Question: What Does Islam Teach On Manners And Dealing With Others?
Islam places great emphasis on manners and on the proper way to deal with others, whether they are Muslims or not. Relations between people are very important in Islam, and maintaining good relations with others should be a main priority of a practicing Muslim. In fact, Islam teaches that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "I have been sent to perfect the best of manners". He summarized the goal of his entire message into the perfection of the best of manners. The following is just a sample of some of the teachings of Islam regarding manners and relationships with others.
Kindness to the Neighbour: Islam greatly emphasizes the relationship with neighbours. Muslims are expected to treat their neighbours in the most kind and gentle way, and are strictly forbidden from harming them. In fact, the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said that a person who hurts their neighbours is not a believer. He also said that if a person does not hurt their neighbours, they will enter paradise, even if the rest of their acts of worship are not numerous. On the other hand, a person who performs plenty of worship but hurts their neighbours will enter hell fire.
Removing Obstacles From The Way: Can you believe that Islamic teachings extend even to clearing an obstacle from a path? Yes, it is true. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) taught us that one of the traits of a true believer is that they remove obstacles and harmful things from a public path or street.
Kindness to Parents: Islam has raised the importance of kindness to parents to the highest possible level. In numerous verses of the holy Qur'an, kindness to parents is mentioned immedeatly after belief in God. This shows that it is perhaps the most important action a Muslim must take after belief in God. Muslims are also instructed to take care of their parents, especially in their old age, just as their parents took care of them when they were young and weak. Muslims are forbidden from uttering even a single word of displeasure towards their parents.
Kindness to Spouses: There is a lot of emphasis in Islam on kind and fair treatment of spouses. The Qur'an describes marriage as tranquility and contentment, and teaches that God has created feelings of love and mercy between the spouses. In fact, the Qur'an further describes spouses as being garments for each other, in a reference to the sense of protection and warmth that spouses should provide to each other. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) forbade Muslims from mistreating and being unjust to their spouses. He went even further by saying that the best of men are those who treat their wives in the best way.
Honesty: Islam teaches us that we are to be honest in all our dealings with all people. There is no justification for lying and being deceitful. Islam teaches us that honesty leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to heaven, while lying leads to sinfulness, and sinfulness leads to the hell fire. The Prophet (pbuh) explicitly said that a person who cheats others is not a believer.
Mercy: Mercy is an important trait of any Muslim. Islam teaches us that mercy and kindness in every matter only makes things better, and the lack of mercy and kindness in any matter only makes it worse. In fact, the Qur'an teaches us that even with the person with whom we have an enmity, we should deal kindly and in the best possible way, as this will help to change this person from an enemy to a close ally. Muslims are even instructed to be merciful to animals. Although Muslims are allowed to eat the meat of certain animals, they are instructed to minimize the suffering of animals during their life and even during their slaughter. This is done by using a sharp knife to cut the throat and the main blood vessels to the animal's head, which ensures that the animal feels the least possible amount of pain. Muslims have been following these teachings for over 1400 years!
Smiling: Islam even goes to the extent of rewarding Muslims for smiling in the face of others! Smiling when others look at you is regarded as a form of charity for which Muslims get rewarded. This is why Muslims usually smile and shake hands when they meet, and they hug if they have not seen one another for a long time. Muslims are also instructed to greet each other when they see each other with the best possible greeting.
No Backbiting: Islam forbids backbiting, which is to talk about others behind their backs. The Qur'an compares backbiting to eating the flesh of your friend, which shows how hated this action is in Islam. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) taught us that mentioning anything negative about a person when they are not present is backbiting. One of his followers asked: "What if this negative thing is really true about this person?" The Prophet (pbuh) replied by saying that even if it is true, this is considered backbiting. But if it is false, it is even worse than backbiting because it is also a lie.
Do Not Curse or Ridicule: Muslims are forbidden from ridiculing or cursing others. The Qur'an teaches us that we should not do this because the person we are cursing or ridiculing may be better than us in many ways. Also, engaging in these types of actions casts doubt on the strength of the belief of a Muslim. Islam teaches us that God despises those who use foul language and continually curse and ridicule others.
Generosity: The Qur'an teaches us that we should be generous and give the needy and share our wealth. In fact, Islam teaches us that the poor have a share in our wealth, so it is not optional to give charity. It is their right. Also, Islam teaches us to be generous and to give others from what we have, even if we have a real need for it. When the early Muslims of the city of Al-Madinah received refugees from the city of Makkah, they divided their entire wealth with them in half, sharing with them their houses, farms, animals and money.
Friendship: Islam takes friendship to a higher level, referring to Muslims as brothers and sisters, and expecting them to treat each other as such. A Muslim is expected to wish for others that which they wish for themselves. Also, a Muslim is expected to give honest advice to friends and to be there for them and help them whenever possible. Muslims are forbidden from abandoning or boycotting a friend with whom they have had a disagreement for more than three days. After the three days, they are expected to forgive their friend and resume the friendship.