Hadith 15. Islamic manners

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good things or keep silent. Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should be generous to his neighbour. Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should be courteous and generous to his [travelling] visitor.”

Reported in Bukhari and Muslim

Brief Commentary:

  • Some scholars say this hadith covers 1/3 of our religion, because it clarifies the principles relating to the tongue
  • It helps in building a righteous society as we know the rights of others
  • The hadith starts with “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day”, hence we know that anything mentioned after is a part of Iman, and this further proves that speech and actions of the limbs are from Iman.
  • The prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned “the Last day”, because everything mentioned afterwards will have an effect on us on the day of judgement, the Last day
  • The hadith teaches us to look after society, so further proves that Islam is not an individualistic religion
  • The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “You will remain safe as long as you are quiet, and if you spoke, it will either be written for you or against you” (Tabarani)
  • The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A man will say a word without giving it any significance, and it will make him slip into the hellfire as deep as between the East and the West” (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “Whoever his speech increased, his sins also increase”
  • Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak said, “If speech is from silver, then staying quiet is from gold”
  • We cannot say in absolute terms that keeping quiet is better, it depends on the situation, as if you see an evil in front of you and you are able to forbid it but you don’t, then you are like a “mute devil” and in this instance it would have been better to speak rather than stay quiet.
  • Speech can be of three types:
    • We are rewarded for e.g. making dhikr, enjoining good, forbidding evil, etc
    • We are punished for e.g. speaking evil, backbiting, etc
    • General speech which is neither good or bad
  • However, we know that anything we say which is not good (i.e. we are not rewarded for) will be a cause for our sorrow on the day of judgement. This also includes general speech, as although we are not punished for it, we will stand before Allah on the day of judgement and everything we ever did will be in front of us, and we will look at all this speech we said which was of no benefit and feel a great sorrow that we had not used our time in a better manner so that instead of wasting this time speaking and not gaining reward, we would have done something which brings us reward instead
  • Being good to the neighbour does not just mean not harming them, it also includes treating them in a good manner
  • Neighbours can be split into 3 categories:
    • Non-Muslim neighbour: Has over you the right of neighbourhood
    • Muslim neighbour: Has over you the right of neighbourhood and Islam
    • Relative Muslim neighbour: Has over you the right of neighbourhood, Islam, and kinship
  • A neighbour is what is defined to be a neighbour in our culture/customs, and there is no set specific criteria to determine who a neighbour is
  • Some scholars say the visitor here is the travelling visitor, and you should house them for at least one night and give them the best of food

Benefits and Action points to take from this hadith:

  • Islam rages war against miserliness
  • It reinforces the concept of being watchful, so we should be watchful over what we say and do
  • Islam encourages the people to engage in noble actions
  • Belief in Allah is the origin of all good
  • Before you say anything, ask yourself, will I be rewarded for saying this? If yes, then say it, if not, then abstain from doing so and make dhikr so that when your life is presented in front of you in front of Allah on the day of judgement, you will not have much sorrow over wasted time, but will have increased in reward. Unfortunately we do the opposite and ask ourselves, is this something that is sinful? if yes, then the good ones amongst us stop, and if no then we go ahead and say it.
  • Be good to your neighbours even if they are non-Muslims because they too have rights over you
  • If a travelling visitor comes to your house then house them for at least one night

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