Chapter 73: Good Conduct
allah, the exalted, says:
"and verily, you (o muhammad (pbuh)) are on an exalted (standard of) character.'' (68:4)
"the jannah is prepared for those)... who repress anger, and who pardon men.'' (3:134)
621. anas (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the messenger of allah (pbuh) was the best of all the people in behaviour.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
622. anas (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i never felt any piece of velvet or silk softer than the palm of the messenger of allah (pbuh), nor did i smell any fragrance more pleasant than the smell of messenger of allah (pbuh). i served him for ten years, and he never said `uff' (an expression of disgust) to me. he never said `why did you do that?' for something i had done, nor did he ever say `why did you not do such and such' for something i had not done.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith reflects the sublime morality of messenger of allah that he never found faults with the doings of his valet nor did he ever scold him during his ten-year-long service. to be sure, this is something unique in human history. may the ummah, too, adopt the refined way of the living of its prophet (pbuh).
623. sa`b bin jaththamah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i presented a wild ass to messenger of allah (pbuh) as a gift but he returned it to me. when he perceived signs of despair on my face, he said, "i have declined to accept it because i am in the state of ihram.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: as, in the state of ihram, hunting is not allowed to a pilgrim; similarly, the meat of the game, killed on his suggestion or instruction, is forbidden to him, too. for this reason, messenger of allah (pbuh) sent back the gift of the wild ass to his companion. the hadith further illustrates that if the recipient has any valid excuse for not accepting a gift, he should explain it so that the sender may not feel dejected. it may be mentioned here that some ahadith allow us to eat the meat of a game killed by others, whereas this hadith shows it is not permissible. the orthodox `ulama', however, have attempted to reconcile the two seemingly incompatible sets of ahadith with each other. according to the first category of ahadith, a man, not in the state of ihram who kills a chase and gives a portion of it as a gift to someone who is in ihram, the gift will be permissible to the latter. as for the second category of ahadith, the former kills a game for the latter, or on his suggestion, the man in the state of ihram will be barred from eating it (as mentioned in fath al-bari). similarly, it will not be lawful if the game is sent alive to the man in the state of ihram with this intention that he should himself sacrifice it. the hadith under discussion depicts this very situation. imam bukhari, as we know, has consequently adduced from this hadith that if an unkilled game, like the wild donkey, is sent as a gift to a man in the state of ihram, he should not accept it.
624. nawwas bin sam`an (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i asked messenger of allah (pbuh) about virtue and sin, and he said, "virtue is noble behaviour, and sin is that which creates doubt and you do not like people to know about it.''
commentary: an important principle enshrined in this hadith says that courtesy is a virtue, because a refined mind cultivates good habits, performs good deeds, and shuns all that is bad and corrupt. also, a simple and understandable principle is laid down about sin. man feels the pricking of conscience over every bad deed and is also afraid of the reproach of fault-finders, provided he has not reached the lowest point of moral depravity. but a seared conscience is least disturbed even by a heinous and deadly sin or by public censure. we can understand it by the example of man's smelling sense. if it is not dead, man can feel a stink and repugnant odour. but a long association with a dung heap robs away one's smelling sense and feeling of refuse.
625. `abdullah bin `amr bin al-`as (may allah be pleased with them) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) did not indulge in loose talk nor did he like to listen to it. he used to say, "the best of you is the best among you in conduct.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith, apart from describing the refined behaviour and sublime morality of messenger of allah (pbuh), tells us that a person with the highest moral sense is in fact the best among people.
626. abud-darda (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "nothing will be heavier on the day of resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.''
commentary: the most beneficial thing on the day of resurrection will be a courteous behaviour which will outweigh all good actions. but that will be witnessed in case of a believer as there is no question of weighing a non-believer's good actions. allah himself says in the qur'an: "so their works are in vain, and on the day of resurrection, we shall assign no weight for them.'' so will a morally depraved and nonsensical man stand unfavoured with allah, and this will be a sign of his frustration and disillusionment in the hereafter.
627. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) was asked about the deed which will be foremost to lead a man to jannah. he replied, "fear of allah and the good conduct.'' then he was asked about indulgence which will admit a man to hell (fire) and he answered, "the tongue and the genitals.''
commentary: this is also a very comprehensive hadith. fear of allah really links up a man to him, and moral refinement prevents him from falling short of his duties to people. to be sure, adherence to this two-fold practice will cause the entry of a lot of people to jannah. many a man, on the other hand, has a long, sharp and dangerous tongue and this causes him to pour out heretic utterances and indulge in backbiting, slandering and abusive and nonsensical talk. all this activity leads to hell. as for genitals, an unwary and unrestrained attitude incites one to indulge in immoral pursuits. in both these cases countless people will be led into hell. for this reason it is imperative for everybody to develop taqwa (consciousness of allah / fear of allah ) and refined behaviour and shun the wickedness of tongue and genitals so that his life in the hereafter may not be ruined.
628. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "the most perfect man in his faith among the believers is the one whose behaviour is most excellent; and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.''
commentary: this hadith brings into light the corollary of faith and complaisant manners. we may put it in this way that the degree of a man's excellent behaviour determines the degree of his faith. or the sublimity of faith calls for the sublimity of morals. similarly, a man who is polite and courteous to his wife will be considered as the best.
629. `aishah (may allah be pleased with her) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying: "a believer will attain by his good behaviour the rank of one who prays during the night and observes fasting during the day.''
commentary: the two practices are difficult. but those who manage to keep them will be richly rewarded by allah. there is a third category of men who fail to observe the above mentioned voluntary practices. yet they are polite, and courteous in their behaviour towards others and by virtue of this sociable quality, they will also be graded up in the two other categories. and this highlights the significance and excellence of a polite and pleasing behaviour.
630. abu umamah al-bahili (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "i guarantee a house in jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and i guarantee a home in the middle of jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and i guarantee a house in the highest part of jannah for one who has good manners.''
commentary: withdrawal from one's right in order to end a dispute is a manly act of great merit. likewise, this hadith tells us that a man should avoid telling a lie even in a light vein. if he gives great importance to the rules of the shari`ah (islamic law) and the commandments of allah and his prophet (pbuh), he will definitely refrain from telling a lie even in a chat session or just for the sake of joke. usually, people don't mind if one tells a lie in a jocular mood, rather some will perhaps approve it. yet, allah disapproves of even the harmless or trivial form of falsehood and commands his slaves to keep away from it. from all considerations, however, moral excellence carries immense weight. because no wrong or evil thing can be shunned without it. in other words, moral excellence surpasses all forms of goodness.
631. jabir (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the messenger of allah (pbuh) 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, the garrulous, and al-mutafaihiqun.'' the companions asked him: "o messenger of allah! we know about the pompous and the garrulous, but we do not know who al-mutafaihiqun are.'' he replied: "the arrogant people.''
commentary: this hadith lays emphasis on polite and polished behaviour. besides, it teaches us to refrain from unnecessary, incautious and insincere talk intended to influence others and assert superiority over them. but to talk less and in simple words is a good thing. on the other hand, to talk much, showing off cleverness with a tinge of affectation, is detestable.