(Chapter 24)

Muslim social conduct

This section deals with issues which are of great importance for the development of the Ummah’s social life. Without a healthy social life based on piety, there will be corruption, mistrust and dissension in the community.There are certain factors which are essential ingredients for a successful communal life. Without these a community cannot hope to have love and unity among its members. Among these essential factors, one is consultation.
Consultation in affairs should be based on honesty and true sympathy for the one to whom the advice is given. If there is no mutual trust among people, there will be no confidence on the advice given. Mutual trust, love and unity among people are possible only if people ensure that they do not cause harm, difficulty and discomfort for others while at the same time there should be concern to save others from harm and hardship. This attitude will bring about true unity and love among the individuals of a community. Consultation with others also facilitates the progress of mutual love and unity.
Three essentials have been mentioned in the aforegoing explanation, viz., consultation, mutual relationship and straight dealings, Some narrations will now be cited this regard.
1. Hadhrat Sahl Bin Sa’d (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Calmness in affairs is from Allh and haste in affairs is from shaitaan.” (Tirmizi)
Consultation impedes haste which leads to failure. By consulting with others, calmness is introduced into one’s affairs. In such procrastination pertaining to worldly matters, there is worldly benefit as well as Deeni benefit since the Deen has stated the significance of procrastination in mundance matters.
2. Allah Ta’ala says:
“(O Muhammad)! Consult with them (Shaabah) in special matters. And, when you have arrived at a decision (after consultation, irrespective of whether your decision conforms to the advice given or not) then have trust in Allah (and proceed). Verily, Allah loves those who rely on Him.”
(Aale Imraan)

The special matters refer to such affairs in regard to which no Wahi (Revelation) had come from Allah Ta’ala although they were important. Consultation has not been reported in regard to matters of trivial importance.

3. Allah Ta’ala says:

“Their (the Believers) affairs are decided by mutual consultation.”
(Surah Shuraa)

The Qur’aan Shareef praises the Mu’mineen on account of the praiseworthy practice of ‘shuraa’ or consultation by means of which they decide their affairs. The significance of consultation may be gauged from the fact that Allah Ta’ala ordered even Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to consult with his Sahaabah regarding matters of importance. Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) say that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) consulted with the Shaabah in regard to the Battle of Badr.

4. Hadhrat Maimoon Ibn Muhraam (radiallahu anhu) narrates that when no direction on an affair could be found in the Qur’aan and Hadith, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radiallahu anhu) would convene a gathering of intelligent and experienced men and consult with them.

It is not incumbent on the one who seeks advice or consults with others to act in accordance with the advice proffered. The episode of Hadhrat Abu bakr’s (radiallahu anhu) determination to wage war against those who refused to pay Zakaat is ample testimony for this. Inspite of all advising against the campaign. Hadhrat Abu bakr (radiallahu anhu) rejected their unanimous advice and acted in terms of his own decision.

5. Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that the consultants of Hadhrat Umar (radiallahu anhu) were Ulama-young as well as elderly Ulama. (Bukhari)

6. Hadhrat Jaabir (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“When a brother (Muslim) seeks to consult, then give him advice.” (Ibn Majah)

Some rules pertaining to consultation will now be mentioned.

· If the consultation is a matter which requires concealing, it should be maintained a secret.

· The participants in the consultation are people of trust. This means that what has been discussed in the gathering should not be publicized outside, However, if the discussion pertains to the usurping of another’s property or to harming anyone, then it will not be permissible to conceal the conspiracy.

Matter communal or national importance-matters which concern the community collectively-should not be publicized. Should one come by some information which concerns the entire community or nation. It has to be conveyed to the responsible persons in whose charge are the affairs of the community. In this regard Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Shareef.

“When they learn of some affairs regarding matters of safety or fear, they quickly spread it (among the people). If they referred the matter to the Rasool and to those in charge among them, then those qualified in such matters will know it (i.e. what action to take).”
(Surah Nisaa)

At times publication of certain information is not in the interests of the community or nation. Great harm may result in the publication of such matters. The Qur’aan Hakeem, therefore, prohibits such publication which may be news for the general public, but harmful for the nation as a whole. The news media generally fall in this category of reprimand. Most newspapers spread rumours and at times publish such reports which are largely detrimental to the national interests. Infor`mation is published without thorough investigation while sometimes investigations were made, but the reports besides having news value harms people, communities or nations. Such detrimental publication of news comes within the prohibition stated in the above-quoted Quraanic aayat.

Ittifaaq or unity is indeed a great nimat. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Shareef:

“Hold, all of you, firmly onto the Rope of Allah and do not split up.” (Surah Aale Imraan)

The ‘Rope of Allah is the Deen of Allah. The desired goal of unity is attainable only if the community adheres to the Law of Allah Ta’ala. Unity without correct adherence to the Shariah is not possible. For the Ummah, unity will remain an empty slogan as long as the Deen is not firmly and correctly upheld. Obedience to Allah Ta’ala will bring about the blessing of unity. Hence, the Qur’aan Shareef says:

“And, Allah created unity in their hearts.” (Surah Anfaal)

Linking unity to obedience of the Shariah, the Qur’aan Shareef says:

“O People of Imaan! Obey Allah and obey the Rasool. Do not dispute among yourselves, for your hearts will weaken and your awe (and power) will disappear.”
(Surah Anfaal)

This aayat commands obedience to the Shariah in all affairs. The Believers are ordered to take their direction from Allah and His Rasool As a result of such obedience unity in the community will become attainable easily. Allah Ta’ala will produce mutual love and respect in the hearts of the Mu’mineen for one another. Such unity which stems from the hearts of people will create awe and power in the nation. In the absence of this true unity, people will dispute. Their disputes will not be sincere, but will be motivated by personal baneful and lowly motives. Infighting and mutual recriminations will prevail.

This will scatter the community and destroy its power. The kuffaar will lose respect for the nation. They will no longer fear the nation of Muslims (as is the case today). Muslims will thus be overwhelmed and dominated by others. This aayat, therefore, mentions the evil of disunity. It is declared the basis of unity and points out that the actual aim and object of Believers should be Obedience to the Deen.

Hadhrat Abu Darda (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Maintain healthy (loving, brotherly and straightforward) relationship among yourselves. Corruption among you destroys (your Deen).” (Tirmizi, Abu Dawood)

Ittifaaq (Unity) is established and maintained by means of discharging Huqooq (Rights). People have to respect and honour the rights of one another. Disregard for the rights of other creates disunity. The question of Huqooq (Rights) has already been discussed in Rooh Nine.


Those who have some concern for Deen pay some attention to rectitude in their dealings. They do consider this matter as an issue of the Deen. However, they commit errors in their mutual dealings because of not having sufficient knowledge of the rules pertaining to such affairs. This situation may be quite simply recitifed by studying the book ‘Saffi Muamalat’ (also by Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi) as well as the fifth part of Beheshti Zewer. In addition, enquiries should be made with an Aalim whenever information is required in these matters. Following the direction of an Aalim will ensure that the activity is conducted along Shari lines.

Regarding social conduct, it must be observed that this facet of life has been totally neglected. Even pious people in these times have separated this aspect of life from the Shariah. It is not even considered to be part of the Deen. Even people with Deeni inclinations regard social conduct as being a worldly matter having no link with the Shariah. This erroneous understanding has resulted in great neglect in this field of life. Some Qur’aani aayaat and Ahadith will be cited to convey the significance and importance of a healthy social conduct in the lives of Muslims.

1. Allah Ta’ala states:

“O people of Imaan! Do not enter the houses of other until you have obtained consent and made salaam on the inmates of the house ……If you then do not find anyone therein, then do not enter the house until permission has been granted for you. And, if it is said to you: ‘Return! then return. That is purer for you ……” (Surah Noor)

The Mas’alah (Rule) regarding Istithaan (seeking permission to enter) is explained in the above verse of the Qur’aan. The fact that this act of social conduct has been mentioned in the Qur’aan Shareef is sufficient to convey the importance which Allah Ta’ala accords affairs of social intercourse. It is not proper for a Believer to enter the premises of another person without having obtained his prior consent. If consent is refused, offense should not be taken, for the one refusing the consent may have a valid reason. Thus, in refusing permission, the inmates of the house are fully within their rights. In the hadith recorded in Bukhari and Muslim it has been explained that if after having made salaam (i.e. saying Assalaam-o-Alaikum) thrice, no permission or reply from within the house is forthcoming, one should depart and not linger around. There is great wisdom in this command of the Shariah. It is quite possible that the inmates of the house may be in such a condition which does not permit their appearance. They may be having a rest. There may be sickness in the house and the arrival of someone is likely to create some disturbance. The inmates of the house may be engaged in some important work. Therefore, no one should take offense if permission is not granted or if no one from inside answer the knock at the door.

This matter or Istithaan (seeking permission to enter) seems to trivial importance to most people and is not considered of any Shari importance.l But, the very fact that the Qur’aan decrees its Command in this question establishes its significance.

2. Allah Ta’ala says:

“O people of Imaan! When it is said to you in a gathering: ‘Make space’. (for new-comers), then make space. Allah Ta’ala will grant you a spacious place (in Jannat). If (on account of some need) it is said to you: ‘leave (the gathering)!’ then get up and leave.” (Surah Mujaadalah)

In this command too is great wisdom. If the leader in the gathering asks or orders anyone to leave the gathering, he should be obeyed. If space is limited, the Believers should endeavour to draw together and make space available for others with an open heart. One should not become selfish and consider only one’s own comfort.

3. Hadhrat Aishah (radiallahu anha) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) went to bed. He remained laying on the bed until he thought that she had fallen asleep. She says:

“Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) slowly removed the blanket, put on his shoes very quietly, opened the door silently and went out. He then closed the door silently.”

On this occasion Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) went to Jannatul Baqi, the cemetery. Upon his return, he explained the reasons for his actions:

“I thought that you were asleep. I did not wish to disturb you and I feared that if you awoke and found yourself to be alone, you may become scared.” (Muslim)

The hadith states with clarity that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was averse to disturbing Hadhrat Aishah (radiallahu anha). This demonstrates the importance of not disturbing others by means of our acts and attitudes. A believer must always consider the next person and not behave in a neglectful and inconsiderate manner. Such disregard for theprivacy and peace of others is contrary to the Shariah.

4. Hadhrat Miqdaah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that three people (himself included) were once the guests of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He says:

“After Isha we should go to sleep. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) returned late at night he made salaam in such a way that if anyone was awoke the could hear it and if anyone was asleep he would not be disturbed.” (Muslim)

The few narrations cited above will convey the great importance of social conduct in the lives of Muslim. Islam lays much emphasis on such matters. Social conduct is an integral part of the Shariah. It cannot be separated from Islam. This subject has been dealt with in detail in our book, Aadaabul Muaasharaat’ as well as in the Beheshti Zwer from Part Ten onwards. A study of this subject should definitely be made by all Muslims.

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