The hype over why the Muslim community is plagued with educational, scientific, economic and social backwardness perhaps does not help, until their moral downfall is assessed and redeemed.
By Varsha Sharma
Answering the question asked by one of his companions as to who is a true Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) once said: “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand other people are safe” (Sahih al-Bukhari).
This Prophetic definition of a ‘true Muslim’ beautifully illustrates the virtue of good manners in Islam and the persona of a good Muslim. In fact, the core essence of all Islamic precepts and practices lies in the purification of heart, mind and deeds with the intention to build up a noble humane character. So, the revelations of God to Prophet Muhammad give paramount significance to the behavioural attitudes as mentioned in the holy Quran. The Prophet was on the highest rank of morality. He was endowed with magnanimous manners, sublime traits and the noblest personality outshining all his peers and fellowmen in the Arabian Peninsula. Testifying to this fact, the Quran says: “And indeed, you are of a great moral character (68:4). The Qur’an enjoins upon all Muslims to follow in the footprints of the Prophet.
Let us take a glimpse of the most exalted aspects of an ideal Muslim personality as covered in the following Prophetic traditions:
The Prophet said: “The best among you are those who have the best manners and character” (Sahih Bukhari).
He said: “The dearest and nearest among you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be one who is the best of you in manners; and the most abhorrent among you to me and the farthest of you from me will be the pompous, and the arrogant people.” (Tirmidhi).
He said: “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of a believer than good manners. God hates one who utters foul or coarse language. (Tirmidhi).
He said: “If one has good manners, he/she may attain the same level of merit as those who spend their nights in prayer” (Sahih Bukhari).
It goes beyond saying that the Prophet had not only spoken, but epitomized all his sayings by his own noble behaviour. One of his companions Hazrat Anas (RA) narrates: “I served the prophet for ten years. During that time, he never once said to me as much as ‘Oof’ if I did something wrong. He never asked me, if I had failed to do something, ‘why did you not do it?’ and he never ever said to me, if I had done something wrong, why did you do it?” (Sahih Bukhari),
A Muslim is not allowed even to utter a single word in vain, not to speak of idle gossip or backbiting. Because God is omnipresent who always watches him and records his actions and words, as He Himself says:
“Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him ready to record it” (The Quran: 50:18)
A Muslim ought to be mild-tempered, soft-hearted, humble, patient, loving and generous when he/she deals with others, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. Allah, the Almighty certainly does not love those who are offensive or abusive to followers of other religions. For He says: “Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah (7:108)”.
Explaining the above verse, Prophet Muhammad once said: “Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to mankind.’ (Sahih Bukhari).”
There are many more such prophetic sayings as well as the Qur’anic verses which are, unfortunately, disregarded in most Muslim societies today.
Today, many Muslim brethren express deep concern over the plight of the Muslim community in public talks, but when it comes to rendering selfless services to the uplift of humanity, they turn out to be far away from the Prophet’s ideals. They enjoy debating big issues like Islam and Science, Islam and politics, Islamic laws, Islam and women rights, Islam and terrorism etc, but when it comes to their daily practical life; they prove to be full of malpractices and devoid of the true Islamic manners. Far away from what the Prophet taught them: “The best among you are those who have the best manners and character” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The hype over why the Muslim community is plagued with educational, scientific, economic and social backwardness perhaps does not help, until their moral downfall is assessed and redeemed. Until and unless Muslims are successful on the established moral and ethical grounds of Islam, they cannot imagine any tangible development in other walks of life.