Good manners are of a noble status in Islam. They are the Muslim’s true assets to attain a higher status of faith in Allah, and as such have his good deeds highly valued. Verily, no one has received as much praise from Allah, the Most Exalted, as did our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allah, the Ever Merciful, addresses His prophet, saying, “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (Al Qalam:4).
For his part, our Master Muhammad (pbuh) said, “I was sent to perfect good manners.” Morality also refers to kindness which Islam has called to, as our Prophet says, “piety is good manners.”
Good manners is a blessing from Allah to whom He likes. Our Master Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Allah has distributed good moral conduct among you as He has distributed the means of sustenance, He bestows the world to one who is dear to Him as also to him whom He does not admire. But He gives the Deen (The straight Path) of Religion only to the person who is beloved in His Presence. Therefore the person who is blessed with the Blessing of Religion (Deen) is Dear to Allah as His chosen servant.”
Islam is a system of rituals and good ethics. Rituals compromise salat (prayers), Sawm (fasting), Zakat (due almsgiving), Haj (pilgrimage) among other duties that Allah, the Almighty, has ordained upon us to observe. Yet none of the above would be fully completed without the presence of good conduct. Indeed, the rituals should lead to morality. Thus, Salat is supposed to stop Muslims from indecency and ill-deeds. Allah, the Most High, says, “Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Ankaboot:45).
Zakat purifies a person and elevates him, as Allah, the Most Exalted says, “Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [Allah 's blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”(Al Ankaboot:103). Sawm polishes the self as our Prophet (pbuh) says, “whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of his giving food and drink."
Similarly, Haj uplifts human morality, for Allah, The Ever Merciful, says, “Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do - Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah . And fear Me, O you of understanding.” (Al Baqara:197).
Yet, no matter how many acts of worship a Muslim would perform, they would still fall short in satisfying Allah if the virtuous deeds are not combined with good conducts. Bad manners nullify any rewards for good deeds. Our Prophet (pbuh) once asked his companions: "do you know who the bankrupt one is?" The companions replied: "A bankrupt person amongst us is the one who doesn't have a dirham or any possessions." The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Rather, the bankrupt person from my Ummah is the one who will come on the Day of Resurrection with a good record of Prayers, Fasts and Charity; but he would have offended a person, slandered another, unlawfully consumed the wealth of another person, murdered someone and hit someone. Each one of these people would be given some of the wrong-doer's good deeds. If his good deeds fall short of settling the account, then their sins will be taken from their account and entered into the wrong-doer's account and he would be thrown in the Hell Fire.”
Our Master (pbuh) explained to us that a well-mannered Muslim should not be arrogant, ruthless or a gossiper seeking to spread immorality amongst people. As such, we should be aware that avoiding causing harm is the essence of good conducts. Our Guide Muhammad (pbuh) also said, “the true Muslim is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.”
To acquire morality, a Muslim should, therefore, look for the right model that exemplifies good manners. In this, there is no better example than the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) for being the best of all humans in good ethics and character. He was blessed by Allah, the Most High, with every perfect manner a human being wishes to have. Allah, the Most Gracious, says, “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Al Ahzab:21).
A Muslim likewise should keep the good company of the righteous and pious people. Allah, The Most Holy, says, “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.” (Al Tawbah:119). Advising people, some scholars used to say: “befriend those who would better you in behaviour and acquaint you with Allah’s ordinance.”
Another way to better oneself is to read into the biographies of virtuous men and women. Their story of life would certainly inspire Muslims to follow the best of their character and conduct. So please teach your sons and daughters the traditions of the Prophet’s companions (May Allah be pleased with them), who used to beseech Allah, the Ever Merciful, to guide them to the best of ethics. A famous Duaa (supplication) by our Master Muhammad (pbuh) says, “O Allah, guide me to the best of characters for none can guide to it other than you, and deliver me from the worst of characters for none can deliver me from it other than you."
Good manners will stand by the faithful on the Day of Resurrection and shall weigh the balance of the good deeds for the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “there is nothing that will be heavier upon the balance than good character.”
Muslims should follow the path of the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (pbuh), who exemplified the good ethics as shown in the Holy Quran. Aisha, his wife, (May Allah be pleased with her, used to say: “his manners are those in the Quran.”