By Abu Amina Elias
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Imam An-Nawawi mentions that scholars have said all good character and manners can be derived from four prophetic traditions.
وَقَدْ قَالَ الْإِمَامُ الْجَلِيلُ أَبُو مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أَبِي زَيْدٍ إِمَامُ الْمَالِكِيَّةِ بِالْمَغْرِبِ فِي زَمَنِهِ جِمَاعُ آدَابِ الْخَيْرِ يَتَفَرَّعُ مِنْ أَرْبَعَةِ أَحَادِيثَ
The Imam Al-Khaleel Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Abu Zaid, the leader of the Maliki scholars in the West in his time, said that all good manners are derived from four traditions.
Source: Sharh Sahih Muslim
These four traditions are the following:
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَلْيَقُلْ خَيْرًا أَوْ لِيَصْمُتْ
Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or remain silent.
Source: Sahih Muslim 47, Grade: Sahih
We have been commanded to speak good words or remain silent. It is not permissible to use the tongue for bad purposes like telling lies, slander, gossip, curses, profanity, or abuse. If we apply this tradition, we will be saved from the sins of the tongue by which many people enter Hellfire.
Ali ibn Hussein reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
إِنَّ مِنْ حُسْنِ إِسْلَامِ الْمَرْءِ تَرْكَهُ مَا لَا يَعْنِيهِ
Verily, from the perfection of Islam is that a person leaves what does not concern him.
Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2318, Grade: Sahih
We have been commanded to leave what does not concern us and to mind our own business. It is not permissible to gossip, repeat everything we hear without verification, spy on others, seek out people’s faults, or to busy ourselves with matters beyond our concern. If we apply this tradition, we will make the most of our time and avoid violating the privacy and honor of others.
Abu Huraira reported: A man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and said, “Advise me.” The Prophet said:
Do not get angry.
The man repeated his request twice and the Prophet said:
Do not get angry.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 5765, Grade: Sahih
We have been commanded to control our anger and to avoid acting impulsively. It is not permissible to allow anger to be the cause of transgression, aggression, oppressing others, harboring rancor in our hearts, or envying others. If we apply this tradition, we will be saved from the innumerable sins caused by losing control of our anger.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
لا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 13, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi
We have been commanded to love for each other what we love for ourselves and to treat each other the way we would love to be treated. We should have a desire and intention to benefit others and to love good for them. We should not hold any malice towards others or have an intention to harm others. If we apply this tradition, Allah will honor us on the Day of Resurrection in the same way that we treated others well in this life.
From these four prophetic traditions are derived the foundations of all good character and manners in Islam. We should strive to apply these four traditions and thereby achieve a blessed rank among the righteous in the Hereafter.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.