Islamic Manners Islam, in its legislations, aims to produce a well-balanced individual in every way: psychologically, spiritually, and materially. Many of Islam’s injunctions are specially intended for producing peace and spiritual contentment by providing verbal remembrances for a Muslim’s every activity.
When a person’s thoughts are occupied with worldly concerns and his mind is full of worry about the future and all the problems of life, he becomes plagued with stress and mental pressure that impairs his productivity and makes him less able to deal with his problems.
For this reason, Islam pays careful attention to the psychological state of the human being and sets down for him a number of verbal remembrances. These remembrances strengthen his bond with Allah and provide for him a strong psychological and spiritual inspiration if he habitually uses them. Allah says:
Verily, in the remembrance of Allah, hearts find tranquility.
This is why Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) took care to make the remembrance of Allah an integral part of a Muslim’s behavior and good manners. When a Muslim adheres to all of the prophetic guidance, including the remembrances, he finds within himself the sweetness of obedience and spiritual contentment. He also attains great blessings from his Lord. Above all of this, he develops a strong bond with Allah Almighty.
The Etiquettes of Entering and Leaving the Home
Islam views the home as a place where people seek rest, security, and peace of mind. Therefore, it sets down a number of etiquettes to help realize all of these things.
A. Greeting those inside with salâm (peace): Salâm is the salutation of the inhabitants of Paradise. Allah says:
Their supplication therein will be: “Glory to You, O Allah” and their salutation therein will be: “Peace”.
Allah calls Paradise the abode of peace, because of the contentment and tranquility that it contains. Peace embraces within itself all goodness; otherwise it would not have been the reward of the inhabitants of Paradise. Allah says:
For them will be the abode of peace with their Lord. And He will be their protector because of what they used to do.
For this reason, a person should give the greeting of peace upon entering the home, even if no one else is inside. Allah says:
When you enter houses, greet one another with a greeting from Allah that is blessed and good.
The manner of this greeting is to say: “Al-Salâm `alaykum wa rahmah Allah wa barakâtuh” meaning “Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.”
The proper response is: “Wa `alaykum al-salâm wa rahmah Allah wa barakâtuh” meaning: “And upon you be peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.”
`Â’ishah relates: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said to me: ‘Gabriel recites peace upon you.’ So I said: ‘And upon him be peace and the mercy of Allah and his blessings.”
Al-Bukhârî relates in his book al-Adab al-Mufrid that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “If you enter upon your family, greet them with peace, a greeting from Allah that is blessed and good.”
Al-Bukhârî then comments: “I see this as directing towards the statement of Allah: “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with a better greeting or (at least) return the same.”
B. Mentioning Allah’s name: A person entering a house should mention the name of Allah, because Satan will not remain in a place where Allah’s name is mentioned. If the home is to be a place of contentment and tranquility, it has to be free from the influence of Satan whose goal is to lead the descendants of Adam astray. Allah says:
Verily, Satan is an enemy of yours, so take him as an enemy.
Allah the Exalted has informed us that the weapon to use to confront this enemy is to mention Allah Almighty. Allah says:
And if an evil whisper from Satan tries to turn you away, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “If a man enters his house and mentions the name of Allah upon entering and upon eating, Satan says: ‘You have no lodgings for me and no dinner.’ And when he enters without mentioning Allah’s name, Satan says: ‘You have lodgings for me.’ And when he fails to mention Allah’s name upon eating, Satan says: “You have lodgings for me and dinner’.”
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has taught us what to say when entering our homes: “O Allah, verily I ask you for the best entry and the best departure. In Allah’s name we enter and with Allah’s name we leave. And upon Allah we put our trust.”
When a person wishes to leave his house, he should greet its inhabitants with peace and then depart well dressed and groomed.
He should then recite the prayer of leaving the house: “In the name of Allah; I believe in Allah, rely upon Allah, and put my trust in Allah. O Allah, verily I seek refuge with you from falling astray or leading others astray, from stumbling into error or causing others to fall into error, from being oppressed or oppressing others, and from being ignorant or facing the ignorance of others.”
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever says (when leaving from his house): ‘In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah. There is no might or power except with Allah.’, then it will be said to him: ‘You are sufficed, you are protected, you have been guided, and you are saved from Satan’.”
In a version of this statement related in Sunan Abî Dâwûd we find: “And (Satan) says to another devil: ‘How can you reach a man who has been guided, sufficed, and protected?’”
Etiquettes of Eating
A. Washing the hands before and after eating: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The blessings of food are in the washing before it and the washing after it.”
Allah’s Messenger also said: “Whoever wishes to increase the good of his household should wash when food is served and when getting up from eating.”
The health benefits in this are obvious, not to mention keeping Satan away, because Satan shares with man in everything that has its blessings diminished.
B. Mentioning Allah’s name before eating and praising Allah after finishing: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Mention Allah’s name, eat with your right hand, and eat what is right in front of you.”
If a person forgets to mention Allah’s name, then recalls it after he has begun eating, he should say “In the name of Allah, the first and the last of it.” This is found in a hadîth related by `Â’ishah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) would say when he got up from the table: “Praise be to Allah, abundant praise that is good and blessed, a never-ending praise that we shall never bid farewell to or dispense with, O our Lord.”
C. Refraining from criticizing the food that is served: Abû Hurayrah relates: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) had never once criticized food. If he liked it, he ate it, and if he disliked it, he left it.”
This is because criticizing food is a manifestation of pride, frivolity, and ostentation. It also implies belittling the blessings that should be safeguarded through praise, thanksgiving to Allah, and contentment. Jâbir relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked his family for some broth (to accompany food). They told him that they had nothing but vinegar. He began to eat and said: “What a fine broth vinegar is.”
D. Eating with the right hand and from the food that is nearby: `Umar b. Abî Salamah relates: “I was a young boy in the home of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and my hand used to move all around the platter, so Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: ‘O young man, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is in front of you’.”
E. Refraining from reclining while eating: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not eat reclining.”
F. Conversing while eating: This can be derived from the previously mentioned hadîth related by Jâbir that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) asked his family for some broth (to accompany food). They told him that they had nothing but vinegar. He began to eat and said: “What a fine broth vinegar is.”
It is also an established fact that, on many occasions while eating at the table, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) conversed with his Companions.
G. Licking the fingers after eating: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you finishes eating food, he should not wipe his fingers until after he licks them.”
Jâbir relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered that the fingers should be licked and the food on the plate polished off, saying: “You do not know where the blessings in your food lie.”
H. Refraining from eating before those more senior in age have begun to eat: In Sahîh Muslim, it is related that Hudhayfah said: “When we were dining in the company of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), we would not reach out toward the food with our hands until Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) did so first.”
I. Offering a prayer for the host after eating: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) visited Sa`d b. `Ubâdah who served him bread and oil. The Prophet (peace be upon him) ate then said: “May fasting people break their fasts with you, may the pious people share your food, and may the angels pray for you.”
Etiquettes of Drinking
A. Mentioning Allah’s name, praising Allah, and taking three sips: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “None of you should drink (in one gulp) the way the camel drinks. Instead, drink in two or three sips, mention Allah’s name when you drink, and praise Allah when you have finished.”
B. Refraining from drinking directly from the waterskin: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not drink directly from the waterskin or the jug.”
The health benefits behind this are obvious. A person cannot see what is inside the waterskin. There might be something harmful inside. Likewise, if a person drinks from it, his saliva could get into the water and harm others. Moreover, this manner of drinking is simply distasteful.
C. Refraining from blowing upon the beverage: It is related by Ibn `Abbâs that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited breathing over the vessel or blowing into it.
D. Drinking and eating while seated: It is related by Anas that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited that a man should drink standing up. Qatâdah asked Anas about eating standing, and Anas replied: “That is worse.”
It is, however, authentically related that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) drank standing up. This was to demonstrate that doing so is permissible, especially when sitting down would entail undue hardship, like when drinking the Zamzam water during the Hajj pilgrimage.
E. Impermissibility of drinking from gold and silver vessels: In Sahîh Muslim, it is related that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever drinks from gold or silver vessels merely pours into his stomach the fire of Hell.”
The reason for this prohibition is that using these dishes is an injury to the dignity of the poor and destitute. It is also a sign of ostentation and pride.
F. Impermissibility of filling one’s stomach with food and drink: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The son of Âdam fills no container worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Âdam to eat what will keep him standing straight. If he must eat more, then a third (of his stomach) for food, a third for drink, and a third for air.”
The scholars have mentioned a number of ill effects, including health problems, which come from filling the stomach. Among these ill effects is that the heart of a person becomes hardened and the person becomes more prone to sin. Filling the stomach makes a person insensitive to the needs of others. It also causes feeble-mindedness.
G. The one who serves others being the last to drink: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The one who serves drink to a group of people should be the last one to drink.”
H. Drinking with the Right Hand: We have mentioned the proof for using the right hand for all clean actions, like eating and getting dressed. Drinking, in this respect, is no different than eating. Another proof is what is related that Satan eats and drinks with his left hand, and this is the reason why we are prohibited from doing so.
I. Drink should be passed to the right: It is related by Anas that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was given milk diluted with a little water. A desert Arab was sitting on his right and Abû Bakr was sitting on his left. When he had finished drinking, he passed the milk to the desert Arab and said: “(Drink should be passed) to the right, then to the next one to the right.”
This hadîth makes it clear that service – when serving drink and for all other forms of hospitality – should start with the most honored person in the gathering then move to the right. Equality among the assembled people starts to the right of the honored guest. If someone requests water, then service begins with this person and then passes to the right. It makes no difference, in any case, that the person to the left might be more esteemed than the one on the right.
It is related in another hadîth that it is permissible to request from a person to allow another to be served first, as long as there is no danger of offending the guest whose permission is sought. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) once requested from his cousin, `Abd Allah Ibn `Abbâs, to allow him to first serve a group of elders who were seated to the left of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah’s Messenger did not ask such permission from the desert Arab, because that Arab was new to Islam, and such a request might have offended him.
A. Mentioning Allah: One of the most important etiquettes to observe is to mention the name of the Lord before entering the place where one will relieve oneself, since the Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has informed us that the place where people go to the bathroom is a place of devils, saying: “Verily, these places are occupied, so if one of you enters the bathroom, he should say: ‘O Allah, verily I seek refuge with you from the male and female devils’.” In both Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim, it is related from Anas that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to make that supplication before entering the bathroom.
Ibn Hajar comments: “He (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) used to seek refuge as an act of worship. He did so out loud in order to teach others.”
This mention of Allah’s name – as we have already stated – leaves no room for the devils to gain power over man. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “A barrier is placed between the eyes of the jinn and the shameful parts of the human being when a person mentions Allah’s name before entering the bathroom.”
Imâm al-Nawawî says: “Our scholars say that it is preferable to recite this formula of remembrance whether one is inside a structure or out in the middle of the desert. Our scholars say that it is preferable to first say: ‘In the name of Allah’, then add: ‘O Allah, verily I seek refuge with you from the male and female devils’. After he leaves the bathroom, he should say: ‘I seek Your pardon’ then say: ‘Praise be to Allah who has allowed me to enjoy its good flavor, has retained within me its nourishment, and removed from me its harm’.”
B. Entering with the left foot and leaving with the right: This is based on what we have already established: that noble actions start with the right and ignoble actions start with the left.
C. Refraining from bringing into the bathroom any item with Allah’s name written on it: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to take off his ring that was embossed with “Muhammad, Messenger of Allah” before entering the bathroom.
D. Refraining from mentioning Allah’s name and speaking to others while in the bathroom: This is disliked from one who is reliving himself, whether he is in a structure or in the wilderness, except when there is a necessity.
E. Refraining from relieving oneself in places where people take shade, congregate, or frequently pass through: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Be wary of the three curses: passing excrement in places where people congregate, in the middle of the road, or in places of shade.”
In another narration it is given: “Be wary of two accursed ones.” The people asked him: “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “The one who relieves himself where people walk and the one who does so where people take shade.”
It is clear how this prophetic guidance protects the public health for humans and animals, and even for plant life.
Islam, in this way, set the groundwork for what we call environmental health today.
F. Avoiding ones own urine and coming in contact with impurities: This is important, because the primary reason for punishment in the grave is from failing to avoid becoming soiled with one’s own urine. It is related by Abû Hurayrah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not let your urine come in contact with you, because it is the primary reason for punishment in the grave.” Consequently, one should not urinate in the direction of the wind or on very hard ground where there is a chance of its spray returning back onto one’s clothing. Likewise, one must lift ones clothing out of the way to avoid it getting contaminated.
G. Refraining from using one’s right hand to clean oneself: In Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim, it is related from Abû Qatâdah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you drinks, he should not breathe into the drinking vessel, and when one of you urinates, he should not hold his penis in his right hand, nor should he clean himself with his right hand.” This is in deference to the right hand that should be used for noble and clean acts like eating and drinking. As for the left hand, it is for ignoble actions like cleaning oneself and blowing one’s nose.
H. Refraining from facing the Qiblah (direction of prayer) or turning ones back to it: In Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim, it is related from Abû Ayyûb al-Ansârî that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When you go to relieve yourselves, do not face the Qiblah nor turn your back to it, but instead face another direction.” Abû Ayyûb continued: “When we came to Syria, we found that some of the bathrooms were built in the direction of the Ka`bah, so we did our best to turn from its direction and sought Allah’s forgiveness.”
I. Washing the hands with soap and water after leaving the bathroom: Jarîr b. `Abd Allah relates that he was with the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he went to relieve himself. He then asked me: “Jarîr, bring me some water.” I did so, and he cleaned himself. He then motioned with his hand and scrubbed it with earth.” Today, soap has replaced clean earth as a scrubbing substance and cleansing agent, because the purpose all along has been cleanliness and the removal of impurities. This is aptly fulfilled by soap. Using earth should not be forgotten however, since it can be resorted to whenever soap is unavailable.
All of these etiquettes illustrate for us the extent of Islam’s excellence and how it develops and molds the believer’s character, so that its injunctions and teachings can be carried out easily and fully. People have, in Islam, a good model of behavior that is distinct from all others, because it is founded on faith and is based on man’s accountability before his Lord. This causes the believer to apply these etiquettes consistently and at all times. This is especially true for the topic at hand, because a person is alone when he relieves himself, so no one knows what he is doing except his Creator.
Etiquettes of Sleeping
A. Sleeping on one’s right side
B. Remembering Allah before going to sleep and upon waking These two etiquettes are to be found in what al-Barrâ’ b. `Azib relates: that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to lay down on his right side when he got into bed and said: “O Allah, I have submitted myself to You and turned my face towards You, and left my affairs to You, and I entrusted You with my concerns, hoping from You and fearing You. There is no salvation or refuge from You except with You. I believe in Your Book that You have sent down and in Your Prophet whom You have sent.”
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has said: “Whoever says this before sleeping, then dies during the night has died on the pure and natural way.”
He would say upon waking: “Praise be to Allah Who has given me life after causing me to die, and to Him is the final gathering.”
C. Placing one’s hand under one’s right cheek: it is related by al-Barrâ’ b. `Azib that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to sleep, he would place his hand under his right cheek and say: “O Allah, save me from Your punishment on the day that you resurrect your servants.”
D. Brushing out one’s bedding when one returns to bed after getting up: It is related by Abû Hurayrah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “If one of you goes to his bed, he should take the lower part of his garment and brush off his bed with it and mention the name of Allah, because he has no idea what might have gotten into his bed after he got up from it.”
E. Not going to sleep with greasy or dirty hands: Ibn `Abbâs relates that Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever has dirty hands and goes to sleep without washing them and something happens to him (like being bitten or stung by an animal), then he has no one to blame but himself.”
F. Putting out the fire before sleeping: Al-Zuhrî relates from Sâlim from his father that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not leave the fires in your house burning when you go to sleep.”
Abû Mûsâ relates that one night a house burned down with its occupants. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was told about it, he said: “Fire is an enemy of yours, so when you go to sleep, put it out.”
G. Closing doors before going to sleep: Jâbir relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Close the doors, tie shut your waterskins, cover your dishes, and extinguish your lamps, for verily Satan cannot open that which is closed, nor enter that which is tied, nor uncover the dishes, and verily the little mischief-maker (the rat) might knock the flame and set fire to the people in their homes.”
H. Refraining from sleeping on one’s stomach: It is related that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “This is a way of lying down that Allah despises.”
I. Sleeping in a state of purity: Al-Barrâ’ b. `Azib relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said to him: “When you go to your bed, perform your ablutions like you would for prayer, then lay down on your right side, then say: ‘O Allah, I have submitted myself to You…’ and make it the last thing you say.”
A person in a state of major ritual impurity should take a full bath before sleeping; otherwise, he should at least make ablutions.
Etiquettes of Dressing, Beautification, and Appearance
Islam is the religion of beauty and cleanliness. Therefore, it is permissible for a Muslim to present a pleasant and agreeable image with respect to clothing, residence, and outward appearance. This is the reason why Allah has created different adornments and everything else from which clothing and household furnishings are made. Allah says:
– O Children of Adam, We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves and as an adornment.
– O Children of Adam, wear your beautiful adornment when you go to the mosque.
We may summarize the etiquettes that Allah has set down regarding clothing, beautification, and appearance in the following way:
1. Moderation in dress: Allah says:
Those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor stingy, but maintain a medium way.
It is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Eat, drink, wear clothing, and give in charity, without being extravagant or stingy.”
2. Paying attention to cleanliness: Cleanliness is the basis for maintaining a good appearance and the foundation for all forms of beatification. It is related in the book of Ibn Hibbân that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Keep yourselves clean, for verily Islam is clean.”
It is related in the work of al-Tabarânî that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Cleanliness calls to faith, and faith accompanies the one who possesses it to Paradise.”
In Sunan Abî Dâwûd and other sources, it is related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) counseled some of his Companions while they were returning from a journey to take care of their appearances and state of cleanliness, saying: “You are coming to your brothers, so put your saddles and your clothing right, so you will be a pleasant sight for the people, for verily Allah does not like filth and filthiness.”
3. Encouraging cleanliness and beautification in certain places: Among the places where these things are desired are places of public assembly, the Friday congregational prayers, and the two ‘Eid prayers. It is related in Sunan al-Nasâ’î that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) wearing a poor-quality garment. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) asked him: “Do you have any wealth?” he replied: “Allah has given me all kinds of wealth.” So Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah has given you wealth, let us see on you the effects of Allah’s blessings and generosity.”
Ii is related in Sunan Abî Dâwûd and other sources that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “What is it to a person, if he has the means, to reserve two garments for Friday other than his work clothes?”
This shows that it is permissible to set aside certain articles of clothing for going out to prayer and other clothing for work. This maintains the cleanliness of the clothing worn to the mosque, since working has its effect on a persons clothing. This also implies the permissibility of setting aside certain clothing for visiting others, for special occasions, and for public assemblies.
4. Maintaining ones hair, beard, and head: Imâm Mâlik relates in al-Muwatta’ that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with a disheveled head of hair and a disheveled beard.
Allah’ messenger (peace be upon him) made a motion to him indicating that he should tidy up his hair. He did so and returned. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “Isn’t this better than one of you coming with disheveled hair like a devil?” This shows that a person should take care of his hair, combing it and applying scent to it if possible.
5. Starting with the right side when putting on clothing: Allah says:
Then as for him who is given his record in his right hand, he will say: “Here, read my record.”
`A’ishah said: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to like to start with his right side in all of his activities, in cleansing, caring for his hair, and putting on his shoes.”
Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you puts on his shoes, he should start with his right foot, and when he takes them off, he should start with his left, so that the right foot will be the first to be placed in the shoes and the last to be removed from them.”
6. Mentioning Allah’s name: Just like mentioning Allah’s name provides blessings before eating, likewise it does so for getting dressed. Otherwise, Satan shares with man in everything that he does without mentioning Allah’s name before it. We have already mentioned the hadîth of Jâbir where Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “If a man enters his house and mentions the name of Allah upon entering and upon eating, then Satan says: ‘You have no lodgings for me and no dinner.’ And when he enters without mentioning Allah’s name, Satan says: ‘You have lodgings for me.’ And when he fails to mention Allah’s name upon eating, Satan says: “You have lodgings for me and dinner’.”
When a person puts on a new garment, he should behave in the manner of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), whenever he put on an article of clothing for the first time would mention what it was – like a turban, a shirt, or a waistcloth – and then say: “O Allah, praise is for You. You have clothed me with this. I ask you for the good in it and the good that it was made for, and I seek refuge with you from the evil in it and the evil that it was made for.”
7. Avoiding using prohibited things for clothing and adornment: Islam has prescribed for the Muslim that he should make himself presentable to others. Allah has graciously created for him everything that he can enjoy, wear, and adorn himself with. Allah says:
O Children of Adam, We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves and as an adornment.
Islam, moreover, demands this of a person. Allah says:
O Children of Adam, wear your beautiful adornment when you go to the mosque.
Islam condemns the one who prohibits the adornment that Allah has made permissible. Allah says:
Say (O Muhammad): ‘Who has forbidden the adornment that Allah has provided for His servants and the good things of sustenance?
At the same time, Islam, with great wisdom, has prohibited certain types of clothing and adornment. Among these prohibited things are the following:
A. Gold and silk for men: `Alî (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) took silk in his right hand and gold in his left hand and said: ‘Verily, these two things are forbidden to the men folk among my followers’.” In some narrations, it mentions that he added: “…but permissible for the women.”
In Sahîh al-Bukhârî, it is related that Hudhayfah said: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited us from drinking and eating from silver vessels, from wearing silk, and from sitting upon it.” The reason for prohibiting men from wearing gold and silk is to keep men from effeminate manners that compromise their dignity. It also combats the tendency for decadent, opulent living, and represses vanity and arrogance. It preserves the Muslims’ strength and prevents them from resembling the disbelievers.
As for women, they are exempted from this prohibition, in deference to their femininity and their natural love for adornment, and so they can be more desirable to their husbands by appearing beautiful.
B. Men wearing women’s clothing and women wearing men’s clothing: Ibn `Abbâs relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed effeminate men and women who acted like men. In another narration, it states that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed men who resemble women and women who resemble men.
The scholars state that the curse mentioned in the hadîth indicates that this behavior is a major sin. The wisdom behind this prohibition is that these people have deviated from their natural dispositions that the wisest of the wise, the Lord of All the Worlds, has placed within them.
Abû Hurayrah said that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed the man who wears women’s clothing and the woman who wears men’s clothing.
C. Ostentatious and showy clothing: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever wears ostentatious clothing will be dressed by Allah in humiliating clothing on the Day of Judgment.” What is prohibited here is for a person to wear peculiar or excessively fancy and expensive clothing in order to draw the attention of others or to put himself above them. This conduct is disliked by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah says:
Verily, Allah dislikes every boastful braggart.
It is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever drags his garment pridefully, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Judgment.”
Mu`âdh b. Anas relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever leaves off certain clothing out of humility for Allah in spite of being able to wear it, Allah will call him out from among the people on the Day of Judgment and offer him the choice of whichever adornments of faith he wishes to wear.”
4. Altering Allah’s creation: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah curses the one who administers a tattoo and the one who receives it, and the one who makes gaps between and shortens another’s teeth and the one who has it done to them.” Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited these practices and cursed those who engaged in them, because they are ways of altering what Allah had created and demonstrate a person’s failure to accept what Allah has created and decided. The Qur’ân states that Satan inspires these alterations to lead his followers astray. Allah says:
And he (Satan) commands them, then they alter Allah’s creation.
Exempted from this prohibition is the removal of what causes physical or psychological pain for a person. An example of this would be the removal of abnormal growths.
Etiquettes of the Road
A roadway is a public thoroughfare. Everyone has the right to use it without being abused or hindered by others. Furthermore, if someone needs aid or assistance, he should receive it from his brethren without them expecting for their assistance any compensation. For this reason, Islam has set down certain etiquettes that those using the road should observe. They are as follows:
1. Modesty in one’s manner of walking: This means that a person should walk in a relaxed manner. Allah says:
– The servants of the Beneficent are those who walk on the Earth in humility and composure, and when ignorant people address them, they reply with words of peace.
– And walk not on Earth with conceit and arrogance. Verily, you will neither rend open the Earth nor reach the mountains in stature.
2. Lowering one’s gaze from forbidden things: A man, for instance, should not look at women who are not members of his family. Allah says:
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts (from engaging in unlawful sexual activities)… and tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts (from unlawful sexual activities).
Looking at others in such a way infringes upon their dignity and helps to instigate acts of fornication and adultery.
3. Greeting others with peace: This applies to those who one knows as well as those who one does not know. It is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim from `Abd Allah b. `Amr b. al-`As that a man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): “What manifestation of Islam is best?” Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) replied: “To feed the poor and to greet with peace both those you know and those that you do not know.”
4. Maintaining the cleanliness of the road: Garbage should not be thrown in the road, especially when it can cause harm or injury to others or cause accidents. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “There should be no harm nor causing of harm.” Quite the contrary, a Muslim is expected to remove anything harmful that he might find in the road, whether it be a rock, a thorn, or anything else. It is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “There are over seventy branches of faith, the greatest of which is saying ‘There is no god but Allah’ and the least of which is removing an obstacle from the road.”
5. Avoiding danger: A person should apply caution when using the road and avoid doing anything that might harm another person, an animal, or a vehicle. This can be taken from the general meaning of the following verse:
And do not throw your own selves into destruction.
A Muslim must repel dangers from others as well. He must warn them about hazards and stop them from doing dangerous acts if he can. This is part of his duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Do not sit on the roadways.” The people said: “O Messenger of Allah, we have no option but to be on the roads and speak to each other therein.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “If you must assemble on the roads, then give the road its rights.” They asked: “What are the rights of the road?” He said: “Lowering one’s gaze, preventing injury, returning the greeting of peace, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong.”
Etiquettes of the Mosque
Mosques are the houses of Allah. Therefore, we are commanded to treat them with respect. Allah says:
In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them his name is remembered.
For this reason, Allah has prescribed certain etiquettes that should be adhered to when going to the mosque:
1. Being clean and well-groomed and wearing scent: Allah says:
O Children of Adam, wear your beautiful adornment when you go to the mosque.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is good and loves goodness. He is pure and love cleanliness. He is most kind and loves kindness. He is generous and loves generosity. So clean your courtyards.”
Eating garlic, onions, and anything else with a bad smell that could offend fellow worshippers should be avoided.
A woman should not put on perfume if she wishes to go to the mosque. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “If one of the women should go to the mosque, she should not touch perfume.” This is to avoid exciting sexual desire.
2. Reciting the supplication for going to the mosque: It is as follows: “O Allah, illuminate my heart, illuminate my tongue, illuminate my hearing, illuminate my sight, illuminate what is behind me and what is before me, illuminate what is above me and what is below me. O Allah, grant me illumination.”
3. Entering the mosque with the right foot while reciting the Prophet’s supplication (peace be upon him) for entering the mosque: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you enters the mosque, he should offer salutations upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) then he should say: ‘O Allah, open to me the doors of your mercy.’ Upon leaving the mosque, he should say: ‘O Allah, I ask of you your grace’.”
4. Entering the mosque quietly and with composure: Abû Qatâdah said: “Once while we were praying with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), we heard the noise of men. After he finished praying, he said: ‘What is the matter with you?’ They replied: ‘We were hurrying to prayer.’ He said: ‘Do not do this. When you come to prayer, do so with proper composure. Perform whatever part of the prayer you catch, and complete whatever you miss’.”
A Muslim must keep his composure as long as he is in the mosque. He should not speak loudly or make a lot of noise. This is out of respect to the house of Allah. He should also keep quiet in order not to disturb the people who are engaged in worship, like those who are praying and reading the Qur’ân.
5. Praying two units of prayer as a salutation to the mosque: Abu Qatâdah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you goes to the mosque, he should perform two units of prayer before sitting down.”
6. Leaving the mosque on the left foot while reciting the Prophet’s supplication (peace be upon him) for leaving the mosque: The preferred supplication is as follows: “O Allah, bestow your forgiveness, peace, and blessings upon our master Muhammad. My Lord, forgive me my sins and open for me the doors of your grace.”
7. Remembering, praising, and glorifying Allah often: It is preferable for one to remember Allah often while in the mosque. It is also good to recite the Qur’ân. Likewise, it is commendable to study the hadîth of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and the other Islamic sciences. Allah says:
In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised, His name is remembered. Therein glorify Him in the morning and the evening men whom neither trade nor business diverts them from the remembrance of Allah.
8. Keeping the mosque clean: This is another way of showing proper respect to the mosque. Allah says:
…and whoever honors the sacred things of Allah, then this is better for him with his Lord.
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said to a desert dweller who urinated in the corner of the mosque courtyard: “These mosques are not places for urinating and leaving filth. They are but for the remembrance of Allah, prayer, and reading Qur’ân.”
9. Refraining from commerce and looking for lost items in the mosque: In Sahîh Muslim, it is related from Abû Hurayrah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever hears a man asking in the mosque about something that he lost, say to him: ‘May Allah not return it to you’ because mosques were not built for this purpose.”
10. Refraining from reciting secular poetry in the mosque: What is meant here is poetry that neither includes praise for Islam nor calls to moral virtues. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever you see reciting poetry in the mosque, say to him three times: ‘May Allah beset your mouth with affliction.”