Allah Almighty sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) with guidance and the religion of truth before the Hour, as a giver of glad tidings and warner. Allah Almighty sent him to bring people out of darknesses into the light:
“[He sent] a Messenger reciting to you the distinct verses of Allah that He may bring out those who believe and do righteous deeds from darknesses into the light. And whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness - He will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein forever. Allah will have perfected for him a provision.” [Al-Talaq 65:11]
It is therefore no wonder that the most important of what the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came with was the reformation of manners and completion of noble qualities. It is narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “I have only been sent to complete good manners.” [Ahmad (8939)]
In another narration: “I have only been sent to complete noble manners.” [Hakim (4221)]
So reforming manners is from the most notable of what the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) called to. Anyone who has knowledge of his mission knows that; for it is among the major headlines of the message of Islam. It is narrated that before his acceptance of Islam, Abu Dharr sent his brother to inquire about the news of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and see what it is that Muhammad has come with. So he came back with news of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “I saw him commanding noble manners.” [Bukhari (3861)]
With its beliefs and rulings, Islam has come to transport mankind in wide steps and big leaps from a variety of vices to a variety of virtues. Hence, good manners do not fall under supererogatory acts of worship, but rather under the fundamental and main acts of obedience, thereby taking a high status on the path proceeding to Allah. It is narrated from the hadith of `Abdullah bin `Amr (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best of you is the one who has the best of manners.” [Bukhari (6035) and Muslim (2321)]
So in proportion to what you have of noble manners, your share of correct religiosity increases, for the entire religion is mannerism. So whoever surpasses you in manners has surpassed you in the religion. What testifies to this is what Imam Ahmad narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The most complete of believers in Iman are those who have the best of manners.” Fudhayl (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Whoever’s manners diminish, his religion diminishes.”
So the religion of an individual is on the decline until he completes good manners and is straight with people in his dealings, extending goodness to them, refraining from touching them with evil and hastening to them with excellence. Many hadiths have come with the emphasis of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in connecting good manners with completeness of true religiosity. Among them is what has been narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, “Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah.” [Ahmad (7879)]
So whoever’s nature and habit is to deny the good people do for him and refrain from thanking them for it, that will be his habit with Allah’s blessing upon him and him thanking Him for it. Thus, it is no surprise that the believer, through his good manners, attains the status of the one who fasts and stands in night prayer, as mentioned in the hadith of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased her). A poet once said:
“And if I was given to choose between every virtue,
I would not have chosen anything besides noble manners.”
The beauty and splendor of good manners is not confined to enumerating them, mentioning them and pointing them and their possessors out, but rather the true beauty of good manners is in acting by them and interpreting them in real life in the manners of people and their dealings.
Many are those who are delighted by good manners. They are impressed by hospitality and captivated by generosity. They praise patience, forbearance, compassion, perseverance, bravery, heroism, being good neighbors, upholding ties of kinship, keeping one’s promise, truthfulness in speech, among other righteous and good qualities. However, so many are those whose share of these manners remain in admiring and complimenting them.
Many are those who know that generosity helps in attaining praise, but they nonetheless chase after wealth and real estate. For how often we hear of praise for generosity by tongue, but preferring greed by action; glorifying hospitality in words, but parting from it in action; and complimenting other sorts of noble qualities and good virtues, but falling short when it comes to action.
We call to interpreting good manners in the reality of our actions and to make ourselves prefer acquiring noble manners and overcoming obstacles. This requires us to closely review our behavior, watch our dealings with a watchful eye, be continuously diligent in assessing and correcting ourselves, and work persistently to attain good qualities and revive noble ones.
In our daily lives, we witness from ourselves and those around us many misbehaviours and numerous violations of good manners and noble qualities. I can strongly argue that most of those violations are not out of ignorance of virtues and unawareness of noble qualities, but rather out of slackening off from acting according to them and failing to bring ourselves to adopt them.
O Allah, inspire us our guidance and save us from the evil of our selves.
The website of Dr. Khalid al-Muslih