15 Nov The Ethics of Decent Behavior in Islam (Adab al-Muasharat).Part4
Adab means acting with good manners, ethics and morals in all interactions and dealings with people.
The behavior that we find in the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, even actions in minor matters, like greeting people, smiling, and keeping nails trimmed, were also part of the lives of other Prophets before him.
The adab and moral code established by the hadiths of the Prophet are applicable to everyone. Therefore, every person who is involved in teaching or training others in adab must first put into practice these commands and prohibitions, then strive to impart the same good ethics to those under their care. God says in the Qur’an,
“O you who believe! Guard yourselves and your families(through the enabling discipline of Islamic faith and worship) against a Fire whose fuel is human beings and stones…” (Talaq 66:6).
Here it is meant that God wants us to practice the morality He has prescribed, both by training our spirits and by training the children for whom we have a responsibility. This will at the same time be a protection for us from the fire of Hell.
Everyone has responsibility for those under their care and supervision with regard to their rights, education, and learning. God’s Messenger spoke of the importance of the education of children by their parents thus:
“Every child is born in the natural state of innate predisposition for goodness and submission to One God. Afterward, the mother and father teach a child another religion. Indeed, even animal young are born complete (with all they need for life). Have you ever seen among these innocent newborn animals one with a cut-off arm, lip, leg, foot, nose?”
Abu Hurayra, the transmitter of this hadith, then continued with this verse:
“And so, set your face steadfastly toward the (one ever-true) faith, turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled into man…” (Rum 30:30).
The verse and hadith above point to the fact that the natural state of the human being is pure and that the best and purest morality one can follow is Islam. But incorrect education can make a child become alienated from their inborn natural purity and grow into a disbeliever or someone with bad morals. This is why the enironment and parental influence on children is emphasized so strongly.
God creates each individual with purity, and the mother and father of each child have the duty to bring out and preserve that nature by teaching adab. The best and most lasting gift parents can give their children is a good moral training. A child who receives this training and grows to be a good person will also become a source of continual reward for the parents; even after they are dead and can no longer perform good deeds, the child’s good deeds will be reflected on them and be recorded in their Book of Deeds by God.
THE WORD MUASHARAT (SOCIAL ETIQUETTE)
The word muasharat has several meanings: to mix or become involved, to be a friend, to live together.
The religion of Islam puts great importance on positive social relations between human beings—spending time together and talking to one another—and their shared community. After this brief introduction to the adab al-muasharat (ethics of decent behavior in Islam) we will examine good character traits in the light of Qur’anic verses and hadith.