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An-Nawawi on good character and manners

January 30, 2013

The most excellent character

By Abu Amina Elias

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

An-Nawawi recorded in his book Riyad us-Saliheen:

Allah the Exalted said:

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Verily, you are upon great moral character.

Surat Al-Qalam 68:4

And Allah said:

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous, who spend during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people; and Allah loves the doers of good.

Surat Ali Imran 3:134

Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

 كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَحْسَنَ النَّاسِ وَأَشْجَعَ النَّاسِ

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was the best of people and the most brave.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 2751, Grade: Sahih

And Anas said:

خَدَمْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَشْرَ سِنِينَ وَاللَّهِ مَا قَالَ لِي أُفًّا قَطُّ وَلاَ قَالَ لِي لِشَىْءٍ لِمَ فَعَلْتَ كَذَا وَهَلاَّ فَعَلْتَ كَذَا

I served the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, for ten years. By Allah, he never even said to me: Uff! He never said harshly for anything: Why did you do that? Why did you not do that?

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5691, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

As-Sa’b ibn Jathamah reported: He presented to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, a wild donkey when he was at Al-Abwa or Waddan and the Messenger of Allah returned it to him. When the Messenger of Allah saw the look of disappointment on his face, he said:

 إِنَّا لَمْ نَرُدَّهُ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا أَنَّا حُرُمٌ

Verily, we have only returned it because we are performing the pilgrimage.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 2434, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

An-Nawawi commented on this tradition, saying:

وَفِيهِ أَنَّهُ يُسْتَحَبُّ لِمَنِ امْتَنَعَ مِنْ قَبُولِ هَدِيَّةٍ وَنَحْوِهَا لِعُذْرٍ أَنْ يَعْتَذِرَ بِذَلِكَ إِلَى الْمُهْدِيِ تَطْيِيبًا لِقَلْبِهِ

In this tradition is the recommendation for one who does not accept a gift to offer an excuse and apologies to the giver as kindness to assure his heart.

Source: Sharh Sahih Muslim 2066

Nawwas ibn Sim’an reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, about righteousness and sin. He said:

 الْبِرُّ حُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ وَالإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي صَدْرِكَ وَكَرِهْتَ أَنْ يَطَّلِعَ عَلَيْهِ النَّاسُ ‏‏

Righteousness is good character and sin is what waivers in your heart and you hate for people to know about it.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2553, Grade: Sahih 

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ مِنْ أَكْمَلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِيمَانًا أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا وَأَلْطَفُهُمْ بِأَهْلِهِ

Verily, the believers with the most complete faith are those with the most excellent character and who are most kind to their family.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2612, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

خِيَارُكُمْ أَحَاسِنُكُمْ أَخْلَاقًا

The best of you are those with the best character.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 3366, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Abu Darda reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا شَيْءٌ أَثْقَلُ فِي مِيزَانِ الْمُؤْمِنِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَيُبْغِضُ الْفَاحِشَ الْبَذِيءَ

Nothing is heavier upon the scale of the believer on the Day of Resurrection than his good character. Verily, Allah hates the shameless, obscene person.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2002, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was asked, “What enters most people into Paradise?” He said:

تَقْوَى اللَّهِ وَحُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ

Fear of Allah and good character.

It was asked, “What enters most people into the Hellfire?” He said:

الْفَمُ وَالْفَرْجُ

The mouth and the private parts.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2004, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَكْمَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِيمَانًا أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا وَخِيَارُكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ لِنِسَائِهِمْ خُلُقًا

The most complete of the believers in faith are those with the best character, and the best of you are the best in behavior to their women.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1162, Grade: Sahih

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيُدْرِكُ بِحُسْنِ خُلُقِهِ دَرَجَةَ الصَّائِمِ الْقَائِمِ

Verily, the believer may reach through his good character the status of one who regularly fasts and prays at night.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4798, Grade: Sahih

Abu Umamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَنَا زَعِيمٌ بِبَيْتٍ فِي رَبَضِ الْجَنَّةِ لِمَنْ تَرَكَ الْمِرَاءَ وَإِنْ كَانَ مُحِقًّا وَبِبَيْتٍ فِي وَسَطِ الْجَنَّةِ لِمَنْ تَرَكَ الْكَذِبَ وَإِنْ كَانَ مَازِحًا وَبِبَيْتٍ فِي أَعْلَى الْجَنَّةِ لِمَنْ حَسَّنَ خُلُقَهُ

I guarantee a house on the outskirts of Paradise for he who leaves arguing even if he is right, and a house in the middle of Paradise for he who leaves lying even when joking, and a house in the highest part of Paradise for he who makes his character excellent.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4800, Grade: Sahih

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ مِنْ أَحَبِّكُمْ إِلَيَّ وَأَقْرَبِكُمْ مِنِّي مَجْلِسًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَحَاسِنَكُمْ أَخْلَاقًا وَإِنَّ أَبْغَضَكُمْ إِلَيَّ وَأَبْعَدَكُمْ مِنِّي مَجْلِسًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ الثَّرْثَارُونَ وَالْمُتَشَدِّقُونَ وَالْمُتَفَيْهِقُونَ

Verily, the most beloved and nearest to my gathering on the Day of Resurrection are those of you with the best character, and verily the most hated of you to me and the furthest from my fathering on the Day of Resurrection will be the pompous, the extravagant, and the pretentious.

They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we know the pompous and the extravagant, but who are the pretentious?” The Prophet said:

الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ

The arrogant.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2018, Grade: Sahih

Amr ibn Shuaib reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَلَا أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِأَحَبِّكُمْ إِلَيَّ وَأَقْرَبِكُمْ مِنِّي مَجْلِسًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Shall I tell you about the most beloved of you to me and the closest to my assembly on the Day of Resurrection?

They were silent, so he repeated himself two or three times. They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said:

أَحْسَنُكُمْ خُلُقًا

Those with the best character.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 6696, Grade: Sahih

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.