The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam described his role in your life: I have been sent to perfect the best of manners. [Al-Bukhaaree, Ahmad] This shows you that learning how to deal with people should be on the top of your list. As a Muslim, you have to be very alert about how you deal with people in your circle. Luqman once said to his son, O my son: Let your speech be good and your face be smiling; you will be more loved by the people than those who give them provisions. [Ibn Katheer] Do you use the Quran and the Sunnah as your guide in how you interact with your friends and family, or do you often just let your own desires rule?
Here is a selection of easily overlooked, yet crucial do’s and don’ts in your relationship with others. With each one, ask Allah ‘azza wa jall to help you act upon it so the knowledge will count for you and not against you on the day of Judgement!
1. Don’t Show Pride And Arrogance.
It’s easy to get carried away by whatever you “possess,” from your money to your children to your clothes and your looks. Did you ever catch yourself looking down on others, like that girl who is less beautiful than you, or that man who didn’t get the promotion when you did? Shaytan knows the weaknesses of your ego. And Allah who deeply cares for you, warned you beautifully with this don’t: And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. [Quran, 31:18]
Tip: Avoid pride and arrogance by thanking Allah ‘azza wa jall straight away when something good comes your way. All good is from Him and doesn’t mean you are better than someone else.
2. Don’t Mock Others.
O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. [Quran, 49:11] How often did you make yourself feel better by looking for someone else’s weaknesses? Reflect on this: your knowledge is only based on your perception.
Tip: When you feel like mocking someone, ask yourself: Do I know that person’s real worth? And tell yourself: This person might be much higher in rank in the sight of Allah ‘azza wa jall than I am!
3. Don’t Use Undesirable Titles.
Did you ever sarcastically say to your spouse: Oh, yes, I forgot you are a big shaykh! Even though it might not be an insulting title, your spouse might not like this way of addressing him or her. Allah ‘azza wa jall warns us: And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. [Quran, 49:11]
Tip: Especially be careful with doing this with your spouse and children as it’s even easier to slip up at home in an argument.
1. Give Benefit Of Doubt.
Safiyah bint Huyai radiyallahu ‘anha said: I came to visit the Prophet while he was in the state of Itikaf. After having talked to him, I got up to return. The Prophet also got up with me and accompanied me a part of the way. At that moment two Ansari men passed by. When they saw him they quickened their pace. The Prophet said to them, ‘Do not hurry. She is Safiyah, daughter of Huyai, my wife.’ They said: ‘SubhanAllah O Messenger of Allah! (You are far away from any suspicion). The Messenger of Allah replied, Satan circulates in a person like blood. I apprehended lest Satan should drop some evil thought in your minds. [Al-Bukharee]
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stopped the two companions in order to prevent evil suspicions. If there’s a chance that your actions might make someone question your righteousness, it is advised to clarify the situation if you can. However, you should never jump to evil conclusions regarding others. In daily life we often forget this important way of the sunnah. You might see a family member “secretly” on the phone and you assume the worst, or you see your child neglecting their Quran reading for a day you assume they are completely astray!
Tip: give others the benefit of the doubt. Make excuses for someone else and attribute positive motives to other people’s actions!
2. Express Gratitude To Others.
How often do you take your loved ones for granted? Being thankful to others is characteristic of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the sahaaba! So next time instead of taking dinner for granted, say jazaakillahu khayr to your wife or barakAllaahu feek to your husband for getting shopping. When your child makes a drawing for you, make a big deal out of it!
Tip: Be grateful to others andmake dua for them, but be careful with flattering! Abu Bakr reported that a man was mentioned in the presence of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and another praised the man. The Prophet said, ‘Woe to you, for you have broken your friend’s neck!’ The Prophet repeated this several times and then said, ‘If any of you simply must praise another, let him/her say, “I think the person is this way or that . . .” if you genuinely think the person to be that way. The Final Reckoner is Allah, and no one can tell Allah anything about anyone.’
Adi ibn Artah said, If ever one of the Companions of the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, was praised, he would say, ‘O Allah, do not take me to task for what they say and forgive me for what they do not know about.’
3. Be Kind – Even When It’s Easy Not To.
Narrated Anas: I served the Prophet for ten years, and he never said to me,’Uff’ (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, ‘Why did you do so, or why didn’t you do so?’ [Al-Bukhaaree]
This is a major reminder for all of us. How many times a day do we yell at our children, siblings, spouse, or even employees when they do something wrong, saying ‘why did you do that?’ Truly, take this beautiful narration to heart, print it off and hang it on the wall in your house in shaa Allah to remind yourself again and again to control yourself and strive to be kind.
O Allah, Lord of the Worlds, help us to gain Your pleasure in dealing with others and forgive us for each mistake we made and each time we hurt someone’s feelings – knowingly or unknowingly- ameen!