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General Etiquettes and their Impact on the Development of Nation

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. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

Civilized nations and developed countries always make general etiquettes a way of life, not just a secondary matters or behaviors. The general etiquettes are part and parcel of the human values and morals. This goes in line with the essence of our religion which stipulates rules that govern man’s re relationship with his Lord, and his relationship to the whole universe.

Among these etiquettes is cleanliness: Islam pays much attention to the purity of body, dress and place. The Almighty Allah says, “You who believe, when you are about to pray, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, wash your feet up to the ankles and, if required, wash your whole body. If any of you is sick or on a journey, or has just relieved himself, or had intimate contact with a woman, and can find no water, then take some clean sand and wipe your face and hands with it. Allah does not wish to place any burden on you: He only wishes to cleanse you and perfect His blessing on you, so that you may be thankful.” The Almighty Allah also says, “Purify your garments.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When one of you wakes up from his sleep, he must not put his hand in a utensil of water till he washed it three times…”He (PBUH) also said, “Avoid things which provoke cursing. They (the Companions present there) said: Messenger of Allah, what are those things which provoke cursing? He said: Easing on the thoroughfares or under the shades (where they take shelter and rest.”

Islam has linked between physical and moral cleanliness, making physical cleanliness a key to moral one. If a person keeps his body clean, this is a reason for the forgiveness of his sins. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When a Muslim, or a believer, washes his face (in the course of Wudu’), every sin which he committed with his eyes, will be washed away from his face with water; when he washes his hands, every sin which is committed by his hands will be effaced from his hands with the water; and when he washes his feet, every sin his feet committed will be washed away with the water; until he finally emerges cleansed of all his sins.” As Islam pays attention to personal cleanliness, it pays attention also to public cleanliness. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Clean your yards!” Yard here covers houses, schools, factories, forums, and public parks. It also expands to include roads, squares, etc. These places must be kept clean. Moreover, one has to participate in cleaning them.

Among these etiquettes is respecting regulations. Each society must have certain rules and regulations that control the behavior of its members, preserve one’s rights, and oblige each one to perform his duties. This will bring about the public interest that benefits the whole society. Pondering over the reality of the developed countries, one realizes that they reach this stage with their commitment to regulations and the enforcement of law. This embodies respecting the rights of others, the principle of right vs. duty, and that man treats people in the same way he loves to be treated. This is a sign on the perfection of faith. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Every one of you is a guardian and every one of you is responsible (for his wards). A ruler is a guardian and is responsible (for his subjects); a man is a guardian of his family and responsible (for them); a wife is a guardian of her husband’s house and she is responsible (for it), a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible (for that)…” Thus, by respecting laws, justice will prevail, love and fraternity will spread, and the whole society will enjoy safety and stability.

Among these etiquettes as well is caring for the common sense, as Islam came with everything that modifies behavior, promotes good feelings, and softens hearts according to general rules that people do not disagree with. Islam also respects people’s customs and norms. The Shari’ah approves every good thing that does not harm people, prohibits every malicious thing that harms them. The Almighty Allah says, “Those who follow the Messenger- the unlettered Prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel- who commands them to do right and forbids them to do wrong, who makes good things lawful to them and bad things unlawful.”

Caring for the common sense requires that one be simple in his clothes, food, drink, and to avoid extra spending. Allah says, “Children of Adam, dress well whenever you are at worship, and eat and drink [as We have permitted] but do not be extravagant: Allah does not like extravagant people.” Also, among these etiquettes is the fulfillment of covenant. The Almighty Allah says, “You who believe, fulfil your obligations!” Also, the common sense must be respected in terms of way of moving, clothing, and the general appearance. Jabir Ibn Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) forbade that a man raises one of his feet atop the other while he is reclining on his back. He (PBUH) also said, “When the lace of one of the shoes of any one of you is cut off, he should not walk with the other until he has got the lace repaired.” This means when one’s shoes are cut off and is not suitable for walking, one should not walk with one bare foot, as it is against the common sense.

Part of this is that a person must not make a voice or an action that people abhor. Abd Allah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) is reported to have said, “A man belched in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH), so he said: ‘Restrain your belching from us. For indeed those who are filled most in the world will be the hungriest on the Day of Judgment.'” The Arabic word Gusha’ refers to that sound made when one’s stomach is full. Even though this act is not totally prohibited, it is against common sense. In this connection, we lay emphasis on the prohibition of hurting people through drinking alcohols which cause the smell of their mouths and clothes bad. In addition, one should be keen on the point that all his actions and sayings must be compatible with common sense. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.”

The list of public code of ethics also includes speaking to people in a good way; Allah, Glorified is He, says: “And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.” Prophet Muhammad, on his part, said: “A good word is a Sadaqa.” This includes the use of good words that might not disturb people. It is narrated that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) once passed by people who were igniting fire whereupon he greeted them with his saying “Peace be with you people of the light” instead of “Peace be with you people of the fire.”

The list also includes respecting other’s privacy and to interfere in matters not of his concern. In this regard, Allah, Most High, says: “And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those, [one] will be questioned.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “A sign of man’s good observance of Islam (his piety) is to keep away from that which does not concern him.”

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

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All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds Whose Mercy and Guidance we seek; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.

Muslim brothers,

Modesty is one of the most important pillars of the code of ethics that contributes greatly to promoting society. It is a sublime Islamic moral that prevents man from doing anything he might be blamed for. It also keeps man from doing any ugly or bad act. Prophet Muhammad tells us that Hiya’ is one of the ethics laid down in all heavenly-revealed religions as he (PBUH) clearly states: “One of the things people have learned from the words of the earliest prophecies is, “If you don’t feel any shame, do whatever you like.”

Also, the Prophet (PBUH) passed by a man of the Ansar when he was giving his brother a warning against modesty. The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) said: “Leave him alone, for modesty is a part of faith.” Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Have Haya’ for Allah as is His due.” [He said:] We said: “O Prophet of Allah! We have modesty, and all praise is due to Allah.” He said: “Not that, but having the modesty for Allah which He is due is to protect the head and what it contains and to protect the insides and what it includes, and to remember death and the trial, and whoever intends the Hereafter, he leaves the adornments of the world. So whoever does that, then he has indeed fulfilled modesty, meaning the modesty which Allah is due.” Modesty actually keeps man away from committing mistakes, thus he who loses hiya’, there is nothing to protect him.

Gallantry is also one of the most fundamental pillars of the code of ethics as it plays a big role in advancing the society. It is a term that includes all the meanings of manhood, carrying thereby the characteristics of good qualities, good ethics, doing good to people, preventing one’s soul from sins, protecting the tongue from bad and foul speech and keeping away from all what might lead one to apology. It is once said: “”Whoever dealt with people and did not commit any injustice against them; talked to them and did not belie them; and promised them and did not break his promise is the one who has actually attained full gallantry and whose justice is manifested; whose brotherhood is mandatory and whose backbiting is totally prohibited.”

Man’s gallantry makes him of good outlook and essence, for he watches Allah, Most High, in all public and secrecy. As such, he does not appear before people in a good way and does otherwise if alone. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “I certainly know people of my nation who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains of Tihamah, but Allah will make them like scattered dust.” Thawban said: “O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become of them unknowingly.” He said: “They are your brothers and from your race, worshipping at night as you do, but they will be people who, when they are alone, transgress the sacred limits of Allah.”

As far as gallantry with people is concerned, it is realized through helping them, caring about their interests and to love for them what you love for yourself. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “A Muslim is a Muslim’s brother: he does not wrong him or abandon him. If anyone cares for his brother’s need, Allah will care for his need ; if anyone removes a Muslim’s anxiety, Allah will remove from him, on account of it, one of the anxieties of the Day of resurrection ; and if anyone conceals a Muslim’s fault, Allah will conceal his fault on the Day of resurrection” and ” The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. That I walk with a brother regarding a need is more beloved to me than that I seclude myself in this mosque in Medina for a month. Whoever swallows his anger, then Allah will conceal his faults. Whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah Almighty will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”

In truth, Islam approves a set of the most sublime code of ethics that if adhered to, nations will achieve civilization and progress since this is actually the unchangeable Way of Allah, which is why we should be keen on adhering to these ethics and applying them to attain happiness in both this world and the life to come.

O Allah! Guide us to what achieves our benefit in this world and the hereafter; guide us to what causes the benefit of our country; protect Egypt, its people, its army and its police!