Having Good Character

Some of the righteous would say that good character is bearing abuse, not getting angry, a smiling face and sweet speech.

Let’s try to be like this, especially with those whom we live with rather than being those that are nice in front of people and someone different at home.

Manners When Sitting with a Teacher

Bakr Abu Zaid mentioned from the manners when a student sits with his teacher:

  • Not to continually interrupt
  • Avoiding extensive questioning in front of an audience as it causes self delusion to the student
  • Abdullah ibn Mas’ood mentioned, narrate to the audience as long as you can see they are interested and when you see slackness in their eyes then stop narrating to them.

Working on Our Character

The Prophet (saw) said that the best of you are those with the best character!

The ulema have said that if knowledge without good character was something praiseworthy, Shaytaan would have been from the best of people.

The one who has no ilm and good character doesn’t damage anyone but himself. However, the one with ilm and poor character damages himself and others!

Staying Silent

Some scholars of the past have mentioned that silence is safety.

Some would say that there are different levels of silence; silence to protect oneself and others from lies and backbiting and silence due to being overwhelmed by the Magnificence of Allah!

Some would say whoever remains silent, instead of speaking the truth, is a mute devil!

Be balanced and ask the Almighty for wisdom.

Etiquettes of Asking a Question

From the etiquettes when asking a question is to make sure that the person being asked is paying attention. If they are busy, sleeping or not concentrating due to using their phone, it’s bad manners to ask the question.

Kind Treatment of Neighbours

Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

I say: based on that, kind treatment of neighbours is enjoined and is recommended, whether they are Muslim or not. And this is the right thing to do. Kind treatment may be in the sense of helping or it may be in the sense of being kind, refraining from annoyance and standing by them.

Asking Others to Make Du’a for You

There is no sin in asking someone else to make du’aa’ for you, on the condition that this does not involve anything that is wrong.

Some scholars have said that it’s better to make du’a for yourself as this shows more trust in Allah. Also, a person would naturally make more du’a for themselves. However, there is no problem in asking others at all. Infact, some say it’s good to ask others.

Being Cautious When Using the Words Halaal and Haraam

It was the habit of Imam Ahmad (rh), out of his great caution, to avoid frequent use of explicit expressions like halal and haraam. Therefore, Imam Ahmad (rh) would typically resort to the use of certain expressions which would indicate the view that he inclines to. Sometimes, there is disagreement as to what his intent is behind these expressions. Some such expressions are the following:

  • I like it (yu’jibuni)
  • Good (hasan)
  • It is befitting (yanbaghi)
  • It is not befitting (la yanbaghi)
  • I dislike it (akrahu)
  • I fear (akhaafu, akhshaa)
  • I hope (arju)
  • There is no harm in it (la ba’sa bihi)
  • I hope there is no harm in it (arju an la ba’sa bihi)
  • I am not so brave (ajbanu ‘anhu)
  • I am not so bold as to speak about that (la ajtari’u ‘alayh)
  • Leave it (da’hu)
  • Leave this issue (da’ hadhihi ‘l-mas’ala)

Adaab of The People of Ilm

You never ever hear them backbite anyone. If they are asked about someone, in terms of ilm, they are just!

When a woman goes past, even if they glance at her, they instantly remove their glance and cast it in another direction, even if she looks amazingly beautiful!
This is called following the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)

Etiquettes of Finishing A Book

From the etiquettes of finishing a book with a Sheikh are:

  • Shukr to Allah
  • To increase in obedience to Allah
  • Depending on the book, sometimes the mashaayikh would have a party!
  • The students would pay the mashaayikh as kindness and a gift.

Perfect Your Character

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said in the Saheehayn, the best of you are those with the best and most perfect character!

The ulema said that if knowledge without good character was something praiseworthy, then Shaytaan would have been from the best of people.

The one who has no ilm and good character doesn’t damage anyone but himself. However, the one with ilm and poor character damages himself and others!

A dua the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would make: 

(واهدني لأحسن الأخلاق (صحيح مسلم

Sending Salaat and Salaam On The Prophet (saw)

In the Sunnan of Abu Dawud, authenticated by Al Nawawi and Ibn Al Qayyim (rh), the narration mentions that there are designated angels that when a person sends salaam on the Prophet (saw), the Angels take it to him and Allah restores his (saw) soul and the salaam is presented to him!

So increase in salaat and salaam upon him (saw)! Show your love for him (saw), especially on Fridays!

Manners With The People

Hassan al Basri would say the best characteristic for a Muslim is to pardon those that wrong him. Others said gentleness and forbearance for an hour keeps away evil for a long time!

Let’s forgive all those that have wronged us, let’s be patient with those who annoy us and let’s forget things people have said and done to us.

Basic Etiquettes Which Are Not Used

When knocking on someone’s door or waiting outside someone’s house then face to the side and don’t face the door. A person may see that which he isn’t supposed to see.

This also applies to when someone is texting next to you; don’t try to read it.

Lowering the gaze is supposed to be done not just from the opposite gender but also worldly things which make one want them, for example cars, houses and so on. This point was mentioned by some of the scholars of the past and Allah Knows Best.

Taking From The Righteous

Imam Ahmad (rh) was asked about who to take ilm from when he’s gone and he said, so and so person, and they mentioned he doesn’t have many masaail, so he replied that indeed he is righteous and the righteous are guided to the truth.

Taken from jaami uloom of Imaam Ahmad (rh)

We can learn from this that just because someone has studied many books and memorised thousands of texts doesn’t mean everything, rather they must be righteous with honesty, trustworthiness and general good character.

This includes communication, and it includes fulfilling one’s promises.

Unless one forgets accidentally, if someone says they are going to do something and they don’t do it, it reflects very very badly on one and is from the characteristics of the hypocrites.

Similarly, if you know someone is trying to contact you, and it’s important, it’s vital there’s communication! The Prophet (saw) was never like this! He would reply and respond.

Replying To Someone Quickly

It’s from the Sunnah to reply quickly. The Prophet (saw) was told that someone wanted to speak to him (saw) so he went to find out who it was. Meaning he (saw) wouldn’t delay replying as much as possible unless there was a reason.

Speaking Well To Others

Allah says in the Qur’an:

و قولوا للناس حسنا (البقرة ٨٣)

Speak good to the people.

The ulema say this entails saying things in a nice way, with gentleness, without harshness or sternness and nice words.

This is with Muslims and non Muslims, mother and wife, father and children, someone you know and someone you don’t know.

If we look at ourselves, we don’t do this enough at all! Allah forgive us our shortcomings for they are far too great!

Loftiness of Good Character

Look at the loftiness of good character and Allah still addresses the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).

We learn that we must be gentle, avoid being harsh and overlook people’s flaws.

We need to guard our tongues and speak good only! This is good character because the one who prays a lot and still has bad character is in big trouble! He prays and he lies, cheats, and is arrogant! This means his prayer isn’t benefitting him!

Manners

A person of the past said: ‘If a person tells you something you have heard before, or news that you already learned, do not interrupt him or her to exhibit your knowledge to those present. This is a rude and an ill manner.

Abu Hurairah (ra) told a man (talking about one’s father), do not walk ahead of him, do not sit until he sits, and do not call him by his name.

Responding to As-salamu ‘Alaykum

It’s Sunnah to start with the Salaam even in text messages. Using shorthand is fine as mentioned by some scholars. However, it’s obligatory to respond whether face to face, shorthand and so on.

These sorts of mannerisms separate a person of ilm or even a good Muslim.

Maasha’Allah TabaarakAllah, Jazaak’Allah Khayran and Wa iyyak

Say Maasha’Allah TabaarakAllah or Allahumma baarik and not just Maasha’Allah as Maasha’Allah alone isn’t sufficient as the narration mentions to seek blessings for it.

What about Jazaak’Allah?

That just means, may Allah reward you. The correct way is to say Jazaak’Allah Khayran or Jazaak’Allah Khayra. It means, may Allah reward you with good.

What is Wa iyyak? It means, and to you.

Role Model

Remember that wherever you are, you are a role model of Islam so act accordingly. Follow the Sunnah in all aspects out of love of the Prophet (saw) and behave in a way which is befitting for a Muslim.

Adab

Something sorely lacking is adab amongst students of knowledge. Students of Ilm are supposed to be the best of people in ilm, action and adab.

But this isn’t the case today. Rather one finds that those who seek ilm can be at times harsh and arrogant and this shows that a person’s ilm hasn’t benefitted them.

Adab in the actual seeking of ilm such as sitting with respect, asking questions in a certain way, carrying oneself in a certain way with one’s teacher.

A person of the past said, knowledge must be followed by action otherwise it has no purpose.

Shafi’ee (rh) said, the more one increases in ilm, the quieter and more humble it should make a person.

Unfortunately today knowledge has become mere information learnt so a person can say I’ve studied this and that but without much action.