp of its forelock.” [Qur’an 11:56]
Allah also Says (what means): “So flee to Allah (from His Torment to His Mercy – Islamic Monotheism). Verily, I (Muhammad) am a plain warner to you from Him.” [Qur’an 51:50]

Allah Says (what means): “Put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.” [Qur’an 5:23]
A Muslim also considers how Generous and Compassionate Allah has been to him in all of his affairs. He considers Allah’s Mercy upon him and upon all of His creation. He desires to have more of that mercy. He then humbles himself to Allah with sincere humility and supplications. He seeks a means of approach to Allah with the best of speech and good deeds. This is how he should behave towards his Lord, Allah. It is not proper to lose hope of receiving more of His Mercy, which encompasses everything, nor should one be pessimistic about receiving more of Allah’s Generosity. Certainly, Allah has Stated (what means): “My Mercy embraces all things.” [Qur’an 7:156]

Allah also Says (what means): “Allah is very Gracious and Kind to His slaves.” [Qur’an 42:19]
Allah also Says (what means): “Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” [Qur’an 12:87]
Another verse states (what means): “Despair not of the mercy of Allah.” [Qur’an 39:53]

A Muslim always considers Allah’s power to punish severely and His swift reckoning. He does his best to obey Allah and tries to live without disobeying Him. This is all part of proper behaviour towards Allah. People of intelligence know that it is not proper for a weak and incapable slave to commit acts of disobedience towards the Lord Who is the Powerful, the All-Capable, the Strong, the Dominant. He Says (what means): “But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it; and they will find besides Him no protector.” [Qur’an 13:11]
Allah also Says (what means): “Verily, (O Muhammad) the seizure (punishment) of your Lord is severe and painful.” [Qur’an 85:12]
Allah also Says (what means): “Allah is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution.” [Qur’an 3:4]

A Muslim should also think about Allah while he is disobeying Him, as if Allah’s threat is already being applied to him, that His punishment has come upon him due to his action. He should also think about Allah while obeying Him and following His Laws, as if His Promise has already come true for him, that Allah’s Pleasure is being bestowed upon him. Having good expectations or thoughts about Allah is part of the etiquette due to Allah. It is not correct for a person to have bad thoughts about Allah and disobey Him, and think that Allah is not watching what he is doing or will not call him to account. Allah Says (what means): “But you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing. And that thought of yours which you thought about your Lord, has brought you to destruction; and you have become (this Day) of those utterly lost!…” [Qur’an 41: 22-23]
Allah also Says (what means): “And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, fears Allah, and keeps his duty (to Him), such are the successful.” [Qur’an 24: 52]
In conclusion, a Muslim must be thankful to his Lord for the bounties He has given him; he must be shy towards his Lord whenever he is inclined towards committing a sin; he must sincerely turn to his Lord, put his trust in Him, hope for His Mercy and fear His punishment. He must have good expectations concerning Allah fulfilling His Promises and carrying out His threat to any of His slaves if He wills. This is how he should behave toward Allah. The more that he sticks to these matters and guards them, the greater his position will be and the higher his rank will be with his Lord. He shall be greatly blessed by Allah; he shall become one of the devoted slaves of Allah, and of those people whom Allah protects. He shall be enveloped by Allah’s Mercy and shall have Allah’s Blessings bestowed upon him.

This is the utmost that any Muslim could hope to achieve and what he should strive for throughout his life.
O Allah, make us Your devoted slaves. O Allah, make us among those whom You protect. O Allah, make us among those who are close to You.

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Mannerism of the great Salaf

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: The believers with the most complete eemaan are those with the best character, who have the best conduct and are humble and who easily get along and are easy to get along with and there is no good in one who neither gets along or isn’t gotten along with. (At-Tabaraani – hasanahu Al-Albaani, Silsilatul-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah #751, pp. 389)
Umar bin Hafs said: “Umar bin Abdul-’Aziz said to me, ‘If you hear a word from a Muslim, then do not think evil of its meaning, as long as you could find a good explanation for it.’”

Surely he who loves people to treat him kindly, should treat them the same way he wishes they would treat him. Moreover, when one thinks of others the same way he thinks of himself, he will realise his own shortcomings and faults and will be compelled to correct them.
Bakr bin Muhammad bin Abdullah said: “If you witness your brethren being generous and honouring you, then say to yourself, this is a virtue that they have earned. If you see them fall into a shortcoming, then say to yourself, this is due to an error I have committed.”

Abdullah bin Zaid al-Jarni said: “If a shortcoming (that a brother of yours fell into) reaches you, try hard to find a good explanation for it. Otherwise, if you do not find a good explanation, say to yourself that maybe, my brother has an excuse I am not aware of.”
It should be remembered that this life is full of shortcomings and that friends make mistakes sometimes, either by committing sin or by erring with their friends and brothers. When a friend of yours commits a sin and insists on it, it is incumbent on you to advise him softly so that he refrains from the sin, returns to correctness and becomes aright and pious again. Soft admonishment using kind words and reminding one of Allah are all basis of good advice.

Sufyan Ath-Thauri said: “I asked S’ad bin Kudam, ‘Do you like that someone gives you a present consisting of errors?’ He said, ‘Yes if it is coming from someone who is advising, but not from someone whose purpose is to admonish.’” When Abu Dardaa (radiallahu ‘anhu) passed by a man who was being admonished by others because he committed a sin, he asked them: “If you found this fellow in a well, would you rescue him from it?” they said, “Yes.” Abu Darda (radiallahu ‘anhu) said, “then do not admonish him and praise Allah that He has saved you from his sin.” They asked, “Should we hate him?” He said, “No. Hate his sin and if he abandons it, he again becomes my brother.”

Moreover it was reported about two brothers from our salaf that one of them abandoned the path of righteousness and his brother was asked if he would shun him. He replied: “What he needs from me the most, now that he has fallen into sin, is that I take his hand, advise him softly and invoke Allah that he returns to the way he was before.”

To continue we mention here a good statement by Imam Abu Haatim: “The wise person is required to use good conduct with people to abandon ill manners. Verily, good mannerism dissolves errors, just as the sun dissolves ice, while ill conduct spoils the deeds, just as vinegar spoils honey. One might have many aspects of good mannerism mixed with some ill behaviour, but the little ill behavior spoils his otherwise substantial good mannerism.”

Good mannerism requires forbearance and graciousness when one has to confront people or is confronted in public. Once when ‘Ali Ibn al-Husain entered a masjid, a man cursed him, prompting the people to want to punish him. ‘Ali asked them to leave the man alone and said to him: “What Allah has covered from you of my errors is more than what has been uncovered! Is there anything I could help you with?” That man felt ashamed, and ‘Ali gave him a robe he had and a thousand dirhams. The man used to describe ‘Ali bin Al-Husain, the son of Husain (radiallahu ‘anhu) the grandson of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) by saying, ‘This is a descendant of the Prophets (‘alaihimus salaam)!

Habib Al-Jallab said: “I asked Ibn al-Mubarak, ‘What is the best gift that was given to mankind?’ He said, ‘A wise mind.’ I said, ‘If one did not have that?’ He said, ‘Good conduct’. I said, ‘And if one did not have that?’ He said, ‘An advising friend whom he seeks his council.’ I asked, ‘If one did not have that?’ H said, ‘Long periods of silence.’ I asked, ‘If one did not have even that?’ He said, ‘Then a swift death!’”

Another good indication of the salaf’s mannerism is that when they wanted to advise someone, they would do it in confidence. One of our salaf one said: “When someone advises his friend in confidence, it will be an advice, but if he advises him in public, he will have exposed him.”
Furthermore, Al-Fudhail bin ‘Iyaad said, while explaining the difference between advising and publicly exposing others: “The believer advises in confidence, while the wicked exposes and shames.”

Abu Dardaa (radiallahu ‘anhu) said: “It is better to advise your friend than severing relations with him, for no one can take the place of your friend if you lose him. Be generous and lenient with your friend, and do not allow an envious person to come in between you and him, for in this case, your friend might die tomorrow and you grieve for him. However, how could you grieve for him after he dies when you have shunned him when he was still alive?”

Yahya bin Mu’adh explains the role a good friend plays in his friend’s life:
“Your brother is he who makes you aware of your errors, and your friend is he who warns you against sinning.”
Al-Khalil bin Ahmed, a scholar of the Arabic language, teaches us the types of people and the benefit we could present to them: “Men are four types. There is a man who knows, but is not aware that he knows; this type is unaware and you need to alert him. There is a man who does not know and knows that he does not know; this type is ignorant and you should teach him. There is a man who knows and knows that he knows; this type is a scholar, so learn from him. There is a man who does not know, but is unaware that he does not know; this type is wicked so beware of him.”

Avoiding harms of the tongue
In today’s times, most people tend to be careless about avoiding the harms of the tongue, which are widespread among the people. The following are some of the most common harms:

Talking about what does not concern you: This is a common practice, even though the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “A sign of a person’s good practice of Islam, is giving up that which does not concern one.” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also said: “The people with the most sins, are those who most frequently indulge in conversations which do not concern them.”
In order to set the limits for what does not concern you, you must ask yourself the following questions:
* Is there any harm if you remain silent?
* Is it an issue that concerns you?
* Is it some information that is vital to your wellbeing and which you need?

The matters that concern a person are those which directly relate to his life, or things which would prevent harm from afflicting him.
The reason behind the prevalence of such practices is when a person is eager to know what he has no need for, prolonging the conversation is a way of strengthening social relations with the one being talked to or passing time in useless talks.
The way to cure this problem is by remembering that death could attack you at any time, and you will questioned about your words. Time is your capital in life, and silence is a way to earn eternal joy and the company of the purified consorts of Paradise. You should train yourself to be silent gradually by avoiding idle chatting and gossip as far as possible.

Indulging in falsehood: This includes talking about women, and sitting in gatherings which include drinking, conveying and spreading innovations in the religion. All of this is prohibited because it goes under the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “A man may utter a word which pleases Allah, which causes the pleasure of Allah upon him until the Day of Resurrection. A man may utter a word which displeases Allah, which causes the wrath of Allah upon him until the Day of Resurrection.” [Ahmad]

Disputing and arguing which we were prohibited to do: Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {“And of mankind there is he whose speech may please you (O Muhammad ), in this worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of the opponents. And when he turns away (from you O Muhammad), his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle, and Allah likes not mischief”} [Qur’an, 2: 204-205]

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The most hated person to Allah, is the one who always disputes and starts enmity.” [Al-Bukhari]. A Muslim should guard his tongue from saying what intimidates others or angers them, and remember the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “I will guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for the one who ends an argument even if he was in the right.” [Abu Daawood].

Cursing and badmouthing: The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “A Muslim does not badmouth, curse, nor is he spiteful.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmithi]. He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also said: “Reviling a Muslim is an act of outrage (moral depravity) and fighting against him is an act of disbelief (Kufr)”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Unfortunately, this is common amongst the people nowadays, especially amongst the youth. A Muslim is commanded to purify his tongue from immoral words.

Claiming eloquence: This is dispraised and it leads to boasting. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Those most hated and the farthest on the Day of Resurrection are those with the worst manners, those who prattle, boast and the arrogant.” [At-Tirmithi].

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Means of acquiring refined morals
Undeniably, changing one’s morals for the better is the toughest change for the human being, but it is not impossible. There are many ways and methods to help one acquire refined morals, which include the following:

Pure creed:
Having a pure creed is a serious matter, as one’s conduct and behaviour are, very often, the fruits of one’s creed and ideology. A person’s conduct is the practical translation of what he believes in. Accordingly, any sense of deviation in behaviour is the result of a defective creed. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The believers who are the most perfect in respect of their faith are those who have the best morals.”

Indeed, supplications are a great means to attain refined morals; once Allah The Exalted Accepted a person’s supplications, he will be showered with bounties and graces.
Hence, he who aspires to be well-mannered, giving up his bad morals, should resort to supplication. In fact, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to implore Allah The Exalted to Grant him good morals. He used to supplicate: “Allaahumma Ihdini li Ahsan Al-Akhlaaq, la yahdi li ahsaniha illa anta, wa Isrif ‘anni sayi’aha, la yasrifu ‘Anni sayi’aha illa anta (O Allaah, Guide me to the best morals, as none can guide to the best morals except You, and Save me from bad morals, as none can save me from bad morals except You).”

Acquiring refined morals is a form of guidance that one acquires through exerting great effort. Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah Is with the doers of good.} [Quran 29: 96]

This can be done through self-criticism; whenever one commits a reprehensible deed, he can adopt the carrot-and-stick principle.
Reflecting on the implications and fruits of refined morals and pondering over its good consequences is one of the greatest reasons that drive one to strive to acquire that quality. Moreover, bear in mind that the harder the deed is, the greater its reward becomes.

Pondering on the consequences of bad morals:
This reflection brings to mind the evil consequences of bad morals: they give rise to pain, grief, worry, misery, regret and hatred in the hearts of people.

Indeed, patience is one of the major moral bases of the Muslim character and is one of the fundamental refined morals. Patience helps people to endure and accept calamities, restrain their anger, adopt forbearance, kindness, sympathy, and shun recklessness and haste.

Justice urges one to maintain a balance in terms of morals, i.e. to be moderate in one’s morals and not to be excessive or lax; not to be cowardly or reckless, or lenient, in a negative sense, and angry.

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