A Sermon by Dr. Allama Muhammad Jalal Raza Al Azhari
الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على سيد الأنبياء والمرسلين، وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين. أما بعد!
قال الله تعالى : وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ.
وقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “” إنما بعثت لأتمم صالح الأخلاق “(رواه أحمد)
Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. Allah’s Blessing and Salutation be upon our Master Muhammad, the Master of all Messengers, the Seal of the prophets and Allah’s Mercy to the Worlds. Peace and blessings be upon him and his family and his all companions.
Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (Al-Qalam 68:4)
And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says:
“I was sent to perfect the noble qualities of character.” (Reported by Ahmad)
Respected brothers and sisters! I would like to talk to you in this meeting on the importance of ethics and manners in Islam.
In fact morality include too many things that cannot be talked about in one article or one sermon, it is too vast to cover in few minutes.
What is good ethic?
Ethic in Islam includes many aspects; keeping the promise is an original Islamic value, and honesty in speech and telling the truth are also Islamic values. Returning a deposit to its owner is also a beautiful behavior in Islam, a good advice for everyone also has been regarded as a good behavior in Islam, preferring others over your self is also a good behavior in Islam. All those ethical values were exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions in their true sense.
Dealing with good manner a sort of worship
We find a lot of Muslims who did not learn Islam and its moral system differentiate between worship and ethical acts and good behavior. When people see a person attending or praying the five daily prayers they think he is a good person and devoted servant of Allah the Almighty. When you see a person absorbed in reciting the Glorious Qur’an or remembrance of Allah in a lonely place, you think he is a good person and a devoted servant of Allah the Almighty. And this is true, but the matter is same when you see a person who behaves people with truth and kindness according to the ethical standard of Allah and His Messenger. When a person decorates himself with the manners and morals of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and follows the footsteps of the esteemed companions is also a true worshipper of Allah the Almighty and a perfect devotee of Him.
Therefore, you are required to worship Allah the Almighty with both types of worship, with the prayer, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage, alongside the moral actions, good behavior, honesty in speech, avoidance of backbiting and gossip, keeping away from the theft, deception and lying.
A Muslim as a mirror of good manners
It is noteworthy, dear brother! When you commit a bad manner with your non-Muslim friends or cheat any of them, you represent Islam to them in a bad way and people think that Islam tells you to do so and they become haters of Islam because of your behavior. Thus, you deserve two punishments; one for your bad manner, and another for alienating people from Islam and its excellent message, as you kept them away from studying Islam by your bad representation of Islamic message.
Likewise, when you treat with a good manner you deserve two rewards; one for your good ethic and another for your good representation of Islam. Thus, you have represented Islamic message in a positive way, and encouraged people to study Islam, a great religion that has such beautiful and sublime principles. So, respected brother and sister! Be always careful about your manner, and be eager to implement the Islamic ethical manners in a perfect way, especially, when you deal with non-Muslims.
How did Islam spread throughout the world?
Islam spread to the most parts of the world since the first moment of its advent through the good morals and fine behaviors of its preachers and lovers, because the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his companions fine ethics, good morals, honesty and sincerity in every case. When those companions traveled to the different parts of the world carried with them the lamp of Iman and guidance to every part of the world.
Therefore, dear brothers! Every one of you is an ambassador of Islamic message in your surrounding and area, or any country a Muslim travels to.
Merciful manner of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to a Bedouin
Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) showed kindness and mercy even to those who made some serious mistakes, but when he dealt with them with wisdom and good manner they embraced Islam being influenced by his sublime manner.
Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Whilst we were in the Mosque with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) a Bedouin came and stood urinating in the Mosque. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Stop it! Stop it!’ and were about to attack him. But the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.’ So they left him until he had finished urinating, then the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) called him and said to him, ‘In these Mosques it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are only for remembering Allah, praying and reading Qur’an,’ or words to that effect. Then he commanded a man who was there to bring a bucket of water and throw it over the (urine), and he did so.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
How sublime was his manner! How lofty was his behavior! How merciful was his nature!
The essence of basic worships in Islam
We should bear in our mind that the basic acts of worship in Islam, such as praying, fasting, Hajj, Zakat are in their essences practical training on good manners and good ethics. Allah the almighty says about the prayer:
وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ ، إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ .(العنكبوت :45:26)
(And establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing.)(Al-`Ankabut26:45)
This blessed verse says that the prayer is intended to keep you away from vice and evil acts.
And the Prophet (peace be upon him) says about the fasting:
)من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به فليس لله حاجة في أن يدع طعامه وشرابه ) )أخرجه أحمد في مسنده(
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whosoever does not leave bad words and bad actions, Allah does not care if he leaves his food and drink.” (Reported by Ahmad)
Fasting is not just avoiding food and drink. Fasting is to learn how to avoid bad words and bad deeds. In fact, the fasting intends to improve your moral consciousness and ethical awareness.
As for the Hajj (pilgrimage), Allah the almighty says:
الحج أشهر معلومات فمن فرض فيهن الحج فلا رفث ولا فسوق ولا جدال في الحج.(البقرة2: 197)
“So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. “
It is clear from the verse that a pilgrim should avoid harsh language, quarreling with the people and disobedience of Allah the Almighty and other immoral acts.
And Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
“خذ من أموالهم صدقة تطهرهم وتزكيهم بها.” (التوبة:103:9)
“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase.”
This verse indicates that charity and almsgiving purify you of avarice, greed and cruelty to the poor and the helpless and many other vices and psychological diseases and defects. Thus, charity raises the moral and ethical awareness in a practical way and the giver enjoys blessings and happiness in this world and the Hereafter.
Good manner as a part of faith
It has become clear that the manifestations of the basic acts of worship in Islam have educational part and ethical dimension. And this reveals the importance of ethics in Islam, and not only that, but good manner is a part of the faith itself; if you are perfect in morality, you are perfect in the faith but if you are imperfect in ethics you are imperfect in your faith.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) says:
أكمل الناس إيمانا أحسنهم أخلاقا
“The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character.” (Tirmidhi).
May Allah beautify our manner as He has beautified our appearance. (Ameen)