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Bad Manners? Don’t Pretend to Follow the Sunnah

Good manners endear us to others.

A polite answer turns away anger and a kind word uttered in time may save us from many troubles.

It is politeness which succeeds while ability fails.

Even a good action will lose its value if the person doing favor utters impolite words.

It is on this note that we, as Muslims, should endeavor to learn from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who summarized the goal of his entire message into the perfection of the best of conduct in the beautiful hadith:

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“I have been sent to perfect the best of manners” (Muwatta’ Malik, 8)

The Quran also describes the Prophet and his ways:

{Indeed you stand on an exalted standard of character.} (68:4)

Unfortunately many Muslims unintentionally fail to pay attention to the above hadith which is the very essence of the Islamic manners which we should adopt and instead restrict their views of religion merely to the external acts of worship.

Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said:

“A Muslim with good manners and a good moral disposition gets the same reward as he who fasts every day and spends every night in prayer.” (Abu Dawud, 4798)

The Prophet Teaching Good Manners

Our teachings put great emphasis on how we deal with people in our daily lives. Rather than focus on how we dress or the apparent status of our worship our manners and dealings should be our criteria.

We must be aware of how each one of us interrelates with people in our circles. Our good dealings will not only ensure that we are not violating other people’s rights but will also make us accepted, loved and appreciated by others.

Prophet Muhammad says:

“Two qualities are not combined in any Muslim, avarice and bad disposition.” (Al-Albani, 282)

He also warned:

“A man with bad manners and a bad moral conduct shall not enter Paradise.”


“No sin is more detestable to God than bad manners.” (At-Tirmidhi, 1545)

I heard once that it takes 15 seconds to make a first impression and the rest of your life to undo it. While it may not be so bad, habits picked up over the years in dealing with people can sometimes be difficult to let go of and to us may not even seem that bad.

Remember that through the process of improving ourselves and promoting good conduct we are rewarded accordingly. Hence we understand that good manners entail we act appropriately in a way that is socially acceptable and courteous, and display respect, care, and consideration for others.

Excellent manners can help us to have better relationships with both the people we know, and those we will meet.

Be an Ambassador for Islam

Islam places great emphasis on manners and on the proper way to deal with others, regardless of whether they are Muslim or not.

There are countless testimonies regarding the prophet Muhammad and his manners by famous non-Muslims including Napoleon Bonaparte, Sir George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Mahatma Gandhi to name a few.

Each testified that Prophet Muhammad treated friends and strangers, the rich and poor, the powerful and weak with equity, and was beloved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints.

A well-known story regarding interaction with non-Muslims highlights how we must deal with them; it asserts that one day when a funeral procession passed in front of Prophet Muhammad, he stood up and when he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said:

“Is it not a living being’s soul?” (Al-Bukhari, 1312)

Relations between people are very important in Islam, and maintaining good associations with others should be a main priority of us as practicing Muslims. We are reminded by the Prophet:

“The exercise of religious duty will not atone for the fault of an abusive tongue.”

Good manners and noble qualities of the character enjoy a place of crucial importance in the structure of Islamic teachings. Simply by being polite you are an ambassador for this great religion convincing people that Islam advocates manners and reverence for one and all.

A believer who possesses good manners and carries out scrupulously the moral duties imposed on him by God without being engaged in additional fasts and prayers as mentioned earlier, attains the degree of excellence of the man who stands up in prayer all night and fasts all day long.

It is without doubt that we may fall into the trap and think times have changed, but this is no excuse for society to deteriorate with regards to behavior.

Bad habits picked up over the years in dealing with people can sometimes be difficult to let go of and may not even seem that bad. However, we need to strive in changing the undesirable so our families, friends, peers, and others can see the better of us. God says:

{Verily Allah changes not the condition the people until they change what is in themselves.} (13:11)

And also

{And those who strive hard in us certainly will. We guide them in our ways; and verily Allah is always with those who do good.} (29:69)

Since manners and respect are taught at home, it is one of our parenting’s great responsibilities to teach these values. We must instill in our children and it’s never too early that good manners are about treating everyone we meet with consideration, dignity and kindness. The Quran reads:

{And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.} (31:18)

By raising our children well we illustrate that our good dealings not only will ensure that we are not violating other people’s rights but will also make us accepted, loved and appreciated by others.

‘Manners make a man’ is a true saying and by manners we mean proper and respectful behavior towards all with whom we come in contact.

This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

About Deana Nassar
Deana Nassar is a published writer. As a mother of four, in her home she’s the sole expert on all things related to marriage, children’s psychology, motherhood and creative survival. She loves charity work, reading and writing poetry, and is mostly known for writing articles discussing family and social issues, faith, freedom, and purpose that comes through God. She can be reached at [email protected]