Hadith 27. Righteousness



Al-Nawwas bin Sam’an (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which wavers in your heart and which you do not want people to know about.

(Reported in Muslim)

According to Wabisah bin Ma’bad (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) who said, “I came to the Messenger of Allah (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and he said:

“You have come to ask about righteousness ?”

” Yes,” I answered. He said:

“Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast, even though people give you their opinion (in your favour) and continue to do so.”

(A good hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi)


Brief Commentary:

  • In this hadith, the prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is not defining what righteousness is, but is mentioning its essence, which is good manners
  • Dealing with others in a good way is essential to good manners
  • Ibn Rajab said, “Righteousness is adorning oneself with the manners of Shari’ah”
  • Aisha (radhiyAllahu ‘anha) said about the prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), “His manners were the Qur’an” (Reported in Muslim)
  • There are 3 dimensions to manners:
    • With Allah: By giving fulfilling His right to be worshipped
    • With humans and the environment: By being good to them and not harming them
    • With yourself: By not harming yourself physically, or mentally e.g drugs
  • Good manners are not just with actions, but are in the inner self, and being in a good state
  • Ibn Al-Qayyim said good manners are based on having four things:
    • Patience
    • Chastity
    • Courage
    • Justice
  • Bad manners are based on having:
    • Ignorance
    • Desires
    • Oppression
    • Anger
  • The end  of the hadith is only applicable to those with sound hearts, and is proof we are created on the fitrah (natural disposition), as our fitrah will help up us in knowing right from wrong
  • The last part of the hadith gives as two methods to know what a sin is:
    • What wavers in the soul
    • What you hate the people in know about you
  • We learn that from the purposes of the heart is to differentiate right from wrong, so we should constantly purify it
  • Using your heart to differentiate right from wrong is only applicable if you feel the evidence given is not sound, or no evidence is given, and if you have a pure heart


Benefits and action points

  • Being righteous is linked to having good manners so perfect your manners so that you may be from the righteous
  • Ensure you perfect your manners with regards to Allah, the people, the environment, and to yourself as mentioned above
  • Constantly purify and perfect your inner self as manners are not restricted to outward actions only
  • How to develop good manners:
    • Islamic knowledge
    • Good companionship
    • Reflecting upon the ill effects of bad manners
    • Having perfection with regards to your connection with Allah
    • Having knowledge of the rights of others, and acting upon it
    • Making du’aa to have good manners
    • Having knowledge of the manners of the prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
  • If you feel that something is not right, yet you hear others telling you it is permissible, then as long as you are not following your desires, you should avoid it

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