Al-Nawawi on good character and manners

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Al-Nawawi recorded in his book Riyad al-Salihin:

باب حسن الخلق

Chapter on good character.

Source: Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn 1/204

Allah Almighty 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 people, for Allah loves the doers of good.

Surat Ali Imran 3:134

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

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَحْسَنَ النَّاسِ وَكَانَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ وَكَانَ أَشْجَعَ النَّاسِ

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was the best of people, the most generous of people, and the most courageous of people.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2751, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

And he said:

خَدَمْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ فَمَا قَالَ لِي أُفٍّ وَلَا لِمَ صَنَعْتَ وَلَا أَلَّا صَنَعْتَ

I served the Prophet, 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: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5691, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Al-Nawwas ibn Sam’an reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, 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 find out about it.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ 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 most complete of believers in faith are those with the best character and who are most kind to their families.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2612, Grade: Sahih

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

إِنَّ مِنْ خِيَارِكُمْ أَحْسَنَكُمْ أَخْلَاقًا

Verily, among the best of you are those with the best character.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 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 good character. Verily, Allah hates the vulgar, obscene person.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 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 genitals.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 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 believers in faith are those with the best character, and the best of you are the best in behavior to their women.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 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 by his good character the rank of one who regularly fasts and stands for prayer at night.

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 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 one who leaves arguments even if he is right, and a house in the middle of Paradise for one who abandons lies even when joking, and a house in the highest part of Paradise for one who makes his character excellent.

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 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. Verily, the most reprehensible of you to me and the furthest from my gathering 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 al-Tirmidhī 2018, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Amr 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 to me and the closest to my assembly on the Day of Resurrection?

They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said:

أَحْسَنُكُمْ خُلُقًا

Those with the best character.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 6696, Grade: Sahih

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

إِنَّا لَمْ نَرُدَّهُ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا أَنَّا حُرُمٌ

Indeed, we have only returned it because we are performing the pilgrimage right now.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2434, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Al-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: Sharḥ al-Nawawī ‘alá Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2066

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.