Having Good Manners
no doubt good positive words do wonders and leave such a good impression on the listeners. they bring hearts together and wash away grudges and venoms from the bosoms. bad words do the opposite; they plant hatred and negative feelings. the same applies to what the teacher says to his students whether in a positive or negative way. his conduct, features and expressions of his face while talking affect students as a smiling cheerful face would lead to relaxation and comfort, while a frowning grumpy one would lead to repulsion and estrangement.
the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) was the kindest sweetest human spirit for he had the best morals as almighty allah says about his character: “and verily, you (o muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.” (al-qalam: 4). the prophet (pbuh) was not rude or harsh in heart; he was rather lenient, benevolent, propitious and merciful with his ummah (muslim nation). this is reflected in what allah says in the holy qur’an: “verily, there has come unto you a messenger (muhammad) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). it grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. he (muhammad saw) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to allah, and beg him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter paradise and be saved from the punishment of the hell-fire), for the believers (he pbuh is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.” (al tawbah: 128). almighty allah also says about his apostle: “and by the mercy of allah, you dealt with them gently. and had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you.” (al-imran: 159)
- narated by ata bin yasar : i met abdullah bin 'amr bin al-'as and asked him, "tell me about the description of allah's apostle which is mentioned in torah (i.e. old testament.") he replied, 'yes. by allah, he is described in torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the quran as follows: “o prophet (muhammad)! verily, we have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner” (al-ahzab: 45). as guardian of the illiterates. you are my slave and my messenger (i.e. apostle). i have named you "al-mutawakkil" (who depends upon allah). you are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noise-maker in the markets and you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. allah will not let him (the prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: "none has the right to be worshipped but allah," with which will be opened blind eyes and deaf ears and enveloped hearts." (sahih al-bukhary, the book of sales and trade, hadith number: 2166, narrated by: abdullah ibn-salam).
these were some of the qualities of prophet muhammad (pbuh) who is described by almighty allah as having an exalted standard of character, anxious over the believers, neither severe nor harsh in heart. these traits are necessary for dawah (call to believe in allah), as those whom the prophet (pbuh) calls need a lenient mentor to teach them their religion. bearing in mind that their circumstances are different, some of them are ignorant, young and old, and they all need leniency, forbearance, patience, kindness and prudence. otherwise, they would have been broken away from about the prophet (pbuh), disliked and rejected the guidance he was calling for. the prophet (pbuh) represents the best example of good manners. we have the best evidence of the high morals of the prophet (pbuh) in the qur’an when almighty allah addresses him: “and verily, you (o muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.” (al-qalam: 4). the mother of believers aisha –may allah be pleased wit her-said, “his character was the qur'an.” (musnad ahmad, hadith no. 24139). now let’s shed light on an incident that reflects the exalted manners of prophet muhammad (pbuh).
- narated by anas bin malik: “while i was walking with the prophet who was wearing a najrani outer garment with a thick hem, a bedouin came upon the prophet and pulled his garment so violently that i could recognize the impress of the hem of the garment on his shoulder, caused by the violence of his pull. then the bedouin said, ‘order for me something from allah's fortune which you have.’ the prophet turned to him and smiled, and ordered that a gift be given to him.” (sahih al-bukhary, the book of one-fifth of war booty, hadith number: 3185, narrated by: anas ibn-malik).
these were the noble manners of the prophet (pbuh) and this is how his exalted character was. he could have disciplined the bedouin for his attitude with him, but he was not an avenger. harshness was not in the nature or manners of the first teacher; the prophet (pbuh). he would have never punished the bedouin or got angry as he is the one who said: “whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, allah will call him before all of mankind on the day of resurrection, and will let him choose of the hur al-’ayn whoever he wants.” [reported by abu dawud (4777), sahih al-jami' (6518)].
the best for teachers and educators is to pursue the steps of the first teacher; prophet muhammad (pbuh) in terms of following good manners, politeness and decency. these are the best methods of education and teaching, as the student is usually affected by the manners of his teacher, and he is ready to learn from him and look up to him more than anyone else. if the teacher has such good manners, no doubt it will affect his students positively. such positive effect will change them to the better more than any advices or lessons would ever do. this is how we can easily understand the meaning of what prophet muhammad (pbuh) said “nothing will be heavier on the day of resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners.” [recorded by at-tirmidhy (no. 2003) and corrected by al albani]. he also said, "the person of good manners will get the same reward as the person who prays during the night and fasts during the day" (sahih al-jami).
all this praise to good manners is because it is a quality that do wonders in wining and softening the hearts and capturing the spirits. it spreads amibility and love among the people. teachers should be the first among us to follow good manners, they should be worthy and eligible for to such fine trait.
- the teacher should be characterized by good manners, to be effective and persuasive to encourage his students to follow good manners.
- uttering a kind word, affability and a smiling face are reasons that would remove any psychological barrier between a teacher and his student.
the teacher should meet the students’ ignorance and unawareness with patience, forbearance and tolerance.