Among the things on which the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of the Lord be on him) has laid the greatest stress after belief – and maintained that the felicity and salvation of mankind is dependent upon them – one is that man cultivate good manners and noble qualities of mind and character, avoid evil and unseemly behaviour, and keep away from vicious habits and practices. In the Qur’an, where the objects of the raising up of the sacred Prophet, as the Apostle of God, are defined, it is, also, emphasized that it was to cleanse men and to purify them. [‘…And sanctify them.’ (2: 129)]
Moral reform and uplift occupies a place of highest importance in the aim and design of sanctification. As the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) himself he said: “I have been raised up by Allah to teach moral virtues”. It donates that moral correction and elevation was among the chief ends and purpose of the Apostleship of the Prophet Mohammad (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), and formed a fundamental part in moulding a man’s life. A person with good morals will not only lead a happy and peaceful life himself, but his existence will be a source of comfort to others as well. On the other hand, if his social conduct and moral disposition are bad, his life will be devoid of real joy, and he will, also, make the lives of his relatives and all others around him miserable.
The sayings of the Holy Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) relating to moral reform are of two kinds: one in which he has laid emphasis on moral goodness, as a principle, explained the worth and importance of good and virtuous habits, and indicated the unique reward they are going to fetch in the Hereafter, and the other that contain the advice and instruction to acquire or avoid a particular moral attribute.
(1) It is related by Abdullah b. Amr (RadiAllahu Anhu) that the Apostle of Allah (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“The best of you are those who possess the best of manners.”
– Bukhari and Muslim
(2) Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu Anhu) related to us that the Apostle of Allah (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“Muslims who possess better morals are the most perfect in faith”.
– Abu Dawood and Daarmi
(3) It is related by Abu Darda (RadiAllahu Anhu) that the Apostle of Allah (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“On the Day of Reckoning, the most weighty item in the Scales of Deeds will be good manners”.
– Abu Dawood and Tirmizi
(4) Ayesha (RadiAllahu Anha) relates that she heard the Apostle of Allah (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) say:
“A Believer with good manners and a good moral disposition gets the same reward as he who fasts (permanently) and spends his nights in prayer.”
– Abu Dawood
(5) M’uad (RadiAllahu Anhu) ralated to us, saying: ‘The best advice given to me by the Apostle of Allah, when I had put my foot in the stirrups of my mount, was that he said:
“Make your manners good for the people. (Behave well with them)”‘.
(6) Imam Maalik (Ra) reports that it had been related to him that the Apostle of Allah said:
“I have been sent down by Allah to evolve moral virtues to the highest perfection.”
(This Tradition has been mentioned by Imam Maalik, in the same form as above, in Muwatta, without giving the name of the narrator, while Imam Ahmad has related it on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu Anhu) in his Musnad).
(7) It is related by Abdullah b. Amr (RadiAllahu Anhu) that the Apostle of Allah (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“Nearest to me among you are those who have better manners”.