Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Good Manners (Adab)

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Peculiar Traditions

Good manners (adab) is a wide-ranging topic in Islam and includes behaviour such as greetings, gracious speech, not backbiting nor insulting, and lowering the gaze towards non-mahrams. It is also details on how to perform rituals such as wudu (ablution), and some bodily practices mentioned in a hadith such as circumcision and hair trimming. The hadiths in this article are a selection of examples from the six main Sunni hadith collections. Muhammad al-Bukhari, famous for his collection of sahih hadiths, also made another collection of hadiths dedicated to the topic of adab, known as Al-Adab Al-Mufrad (الأدب المفرد).


Repel evil with good

And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.

Controlling anger

Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good;


And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant.
When they entered upon him and said, "[We greet you with] peace." He answered, "[And upon you] peace, [you are] a people unknown.


So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].

Avoid gossip

And do not obey every worthless habitual swearer [And] scorner, going about with malicious gossip -

Avoid negative assumptions, spying and backbiting

O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.

Avoid insulting

And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.
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. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,

Lowering the gaze and modesty

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.

Kindness and gracious words to parents

Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not "Fie" unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.

Ablutions before prayer (wudu)

O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.


Kindness to family and parents

Narrated 'Aishah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Indeed among the believers with the most complete faith is the one who is the best in conduct, and the most kind to his family."
It is reported on the authority of 'Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah observed: The best of' the deeds or deed is the (observance of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents.

Kindness and politeness to neighbours

Narrated `Aisha: The Prophet (ﷺ) said "Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors Kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: Mujahid said that Abdullah ibn Amr slaughtered a sheep and said: Have you presented a gift from it to my neighbour, the Jew, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: Gabriel kept on commending the neighbour to me so that I thought he would make an heir?
Narrated Abu Shuraih: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!" It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)?" He said, "That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil."

Circumcision, trimming the pubic region, nails, moustache, and armpits

Abu Huraira reported: Five are the acts quite akin to the Fitra, or five are the acts of Fitra: circumcision, shaving the pubes, cutting the nails, plucking the hair under the armpits and clipping the moustache
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra: circumcision, shaving the pubic region, clipping the nails and cutting the moustaches short."

Controlling anger

Abdullah b. Mas'ud reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Whom do you count as" Raqub" amongst you? They (his Companions) said: One who has no children (the children are born unto him but they do not survive). Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: He is not a Raqub but Raqub is one who does not find his child as the forerunner (in Paradise). He then said: Whom do you count as a wrestler amongst you? We said: He who wrestles with persons. He said: No, it is not he but one who controls himself when in a fit of rage.

Gentleness and deliberation

Narrated al-Wazi' ibn Zari': Umm Aban, daughter of al-Wazi' ibn Zari', quoting his grandfather, who was a member of the deputation of AbdulQays, said: When we came to Medina, we raced to be first to dismount and kiss the hand and foot of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). But al-Mundhir al-Ashajj waited until he came to the bundle of his clothes. He put on his two garments and then he went to the Prophet (ﷺ). He said to him: You have two characteristics which Allah likes: gentleness and deliberation. He asked: Have I acquired them or has Allah has created (them) my nature? He replied: No, Allah has created (them) in your nature. He then said: Praise be to Allah Who has created in my nature two characteristics which Allah and His Apostle like.


Narrated `Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) A group of Jews entered upon the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, "As-Samu-Alaikum." (i.e. death be upon you). I understood it and said, "Wa-Alaikum As-Samu wal-la'n. (death and the curse of Allah be Upon you)." Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said "Be calm, O `Aisha! Allah loves that on, should be kind and lenient in all matters." I said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Haven't you heard what they (the Jews) have said?" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said "I have (already) said (to them) "And upon you ! "


Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives Allah adds to his respect, and the one who shows humility Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).
Jundub reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: He who wants to publicise (his deeds), Allah will publicise (his humility), and he who makes a hypocritical display (of his deeds), Allah will make a display of him.

Avoid gossip

It was narrated that Ibn 'Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah passed by two new graves, and he said: 'They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything major. One of them was heedless about preventing urine from getting on his clothes, and the other used to walk about spreading malicious gossip.'"
Malik related to me from Suhayl ibn Abi Salih from his father from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah is pleased with three things from you, and He is angry with three things from you. He is pleased that you worship Him and do not associate anything with Him, and that you take hold of the rope of Allah altogether, and that you give good counsel to the one to whom Allah gives command over you. He is angry with you for gossip, squandering property, and asking too many questions."

Avoid glancing at a non-mahram

Jarir b. 'Abdullah reported: I asked Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes.

Avoid being two-faced

Narrated Ammar: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: He who is two-faced in this world will have two tongues of fire on the Day of Resurrection.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: "Indeed among the worst of people to Allah, on the Day of Judgment, is the two faced person."

Avoid vanity

It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said:

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Whoever wears a garment of pride and vanity in this world, Allah will clothe him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then set it ablaze.’”

Eating and drinking with the right hand

Ibn 'Umar reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: When any one of you intends to eat (meal), he should eat with his right hand. and when he (intends) to drink he should drink with his right hand, for the Satan eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.

Gratitude when given a gift

Jabir narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: "Whoever is given a gift, then if he finds something let him reciprocate. If he has nothing, then let him mention some praise. For whoever has mentioned some praise, then he has expressed his gratitude. And whoever refrains (from doing so) then he has committed Kufr. And whoever pretends to be satisfied by that which he was not given, he is like the one who wears a garment of falsehood."