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Etiquettes, Society Public Rights and their Impact on the Development of the Society and Constructing its Civilization

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Say, ‘My Lord has guided me to a straight path, an upright religion, the faith of Abraham, a man of pure faith. He was not a polytheist.’” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger; who said, “My Lord has taught me good manners and He has taught me in the best way.” May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

Islam has come with an integrated approach that regulates man’s relationship with his Lord, other people, and the whole universe. The Islamic Shari’ah is rich with many etiquettes and good manners that contribute to the progress and prosperity of the society. From these manners is: The etiquettes of seeking permission to enter a place. Islam has ordered us to seek a permission making this etiquette a means to protect people’s privacy, as  the Almighty Allah says, “Believers, do not enter other people’s houses until you have asked permission to do so and greeted those inside- that is best for you: perhaps you will bear this in mind.” The Prophet (PBUH) taught us the etiquettes of seeking permission, including starting with salutation and then mentioning your name. Once, a man asked the Prophet’s permission (to enter the house). When he was in the house, he said:  May I enter? The Prophet (PBUH) said to his servant: Go out to this (man) and teach him how to ask permission to enter the house, and say to him:  “Say:  Peace be upon you. May I enter?” The man heard it and said:  Peace be upon you! May I enter? The Prophet (PBUH) permitted him and he entered. Also, Jabir narrated that, “Once, I sought permission to enter upon the Prophet (PBUH), so he said: ‘Who is this?’ I said:  ‘Me.’ The Prophet replied, “Me, me!’It seemed that he disliked that.”

Also, from the ettiquetes of seeking permission is to lower one’s gaze and not to look inside the house. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Seeking permission to enter (somebody’s house) has been prescribed in order to restrain the eyes (from looking at something we are not supposed to look at).” Also, Sa’d Ibn Ubadah narrated that once he sought permission to enter a house while he was standing in front of the door, so the Prophet (PBUH) said to him “when you seek permission to enter a house, do not stand in front of the door.” It is reported that whenever the Prophet wanted to seek a permission to enter a house, he would not stand in front of the door. Rather, he would stand to the right of the left side.

Another moral that Islam urged us to have is: the etiquettes of streets and public places: Islam stated that there are etiquettes that must be followed in streets. The Prophet (PBuh) said, “Avoid sitting by the road side.” The people then said, “O Allah’s Messenger, we cannot do without those meeting places in which we converse.” So he (PBUH) said, “If you have to sit at all, then fulfil the road its due rights.” They asked, ‘What are the road’s due rights?’  He replied, “Keeping the eye downward (so that you may not stare at the women), refraining from doing harm to the other and exchanging mutual greetings, and commanding the good and forbidding the evil.”Also, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Faith has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches – the uppermost of which is the declaration that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah; and the least of which is the removal of harmful objects from the road, and modesty is a branch of faith.”

Thus, one who uses the road or public facilities, should not speak loudly, annoy others, laugh openly or throw rubbish in streets. Rather, he has to put rubbish in the specified places. Also, he should not busy the roads or harm the bystanders, either through verbal or actual harassment.

Also, from the good manners is cleanliness. Islam made cleanliness and purification of the body, clothes and places an integral part of its rulings, for being intrinsic human nature and civilizational values. This is why Islam urged people to adopt a number of good manners that keeps one’s appearance good and pleasing. Allah praised those to keep themselves clean saying, “God loves those who turn to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean.” Also, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Indeed Allah is good and he loves what is good; and He is clean and He loves cleanliness…” He (PBUH) also said, “Purity is half of faith…’  Once, He (PBUH) saw a dishevelled man whose hair was untidy. He said: Could this man not find something to tidy his hair? He saw another man wearing dirty clothes and said: Could this man not find something to wash his garments with.”

The Prophet (PBUH) also urged people to clean their teeth in order to keep a good smell of their mouths and not to harm others. He(PBUH) said, “Had I not thought it difficult for my followers, I would have commanded them to use the siwak (tooth-stick) before every Prayer.”

These manners also include the etiquettes of dialogue. Dialogue is one of the means of developing acquaintance with others and correcting concepts. Islam has opened the door to dialogue among all peopl as a way to reach the truth without and any restriction or coercion. However, such dialogue should be away from taunting others, mocking them, or despising them. The Almighty Allah said, “And argue with them in the best manner.” and said, “[Prophet], tell My servants to say what is best.”Also, the Prophet said, “A true believer does not taunt or curse or abuse or talk indecently.” Thus, dialogue should be based on objective and authentic foundations that take the current circumstances into consideration.

These manners also include: to ascertain the authenticity of any news. Allah said, “Believers, if a troublemaker brings you news, check it first, in case you wrong others unwittingly and later regret what you have done.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Deliberation comes from Allah and Haste comes from Satan.” In another Hadith he (PBUH) said, “Deliberation should be in everything except in the actions of the next world.” He also said, “It is an enough sin for a man to relate everything he hears.”  This includes to avoid narrating rumors or speaking about them, as this leads to promoting them.Allah said, “That you took it up with your tongues, and say with your mouths things you did not know [to be true], thinking it was trivial, but to God, it was very serious.” and The Prophet said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent.”

Also, Lowering the Voice is one of the general etiquettes laid down by Islam. It means that man should not raise his voice beyond what is usual, especially in the presence of those who are of a higher position. The Quran records Luqman’s pieces of advice to his son, “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” Allah, the Almighty, also praises those who lower their voices, especially in the Prophet’s presence. He, the Almighty, says: “Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah – they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward.”

Guiding the Lost is also one of these etiquettes; it means guiding him to the right direction through description or sending someone to guide him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Beware of sitting on roads (ways).” The people said: “We have but them as sitting places.” Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “If you have to sit there, then observe the rights of the way”. They asked, “What are the rights of the way?” He (PBUH) said, “To lower your gaze (on seeing what is illegal to look at), and (removal of harmful objects), returning greetings, enjoining good, forbidding wrong and guiding the lost.”

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that our Master Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows his guidance to the Day of Judgment.

Muslim brothers:

There are other etiquettes and manners that Muslims should adhere to, including helping the needy which is considered as one of the most important and sublime acts in Islam. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you.” The Companions replied, “How can we bring forth all of these (numbers of) charity, O Messenger of Allah?” He (PBUH) said: “The doors to good are many, including glorification of Allah, praising Him, saying “Allah is Great”, saying “there is no god deserved to be worshipped but Allah”, enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, conveying the message to deaf, guiding the blind, (helping people to) meet their needs, exert your utmost with those in dire need, and give aid to the weak as far as you can; all of these are acts of charity for yourself.” (Sahih Ibn Hibban)

The list of these etiquettes and manners also include giving hand to the weak and those of special needs. It goes without saying that social integration achieves the interest of the rich more than that of the poor, as it established balance in life. This is supported by Imam ‘Ali’s (may Allah be pleased with him) statement, “Allah, the Almighty, assigned particular portions in the rich’s properties as the provision of the poor; so if the poor get hungry, this will be the result of the rich’s misery, and Allah will for sure hold them accountable for that.” In truth, this care means a lot since it is viewed as a due right for the poor on the society. Allah, the Almighty, is near to those people with broken hearts and shows mercy to those who are merciful to His slaves, which is why a Muslim should not belittle any good deed even if it is a good word. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Do not consider any act of goodness as being insignificant even if it is meeting your brother with a cheerful face” and “You gain no victory or livelihood except through (the blessings and invocations of) the poor amongst you”; for Allah helps the one who helps his brother.

The list further includes showing respect to the elder; a point which is realized through dignifying him and not to humiliate him, for his old age and precedence to Islam should be taken into account. The elder should, on the other hand, be merciful and compassionate to the young. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If a Muslim respects an old man, Allah will provide him with someone who shows respect to him when he gets old.” This actually shows how Islam is merciful, tolerant and just, to the extent that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated clearly that showing respect to the elder, memorizers of the Qur’an and fair rulers are different forms of glorifying Allah, the Almighty, “Glorifying Allah involves showing honor to a grey-haired Muslim and to one who can expound the Qur’an, but not to one who acts extravagantly regarding it, or turns away from it, and showing honor to a just ruler.” He (PBUH) also said: “He is not one of us who does not have mercy upon our young, respect our elders, and command good and forbid evil”.

The correct understanding of the tolerance of Islam indicates that showing respect is not confined only to Muslims of old age, for it has been narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has given charity to a Jewish family. Also, ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz is reported to have written to his governor in Basra saying, “search for the old, weak and poor from among the people with whom we have covenants, and give them out from the Muslim House of Treasury what meets their needs.”

Society’s members shall take care of its general interests; this is one of the society’s due rights upon its members. If we take the issue of overpopulation as an example, we have to highlight two points: first: some people consider their financial ability only, not paying any attention to the material and educational ones, as well as all kinds of care. It is not also the individual ability of the member that shall be considered; rather it goes far beyond that to capabilities of countries that shoulder the responsibility of providing the services that cannot be provided by the individuals of the society, which means that the condition and capability of the State is one of the most important factors that should be taken into account as far as population is concerned. It is true that he deserves not to live that person who wants to live for the sake of himself alone. So, uncontrolled overpopulation exerts bad impact not only on the individuals or the family but also on those countries that do not consider the findings of science in addressing the problem of overpopulation.

Second: few but strong people are better than the many but weak people referred to by the Prophet (PBUH) as “the scum”. That is because the uncontrolled population may result in extraordinary conditions that in turn hinder some countries from providing the basics of health, education and infrastructure; it also leads us to look like the scum. In fact, a man with sound intellect realizes that the most essential point is relating to the how-know. At that point, we can clearly state that the few but strong people are one thousand times better than the many but weak ones.

That is because in case large numbers of people do not cause but weakness, ignorance, backwardness and which are but heavy burden on the state, it is but as d

The Concept of Pledge of Protection in the Modern Time

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Honor your pledges: you will be questioned about your pledges.” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that our Master Prophet Muhammad is His votary and Messenger; who said, “The best of Allah’s servants are those who fulfill their covenants.” May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

Islam is the religion of security, peace, righteousness, kindness and goodness. The fulfillment of one’s covenants is undoubtedly a moral and sublime human value, as it builds trust and brings about safety and security among peoples of the world. With this value, the bonds of cooperation, fraternity, development and progress will increase among individuals of the society. This is why the fulfillment of one’s covenants is part of one’s faith and a sign of honesty and benevolence. It is a manner cherished by Allah, a Prophetic trait and an Islamic value.

 Islam has ordered its followers to adhere to the fulfillment of covenants, promises and agreements and it has strongly affirmed this. The Almighty Allah said, “Honor your pledges: you will be questioned about your pledges.” He (Glory be to Him) also said,” Fulfil any pledge you make in God’s Name and do not break oaths after you have sworn them, for you have made God your surety: God knows everything you do.” This means: commit yourselves to fulfill every covenant you have made, whether it is between you and the Almighty Allah, or between you and people, and do not break your oaths once you have sworn them, as you have made God a witness over you. He who makes a pledge, must honor it, and he who makes a promise must fulfill it.

The Almighty Allah has told us that those who fulfill their pledges are beloved to Him and are the truthful and righteous people. Allah, the Exalted, said, “Indeed! God loves those who keep their pledges,” and said, “those who keep pledges whenever they make them; those who are steadfast in misfortune, adversity, and times of danger; these are the ones who are true, and it is they who are aware of God.” Allah, the Exalted, showed that those people are the people of great reward and the people of Paradise, as He said, “Allah will give a great reward to the one who fulfils his pledge to Him.” In another verse, the Almighty Allah showed this great reward saying, “Those who are faithful to their trusts and their pledges; who give honest testimony; and are steadfast in their prayer; they will live in gardens with honor.”

The Prophet (PBUH) has placed a high value on the fulfillment of one’s pledges, and warned against breaking them as the betrayal of one’s pledges causes corruption in societies and leads to the loss of trust among people as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite:  When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.” He (PBUH) also said, “Muslims have to stick to the conditions they make, except the conditions that make the lawful unlawful, or the unlawful lawful.” Also, the Prophet (PBUH) warned against betrayal saying, “When Allah will gather together, on the Day of Judgment, all the earlier and later generations of mankind, a flag will be raised (to mark off) every person guilty of betrayal, and it will be announced that this is the perfidy of so and so, son of so and so”. Ibn Kathir commented: the wisdom of this is that the sin of betrayal is invisible, and people do not see it. So on the day of Resurrection it will become announced so that people will know what those people did and the Almighty Allah will disgrace them before all creatures.

Among the pledges which the Islamic Shari’ah has commanded us to respect and fulfill is the pledge of protection. In the modern terms it means: the permit, visa or entry permission issued by one country to the citizens of another country to enter its lands, either as tourists, visitors or residents according to the international conventions, conventions and agreements in dealing with diplomats or those of the same capacity or according to bilateral agreements between the two states. This happens by any legal means accepted by the host State in accordance with its laws.  Once such a person obtains the residence permit or the visa, he/she is considered protected within this state, and this agreement given to him becomes binding to all of its citizens and residents. It shall not be revoked, circumvented, or derogated from, both in terms of the Sahri’ah and the law. Any person from the public who finds any breach that affects the security of his nation, he must refer the matter to the authorized person, so that the bodies of the State can handle the matter in the light of the regulations. Ordinary persons have no right to handle the matter themselves least this would cause chaos and indiscipline.

It goes without saying that the fulfilment of one’s pledges comes at the top of the obligations imposed by the Sahri’ah, law, patriotism and humanness. As our religion has stressed the importance of the pledge of protection, making the pledge given by one Muslim as given by all Muslims, so what is the case when this pledge is regulated by both religions and law as one reinforces the other? No doubt that this reinforcement obligates the necessity to fulfill pledges and promises, not to violate them or even compromise them.

Islam is the religion of preserving the covenants and agreements, a religion that does not admit cheating, deception, or betrayal. It has never been proven that the Prophet (PBUH) -since the beginning of his call- or his Companions have deprived anyone from safety, or have broken any promise of protection they had granted to anybody. In this regard, Allah, Most High, addressed his Prophet (PBUH) saying: “And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, then throw back to them on terms of equality; surely Allah does not love the treacherous.” Also, there was a covenant between Mu’awiyah and the Byzantines, and he was going towards their country, to suddenly attack them upon the end of the covenant. A man came on a horse, or a packhorse saying, “Allah is Great! Allah is Great! Let there be faithfulness and not treachery.” When they looked, they found that he was ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah. Mu’awiyah sent for him and questioned him (about that). He said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: ‘When one has covenant with people, he must not strengthen or loosen it till its term comes to an end or he brings it to an end in agreement with them (to make both the parties equal).’ So Mu’awiyah returned.” Not only that, but the greatness of Islam is also crystal clear in its highest ranks in Allah’s Order to His Prophet (PBUH) to protect and provide shelter to whoever seeks protection from him, even if he is a polytheist or a warrior. Allah says: “And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know.”

The Prophet (PBUH) has actually instilled these noble values that achieve security and safety for the entire humanity, both in saying and action. He (PBUH) is reported to have said: “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling),” and “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one from whom the people’s lives and wealth are safe.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) offered the greatest example ever in fulfilling covenants, even with his enemies. Telling about the Battle of Badr, Hudhayfat Ibn Al-Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Nothing prevented me from being present at! The Battle of Badr except this incident. I came out with my father (to participate in the Battle), but we were caught by the disbelievers of Quraish. They said: (Do) you intend to go to Muhammad? We said: We do not intend to go to him, but we wish to go (back) to Medina. So they took from us a covenant in the name of God that we would turn back to Medina and would not fight on the side of Muhammad (PBUH). So, we came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and related the incident to him. He said: Both, of you proceed (to Medina); we will fulfill the covenant made with them and seek God’s help against them.”

As such, we affirm that it is our duty to keep the covenants and pledges our country abides by towards anyone coming to it, and to be cooperative in protecting his blood, honor, property and privacy. It is also our duty to offer him hospitality to convey to him the beloved image we want to transmit about the greatness of our religion, the depth of our civilization and the advancement of our humanity in a way that contributes to forming the image we want about our religion, country and society, which is actually the case of the developed and civilized nations and peoples.

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. I bear witness that there is no god deserving to be worshipped but Allah; I bear witness that our master Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows them to the Day of Judgment;

Muslim brothers:

Islam is the religion of justice, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. A Muslim is always- whenever and wherever he goes, an embodiment of security and peace. Also, when he travels to another country, be it a Muslim country or not, the visa granted to him by this country looks like a pledge of safety whereby he feels secure and safe and, on the other hand, is considered a pledge of safety from him to the people of that country by which they feel secure and safe on their selves and properties. Accordingly, he had to abide by the laws of this country and to fulfill his duties honestly and faithfully. He is not allowed thus to unlawfully take anything from their properties, to commit aggression against their honors or to betray them in any way, so that he would serve as the best ambassador for his religion, country and civilization. So, once he entered this country, he has to adhere to (their laws) and make covenant with Allah, Most High, to be faithful, lest he would be from those to whom the Saying of Allah, “And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder that which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode.” In his Al-Umm, Imam Al-Shafe’i (may Allah have mercy upon him) says: “When the man enters a non-Muslim country in terms of a pledge of safety given to him, he is not allowed to take anything from their properties- be it little or much- even if this country was at war with Muslims. That is because as they offered him safety, he in turn shall offer them safety, and because nothing is lawful to him at times of safety except that which is lawful to him from the properties of Muslims.”

Impressive are the following lines of poetry:

Keeping covenants is of the nobles’ traits … And breaking them is of the means’

For me, there are no good characteristics … But to keep cordiality and covenants

O Allah! Guide us to the best of manners and make us avoid the worst of them, for you only are capable of this.