Strong and true belief in Almighty Allah is not only a force that restrains Muslims from the evil of both words and actions, but it also motivates every noble deed. That is why when the Qur’an directs Muslims to do what is good or avoid what is evil, it reminds them of their belief:
Almighty Allah says:
(O you who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right.) (Al-Ahzab 33:70)
(O you who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others.) (Al-Hujurat 49:11)
(O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed) (At-Tawbah 9:119)
Sound faith should remind Muslims that Almighty Allah is their Lord, Islam is their religion, and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is their prophet. Strong faith creates pleasant and kind manners whereas weak faith directly leads to the collapse of all good manners.
Some people came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger a lady is known to pray, fast and give a lot of charity, but she harms her neighbors with her tongue.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: “She is in Hellfire.” Another lady was known to only pray and fast the minimum requirements and she only gave a little charity, but she did not harm her neighbors. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “She is in Paradise.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also 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?” He said, “The person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.” (Al-Bukhari)
The lesson here is that the severest punishment awaits the person who has bad manners and this is a shameful description of someone who mistreats those around him. This guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) teaches Muslims the importance of having good manners; it is also a warning not to neglect the rights between people even though the person might be perfect in fulfilling the basic acts of worship and performing extra acts of worship. Performing these acts of worship may not benefit someone if he has bad manners as this contradicts true Islamic behavior.
The Prophet’s sayings (peace and blessings be upon him) provide proof of this:
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from their Prayer except wakefulness and tiredness.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said “If one does not abandon falsehood in word and deed, Allah has no need for his leaving his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhari)
On the other hand, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said : “By good manners a person can reach the position of the one who prays at night and fasts during the day.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Focusing on the same meaning, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once asked his Companions; “Do you know who is the bankrupt?” They said, “A bankrupt person is the one who has neither dirham (money) nor wealth.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The bankrupt person among my followers (Ummah ) is the one who would come on the Day of Judgment with Prayers, fasting, and zakah; but would have offended one person, slandered another, devoured others’ wealth, shed the blood of this person, and hit that person.” (Muslim)
It is like a trader who has stock worth £1,000 but has a debt of £2,000, so he is a loser!
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“The signs of a hypocrite are three: whenever he speaks, he tells lies; whenever he is entrusted, he betrays; whenever he promises, he breaks his promise (even if he prays, fasts and claims that he is Muslim).” (Al-Bukhari)
Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“There are four traits and whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses one of them has an element of hypocrisy until he abandons it: the one who lies when he speaks, breaks his promise when he promises, violates when he makes an agreement, and transgresses when he disputes.” (Al-Bukhari).
Many people claim to be practicing Muslims, yet they commit acts which do not match the noble manners of the true faith.
What is the value of faith which does not reflect good manners? And, what is the meaning of striving for good while corrupting what is good in this life, yet claiming to be practicing Muslim? How many Muslims are there who are supposed to be practicing ones but they cheat, commit fraud, deceive and tell lies? How many Muslims today lie when they sell, do not do their best at work, and fail to regard the ties of kinship or of covenant with those around them?
Islam is having noble manners and whenever a person’s faith increases his good manners should also increase. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) summarized his whole message by saying:
“Indeed, I was sent for no other reason, than to perfect noble morals.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
A Muslim who performs acts of worship without being affected by them must have weak faith. Acts of worship should restrain Muslims from doing evil deeds, and it should correct their actions and civilize their character because acts of worship should teach the person how to be aware of Almighty Allah in every situation. If performing acts of worship do not do this, they are nothing but physical acts with no effect.
Almighty Allah says:
(Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do. ) (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)
The corruption that Muslims are experiencing these days is from their own doing. A person’s weak faith is reflected in his or her daily life. If a person’s faith was true and strong, his situation would change.
Hanzalah and Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with them) went to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and said to him:
“O Allah’s Messenger, Hanzalah has become a hypocrite”. Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: What has happened to you? I (Hanzalah) said: “O Allah’s Messenger, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hellfire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we leave you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds”. Then Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah), the Angels would shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths but, Hanzalah, time should be devoted (to worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the Prophet) said this thrice.” (Muslim)
The Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) struggled to be far from any characteristic of hypocrisy. They knew that bad manners may lead to hypocrisy, and so every Muslim should beware of any characteristic that would eventually affect his faith, and hence, render him a loser.