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Friday, January 26, 2007

Muslim Code of Behaviour

According to Islamic teachings, apart from having the right belief how
important is it for a person to do good deeds? Doing good and having
the right belief go hand in hand in Islam. In fact, doing good in
practice is the proof of having the right belief in the heart. This is
why the Holy Quran speaks of true Muslims very often as "those who
believe and do good deeds". Both the Quran and the Holy Prophet have
told Muslims that the best among them is that person who shows the best
behaviour towards other people.
Please give a list of some of the good qualities a Muslim must try to
acquire. Below we give, in the words of the Holy Quran and the Holy
Prophet Muhammad, the chief qualities a Muslim should display:
Truthfulness:

"O you who believe! keep your duty to Allah and speak straight, true
words." (Holy Quran 33:70)

"O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful
people." (9:119)

"Be maintainers of justice and bearers of true witness for Allah, even
if it (the truth) goes against your own selves or parents or relatives
or someone who is rich or poor." (4:135)
Sincerity:
"Serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience." (39:2)

"It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say things which you
do not do." (61:3)

"Woe to those who pray but are unmindful of their prayers, who do good
to be seen." (107:4-6)
Unselfishness:

"You cannot attain to righteousness unless you spend (in charity) out of
those things which you love." (3:91)

"They (the true believers) give food, out of love for Allah, to the
poor, the orphan and the slave, saying: We feed you only for Allah's
pleasure - we desire from you neither reward nor thanks." (76:8-9)

"Do no favour seeking gain." (74:6)
Humility:

"The servants of the Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth
in humility." (25:63)

"Do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the
land exultingly." (31:18)

"Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. Allah knows best who is
righteous." (53:32)
Patience:

"Allah loves those who are patient." (3:145)

"Give good news to the patient, who, when a misfortune befalls them,
say: We are Allah's and to Him do we return." (2:155-156)
Forgiveness:

"Pardon (people) and overlook (their faults). Don't you love that Allah
should forgive you." (24:22)

"(The dutiful are) . . . those who restrain their anger and pardon
people. Allah loves those who do good to others." (3:134)
"Whenever they (true believers) are angry they forgive." (42:37)

"The recompense of evil is punishment like it. But whoever forgives (an
evil committed against himself) and amends (matters), his reward is with
Allah. . . . Whoever is patient and forgives, that is a matter of great
resolution." (42:40, 43)

When the Holy Prophet Muhammad defeated his enemies in Makka and
returned to that city as its conqueror, he forgave them in the
following words:

"No reproof be against you this day; Allah may forgive you, and He is
the most Merciful of those who show mercy." (12:92)
Purity and cleanliness:

"He indeed is successful who purifies himself (in mind and body), and
remembers the name of his Lord, then prays." (87:14-15)

"Purify your garments and shun uncleanness." (74:4-5)
Honesty:

"Don't go near the property of an orphan, except in a goodly way, till
he attains maturity. And fulfil the promise (you make) . . .. Give full
measure when you measure out, and weigh with a true balance." (17:34-35)

"Do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means, nor
offer it as a bribe to the officials so that you may swallow up other
people's property unlawfully while you know." (2:188)
Goodness and kindness to others:

"Allah commands you to uphold justice and to do good to others and to
give to the relatives." (16:90)

Three degrees of doing good are mentioned here: "justice," which means
returning any good that someone has done you with equal good; "do good
to others," which means taking the initiative in doing good to others;
and "give to the relatives," which means doing good to people
instinctively and naturally just as one does good to one's close
relatives.

"Do good to others, surely Allah loves those who do good to others."
(2:195)
Consideration and respect for others:

"O you who believe! do not enter houses other than your own until you
have asked permission and greeted the inmates . . . and if it is said to
you, 'Go back', then go back." (24:27-28)

"O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion (against others), for surely
suspicion in some cases is sin; and do not spy (into other people's
affairs), nor let some of you backbite others." (49:12)

"When you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it, or
return it (in the same terms at least)." (4:86)
Courage:

Speaking of a small number of Muslims facing a big and powerful enemy,
the Quran relates:

"Those to whom men said: people have gathered against you, so fear them;
but this increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for
us and He is an excellent Guardian." (3:173)
Moderation:

"Eat and drink, but do not be immoderate." (7:31)

"Do not chain your hand to your neck (so that you are mean in
spending), nor stretch it out to the utmost limit (so that you waste
everything)." (17:29)

Regarding the performance of religious duties, the Holy Prophet has
given the following advice:

"Religion is easy, but any one who exerts himself too much in religious
devotions will get overcome by it; so you should just act rightly, and
keep to the mean, and be of good cheer, and ask for Allah's help
morning, evening, and a part of the night." (Bukhari.)
Cheerfulness:

"Be of good cheer." (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

"It is an act of charity to meet your fellow with a cheerful face."
(Holy Prophet in Mishkat.)

Finally, we give a verse of the Holy Quran mentioning a number of
qualities a Muslim, man or woman, should try to acquire:

"The truthful men and the truthful women, the patient men and the
patient women, the humble men and the humble women, the charitable men
and the charitable women, the fasting men and the fasting women, the men
who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity, the men
who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much - for all
these Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward." (33:35)
How does Islam require a Muslim to treat the people around him? The
Holy Quran and the Hadith mention various categories of people that one
has to deal with, and give a great deal of guidance on how to behave
towards them.
Parents and the elderly:

"Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and do good to
parents. If one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say 'Fie'
to them, nor chide them, but speak to them a generous word . . . and
say, My Lord, have mercy on them as they brought me up when I was
little." (17:23-24).

"The Holy Prophet said, It is one of the greatest sins that a man should
curse his parents. Someone said, How can a man curse his own parents? He
said, If a man abuses the father of another, that person will abuse his
parents (in return)." (Report in Bukhari.)
Other Near Relatives:

"Do good to the near relatives." (4:36)

"Give to the near relative his due, and also to the needy and to the
traveller (in need of help). (17:26).
Children:
"Do not kill your children for fear of poverty - We (Allah) provide for
them and for you." (17:31)

"A man came to the Holy Prophet and said, `You kiss children but we do
not kiss them'. The Holy Prophet said, `Do I have any control over you
if Allah has taken away mercy from your heart'." (Report in Bukhari.)
Orphans and destitute children:

"Maintain the orphans out of their property and clothe them and give
them a good education. Test them when they reach the age of majority,
and if you find them to be mature, hand over their property to them."
(4:5-6)

"I and the man who brings up an orphan will be in paradise like this,"
said the Holy Prophet, putting together his forefinger and middle
finger. (Report in Bukhari.)
Poor and needy:

"Righteous is he who . . . gives away wealth out of love for Him to the
near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those
who ask and to set slaves free." (2:177)

"What will make you understand what the uphill road (to success) is? (It
is) to free a slave, or feed at a time of hunger an orphan who is a
relative or the poor man lying in the dust." (90:11-16)

"Have you seen him who goes against religion? That is the one who is
rough to the orphan and does not urge the feeding of the needy."
(107:1-3)

"(The true believers are those) in whose wealth there is a known right
for the beggar and the destitute." (70:24-25)

"The person who manages things for the widow and the poor is like the
one who strives hard in the way of Allah." (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)
Neighbours:

"Be good to . . . the neighbour belonging to your people and the alien
neighbour." (4:36)

"He is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is
hungry." (Holy Prophet in Hadith.)

"The angel Gabriel continued to enjoin upon me good treatment of the
neighbour, so much so that I thought he would make him heir to one's
property." (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)
Wives/Husbands:

"They (your wives) are a garment for you, and you are a garment for
them." (2:187)

"Of His (Allah's) signs is that He created spouses for you from
yourselves so that you might find quiet of mind in them, and He put
between you love and compassion." (30:21)

"The best of you are those who are kindest to their wives." (Holy
Prophet in Tirmizi.)

A man related:
"I asked Aishah (Holy Prophet's wife): What did the Prophet do when in
his house? She said, `He served his wife', meaning that he did work for
his wife." (Report in Bukhari.)
Employers/Employees:

"(The true believers) are those who are keepers of their trusts and
covenants." (23:8)

"Trusts" include the duties and the other things with which an employee
is entrusted by his employer; "covenants" include the contract by which
both the employer and the employee are bound.

"Allah says: There are three persons whose opponents I shall be on the
Day of Judgment . . . (the third is) the person who employs a servant
and receives fully the labour due from him, but does not pay his wages."
(Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

Ans, a companion of the Holy Prophet, related:
"I served the Holy Prophet for ten years, and he never said to me,
`fie', nor did he ever say `Why have you done this', or `Why have you
not done that'." (Report in Bukhari.)
Animals:

"There is no animal in the earth, nor a bird flying on its two wings,
but they are communities like yourselves (O people)." (6:38)

Someone asked the Holy Prophet, "Is there a reward for us (from Allah)
for doing good to beasts?" He replied:
"In every animal having a liver fresh with life there is a reward."
(Holy Prophet in Mishkat.)

"Be careful of your duty to Allah in the matter of dumb animals; ride
them while they are in a fit condition, and eat them while they are in a
fit condition." (Holy Prophet in Abu Dawud.)

"Whoever tills a field, and birds and beasts eat from it, it is an act
of charity." (Holy Prophet in Musnad of Ahmad.)
Authorities:

Regarding electing and appointing people to positions of authority, the
Quran says:
"Allah commands you to make over trusts (or positions of trust and
authority) to those worthy of them." (4:58)

Some other principles are as follows:

"Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among
you; then if you quarrel about anything (with your authorities) refer it
to Allah and the Messenger" (4:59), i.e. settle the disagreement by
means of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet's example.
"Obedience (of authority) is due only in good matters", i.e., orders to
do wrong must not be obeyed. (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

The first head of state of the Muslims after the Holy Prophet, the
famous Hazrat Abu Bakr, said in a speech after his election:

"Help me if I am in the right. Correct me if I am in the wrong. Obey me
as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger; in case I disobey Allah and
His Messenger, I have no right to obedience from you."

"The most excellent jihad is to speak the truth in the face of an unjust
ruler." (Holy Prophet in Mishkat.)
Muslims:

"Hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited.
And remember Allah's favour to you when you were enemies, then He united
your hearts, so by His favour you became brethren." (3:103)

"The believers are brethren, so make peace between your brethren . . .
Do not find fault with your own people, nor call one another by (bad)
nick­names." (49:10-12)

"Help one another in good and righteous works, and do not help one
another in sin and aggression." (5:2)

"Do not hate one another and do not be jealous of one another and do not
boycott one another, and be servants of Allah, as brothers; and it is
not lawful for a Muslim to sever his relations with his brother for more
than three days." (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

"You will see the believers in their having mercy for one another, and
in their love for one another, and in their kindness towards one
another, like the human body: when one limb is ailing, the whole body
feels it, one part calling out the other with sleeplessness and fever."
(Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

"None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for
himself." (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)
Those who abuse Muslims:

"Bear patiently what they (abusers) say." (20:130)

"Disregard their annoying talk." (33:48)
"When you hear Allah's messages disbelieved in and mocked at, sit not
with them until they enter into some other talk." (4:140)

"And if you invite them to guidance, they hear not; and you see them
looking towards you, yet they see not. Take to forgiveness and enjoin
good and turn away from the ignorant." (7:198-199)

"The Messenger of Allah and his Companions used to forgive the idolaters
and the followers of the book (Jews and Christians), as Allah had
commanded them, and they used to show patience on hearing hurtful
words." (Report in Bukhari.)
Enemies:

"Repel evil with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you there is
enmity will be like a warm friend." (41:34)

"Many of the people of the book wish that they could turn you back into
disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from themselves. . ..
But pardon and forgive." (2:109)

"And you will always find treachery in them, except a few of them. So
pardon them and forgive. Surely Allah loves those who do good to
others." (5:13)
Non­Muslims:

"Allah does not forbid you concerning those people who do not fight you
because of your religion, nor expel you from your homes, that you show
them kindness and deal with them justly.. . . Allah forbids you only
concerning those people who fight you for your religion, and drive you
from your homes and help others to expel you, that you make friends of
them." (60: 8,9)

"Whatever good they (people of other religions) do, they will not be
denied it (by Allah), and Allah knows who the righteous are." (3:115)

"O you who believe, be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with
justice; and do not let the hatred of a people incite you not to act
with justice. Be just; that is nearer to observance of duty." (5:8)

"Call (others) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly
exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner." (16:125)

"Argue not with the people of the Book (Jews, Christians, and other
people having scriptures) except by the best (means), save those of them
who act unjustly. But say: We believe in that which has been revealed to
us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him we
submit." (29:46)

A companion of the Holy Prophet relates:
"A funeral procession passed by the Holy Prophet, and he stood up for
it. People said to him: It was the funeral of a Jew. He said: Was it not
a human life?" (Report in Bukhari.)
Mankind in general:

"Mankind is a single nation." (2:213)

"O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you
into races and families so that you may know each other. The most
honoured of you in Allah's sight are those who best keep their duty."
(49:13)

"We (Allah) have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the
nations." (21:107)

"Speak good words to all people." (2:83)
"Allah commands you that . . . when you judge between people (i.e., of
any race, religion, family, class, etc.), you judge with justice."
(4:58)

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