Purify Yourself Inwardly and Outwardly From That Which Contradicts the Sharī’ah

It is upon the student of knowledge to purify himself outwardly by steering clear of innovations, beautifying himself with the sunan of the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) in all aspects of his life, preserving his wudū’, and keeping his body and appearance clean – all within reasonable means, and as much as he is able.

Ibn Abī Hātim reported that ‘Abd al-Malik al-Maymūnī said: “I do not know that I have ever seen anyone who wore cleaner clothes, was more attentive to trimming his moustache and grooming the hair on his head and body, or wore purer and whiter garments than Ahmad bin Hambal.” And this was because every single movement of Ahmad (may Allāh have Mercy on him) was in accordance with the Sunnah, as he said: “I never wrote a single hadīth except that I acted upon it, to the point that I came across a report that the Prophet (peace be upon him) got cupped and gave Abū Taybah (his cupper) a dīnār. So, I got cupped and gave the cupper a dīnār.

One shouldn’t misunderstand the encouragement to have clean clothes and be excessive and obsessive in regards to his clothing. Rather, one should be slightly less than this, considering that it is reported that the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said: “Badhādhah is from faith.”

Ibn al-Athīr said: “Badhādhah is to have a plain, ascetic appearance…and he (peace be upon him) meant that one should be humble in his clothing, avoiding vanity.”

And al-Khatīb al-Baghdādī (may Allāh have Mercy on him) reported that Abū ‘Abdillāh al-Būshinjī said: “As for the badhādhah that the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said is from faith, it is the plainness one displays in dress and garment, and this is humility from owning flashy, expensive clothing and garments. This is how the people of zuhd dress in this world.”

al-Khatīb (may Allāh have Mercy on him) said:

“The student of knowledge must set aside amusement, useless talk, and low speech when meeting and gathering with others, such as immaturity, laughter, giggling, and excessive joking. It is allowed for him to laugh mildly and rarely in a way that does not exceed the limits of the manner and style of one who is dealing with knowledge. As for constantly doing this, speaking about inappropriate, immature, and childish matters, excessive laughter and joking – this all reduces one’s esteem and manhood.

Mālik (may Allāh have Mercy on him) said: “It is upon the student of knowledge to manifest calmness, humility, and tranquility, and to follow in the footsteps of those who came before him.”

Muhammad bin al-Husayn reported from Sa’īd bin ‘Āmir that he said: “We were with Hishām ad-Dastawā’ī, and one of us laughed. So, Hishām said to him: “You laugh while you are a student of Hadīth?!””

‘Abd ar-Rahmān bin Mahdī reported that a man laughed in the presence of Hishām ad-Dastawā’ī. So, Hishām said to him: “Young man, you seek knowledge and laugh?!” The man replied: “Doesn’t Allāh make us laugh or weep?” Hishām replied: “Then weep!””

[Excerpts taken from book ‘The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker’]

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Purify Your Intention for Allāh in Seeking Knowledge

“…Know that intention (niyyah), will (irādah), and goal (qasd) are various terms that all mean the same thing, and it is a description of the state of the heart when it is a source for two things: knowledge and action.

Knowledge comes first – as it is the foundation and condition – and action follows it, since it is the fruit that branches from knowledge. This is because every action – that is, every intentional movement and motion – does not occur without three things: knowledge, will, and ability. Nobody does something without knowing of it. So, he must have knowledge. Likewise, nobody does something without having the will to do it. So, one must have the will to do something, and the meaning of will (irādah) is that the heart reaches out to what it sees as being in accordance with what it seeks.

The human was created such that he sometimes does that which is in accordance with what his heart seeks, and sometimes does that which conflicts with what his heart seeks. In such a case, he needs to draw near to that which is good for him, and to drive away what will harm him. This requires that he know and understand what will benefit and harm him, such that he can bring this close and avoid that, since whoever does not see or know what food is cannot reach over and pull it towards him, and whoever does not see fire cannot escape from it. So, Allāh has Created guidance and knowledge, and has provided certain means of attaining them, and these are the external and internal senses.

So, intention is essentially the will and the act of reaching out to and leaning towards what one seeks, whether this occurs retrospectively or at the time of seeing what is sought after. Therefore, the first step in one being pushed to do something is that he has a goal which motivates him to act, and goal is the target of one’s intention. One is pushed to go out and do something when he has a goal and intention, and directs his power and ability towards his goal by way of physical movement, and this is known as action…”

[Excerpts taken from book ‘The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker’]

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Keeping appointments, delays and cancellation

In the first verse of Surat Al-Mai’da, Allah called upon the believers ‘O you the Believers, fulfill your promises.’ In Surat Maryam, Allah also praised Prophet Ismail (PBUH) saying “He was true to his promise. He was a Messenger and a Prophet.”

To keep an appointment is vital to our lives, since time is the most precious commodity, once wasted it could not be replaced. If you made an appointment, whether to a friend, colleague or for business you should do your utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other person who gave you part of their time and may have declined other appointments. Not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have marred your image and personality. If your punctuality becomes lousy you will lose people’s respect. You should keep all your appointments whether it was with an important person a close friend or someone else. You will be responding to the call of Allah in Surat al-Israa: “And keep your promises. The promise is a responsibility.”

It is enough to know that our kind Prophet S.A.W.S. gave an appointment to one of his companions. The companion came three days later. The Prophet S.A.W.S. gently reprimanded him “You have caused me some trouble. I have been waiting expecting you since three days.” The companion probably hand an excuse for this delay. Then, he has no means to inform the Prophet S.A.W.S about his inability to meet the appointment.

Today, fast and reliable communication means are available everywhere. As soon as you realize you will not be able to keep an appointment, you should inform the other to enable them to utilize their time. Do not be careless or irresponsible. Do not think that the appointment is so unimportant tat it does not merit a notice or an apology. This is totally irrelevant. Regardless of its importance an appointment is a commitment. It must be kept or canceled properly in advance.

Never make a promise while you do not intend to keep it or fulfill it. This is forbidden as it falls within lying and hypocrisy. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet S.A.W.S said: “Three traits single out hypocrites, even if he prayed and/or fast and claimed to be Muslim: if he talks, he lies. If he promised, he does not keep it. If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.”

Imam Ghazali in Al-Ihya said that this Hadith fits those who promise while intending not to fulfill it, or those who, without excuse, decide later not to fulfill a promise. Those who promise but could not fulfill their promise due to a proper excuse are not hypocrites. But we should be careful not to create excuses that are not valid. Allah knows our inner thoughts and intentions.

The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker

“I spent thirty years learning manners, and I spent twenty years learning knowledge.”
– ‘Abdullāh bin al-Mubārak


Purify Your Intention for Allāh in Seeking Knowledge

Purify Yourself Inwardly and Outwardly From That Which Contradicts the Sharī’ah

Completely Free Your Heart for Knowledge and Remove All Obstacles

Eat Little, Be Cautious, and Constantly Remember Allāh

Eat, Sleep, and Speak as Seldom as Possible

Reduce Socialization and Choose the Right Friends

Choose What to Start With and Who to Teach You

Have the Best Manners with Your Teacher

Treat Your Books Well


How to Act During a Lesson

Total Length:
71 pages

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Dealing with Non-Muslims

If your neighbors happen to be non-Muslim you must not forget Islamic manners in dealing with neighbors. The recommendation of Islam for good relationship with neighbors is for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

You as a Muslim should demonstrate to all people the goodness of Islam with your gentle manners and kind behavior, Bukhari and Muslim reported the Hadith of Anas “No one is a believer if he does not like for his brother what he likes for himself.” The report of Muslim said “till he loves for his brother, or neighbour, as he likes for himself.” The scholars said that the word ‘brother’ here is said in the most common context and thus means brothers in humanity includinc Muslims and non-Muslims. A Muslim would love for his non-Muslim brother, as he loves for himself, to become a Muslim to enjoy the benefits of Islam and rewards of Allah.

A Muslim would do very well when he prays for the guidance of his non-Muslim brothers as he likes for his Muslim brothers to remain Muslim and to continue their devotion and adherence to Islam. In Surah Al-Mumtahinah, Allah said:“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who did not fight you for your faith not drive you out of your homes, to deal kindly and justly with them: For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids with regards to those who fought you for your faith and drove you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, for turning to them for friendship and alliance. Those of you who do that are doing wrong.”

There is nothing to prevent us from being kind, generous and helpful to non-Muslims as long as they do not demonstrate verbal or tangible animosity towards Islam. Hopefully, this will remove barriers to introduce them to join Islam and Muslims.

This positive attitude does not mean going along with non-Muslims and abandoning distinct personality. It means we must be fair, kind and moderate with ourselves and our neighbors in all matters. In interpreting this, Imam Qurtubi said: ‘This constitutes a consent by Allah to maintain amicable relationship with those who did not antagonize Muslim or attack them.

Imam Qurtubi cited the opinion of Abdul Rahman bin Zayed who said that this rule was in the beginning of Islam when fighting was not requires, but later it was annulled. Imam Qurtubi also cite Qatada who said this verse had been annulled by another verse in Surah Al Tawba (9:5) “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them..”

After citing these two opinions and other similar ones, Imam Qurtubi concluded by saying: The majority of interpreters have said that it is a valid verse that has not been annulled. They cited the story reported by Bukhari and Muslim of Asma’ bint Abi Bakr when she asked the Prophet S.A.W.S. if she could entertain and be kind to her non-Muslim mother who visited her in Madina and the Prophet S.A.W.S. said ‘Yes’.

It was said that this verse was revealed in this incident. Al-Mauardi and Abo Dawood reported that Amer bin Abdullah bin Al-Zubair narrated that his father told him that before Islam, Abu Bakr divorced his wife Qutaila who was the mother of Asma. When the truce was held between the Prophet S.A.W.S. and the pagans of Quraish, the mother visited her daughter in Madina and brought her an ear-ring and other gifts. Asma was reluctant to accept the gifts before asking the Prophet S.A.W.S. In answer to her question Allah revealed this verse. When Allah says ‘to deal kindly and justly with them’ Al-Faraa said that Allah meant those who did not fight you alluding to Khoza tribe who made an agreement with Muslims not to fight them or assist those fighting them. Allah ordered Muslims to be kind and faithful to them as per the terms of agreement.

Al-Kadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi said that the expression of qist is not derived from justice but from share, meaning you may give them a portion of your money to maintain cordial relationship. For justice Is a duty toward all whether they were friends or foes. Imam Bukhari and Imam Ahmad reported that Anas bin Malik said that a Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet S.A.W.S., preparing his ablution and to hand him his shoes. The boy became ill. The Prophet S.A.W.S. went to visit the boy and he was gravely ill with his father sitting at his head. The Prophet S.A.W.S. invited him to Islam by telling him to say: There is no God but Allah. The boy looked at his father who kept silent. The prophet S.A.W.S. repeated his request and the boy looked at his father gain who told him ‘Obey Abu Al-Qasim’. The boy, just before dying, said “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that you are His Messenger.’ The prophet S.A.W.S. said “Thank Allah for enabling me to save him.”

Hafiz Ibn Hajar said that this Hadith indicates many rules; that Muslims are allowed to employ non-Muslims, to visit them while sick. It also directs us to maintain cordiality. It allows the employment of youth, to offer them Islam if they were mature to make a choice, and to accept their conversion if they embraced Islam.

Hafiz Al-Badr Al-Aini said this Hadith indicated the consent to visit ill non-Muslims especially if they were neighbors since it demonstrated the kindness of Islam and may encourage them to embrace it. The Hadith also allows the employment of non-Muslims and the cordiality to them. It also consents employing the youth.

You may console non-Muslims on mourning using appropriate expressions. Imam Al-Kadi Abu Yusuf said, in the end of his book Al-Kharaj that he asked Abu Hanifa about how to console a Jew or a Christian who lost a child or relative. Abu Hanifa said to say: “Allah decreed death for all His creations. We ask Allah to make death the best fate to wait for. We all belong to Allah and to Him we all shall return. Be patient and endure this calamity.”

Abu Yusuf said we learned that a Christian who used to attend the lectures of Al-Hasan Al-Basri died. Al-Hasan went to console his brother. He said: “May Allah reward you for this calamity as He reward your fellows. May Allah bless our death and make it the best fate to wait for. Be patient against the misfortunes.” You may say these kinds of words and remind them of death as the inescapable fate with which we can do nothing about but acceptance and patience.

Imam Ibn A’bdin in his book Rad al-Muhtar mentioned that Shaf’ee said: “You may console Muslims when at the death of a non-Muslim relative. On such occasion you may say: “May Allah increase your rewards and patience”. You may console non-Muslims on the loss of a Muslim relative. On such occasions you may say: may Allah for you deceased” and give best condolence.

“Let not one of you wish for death…”

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam) said, “Let not one of you wish for death because of a misfortune which befalls him. If  he cannot help doing so, he should say: ‘O Allah, keep me alive as long as You know that life is better for me, and make me die when death is better for me”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This hadith indicates that there is prohibition in hoping for death or making supplication with tongue or in the heart as misfortune could be good for a believer. He should supplicate to Allah to grant him patience in overcoming the misfortune. If a person wish for death, death could be a evil thing for him as he does not know and only Allah knows. A man may die only to seek punishment.

Those who kill themselves will depart to a more severe torture in hearafter. The one who kills himself will be tortured by the tools that he used to kill himself. He will be tortured in hellfire as mentioned in a hadith of Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam]. If he kills himself with a iron knife, he will kill himself with same iron knife in hellfire. The same would apply to jumping down or taking poison.

Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] always gave alternatives if there is one as he mentioned the alternative dua to make and it is also the way of Qur’an.

From Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurayrah: A man employed by the Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam], peace be on him, in Khaybar brought for him janib [dates of very fine quality]. Upon the Prophet’s asking him whether all the dates of Khaybar were such, the man replied that this was not the case and added that “they exchanged a sa [a measure] of this kind for two or three [of the other kind]”. The Prophet, peace be on him, replied, “Do not do so. Sell [the lower quality dates] for dirhams and then use the dirhams to buy janib. [When dates are exchanged against dates] they should be equal in weight.” (Bukhari)

In the above case too, Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] pointed to an alternative.

In the case of alternative dua which the Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] taught us to make when one cannot himself in the face of misfortune, the person resigns himself to Allah as Allah knows but he does not.

“Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except Allah, knows what is hidden: nor can they perceive when they shall be raised up (for Judgment).” [Surah An Naml:65]

“Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn tomorrow: Nor does any one know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things).” [Surah Luqman: 34]

When a person makes dua to extend the life of someone, he should ask Allah to make him live longer in Allah’s obedience.

Maryam bin Imran [Alayhas Salam] wished to die, how could it be? There are two reasons to explain that and the first possible reason could be that their sharia was different.

“She cried (in her anguish): “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!”” [Surah Maryam: 23]

The second reason we could say is that she did not wish to die. She wished to die without being in a fitnah even if it mean she would stay 1000 years. This is like the saying of Yusuf [Alayhis salam] in:

“..Take Thou my soul (at death) as one submitting to Thy will (as a Muslim), and unite me with the righteous.” [Surah Yusuf: 101]

There is no harm in the above dua. One should make a distinction between a person wishing to die because of constraints and a person wishing to die with a quality pleasing to Allah. One who wishes death because of misfortune is not patient. This is forbidden.

The prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said:
“How amazing is the affair of the believer. Everything is good for him – and that is for no one but the believer: If good times come his way he is thankful and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way he is patient and that is good for him.”

Explanation of hadith is taken from Dr Saleh as Saleh

Respect the Poor

If you come across a poor person at a gathering or you were invited by a poor person at home or at work, do not look down upon him or her because you consider them poor. Poverty is not a defect or a fault to be ashamed of, while lack of kindness and generosity is.

Remember that the poor will enter paradise much before the rich- “The poor of the Muhajireen will enter Paradise five hundred years ahead of the rich of the Muhajireen.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ 4/90, no.4104).

Majority of the people in paradise will be the poor-Prophet (s.a.w) said, “I stood by the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of those who entered were the poor and wretched. The rich [Muslims] were detained while the people of Hell were ordered to be taken to Hell”. [Sahih Al Bukhari]

Treat poor companions or guests with honor and respect. Be pleasant while talking to them, using the best language. Again, poverty is not a vice. Many of the poor are more honorable than the wealthy, and many who are penniless are preferred to the rich.

Tell your family your whereabouts

If you leave home to go to a place other than you usual work, it is advisable to inform your family where you are going. This information is very useful to have their mind at ease knowing where you are. The great follower, Qatada bin Di’ama Al-Sadousi disapproved of someone going somewhere without telling their family their whereabouts.

Imam Ahmad [Rahimahullah] reported that Qatada [Rahimahullah] narrated that he went with Abo Ma’shar [Rahimahullah] to visit Al-Sha’bi [Rahimahullah]. His family said he was not home. Qatada [Rahimahullah] asked, “Where did he go?” His family said “We don’t know”. Qatada [Rahimahullah] then said, “You mean he does not tell you where he goes?” They said “Yes”. Telling your family where you are lessens their worried besides putting you and them at ease if you were late since they know where you are.

Walking with the elderly

To illustrate this point I will cite jurist ‘Ali bin Mubarak Al-Karkhi [Rahimahullah], who studied under Imam, Abi Y’ala Al-Hanbali [Rahimahullah], himself a jurist and a judge and the chief Shaikh of the Hanbali school of Law: ‘One day, Judge Abu Y’ala said to me, while I was walking with him: “If you walked with someone you honor, where would you walk? I said: “I do not know.” He said: “Walk on his right. Place him at the position of Imam in the prayer. Leave his left side clear in case he needs to spit or to get rid of dirt.

An interesting story in this regard happened among three Muslim scholars. They were Judge Ahmad bin Omar bin Suriah (249-306 A.H.), Faqih Mohammad bin Dawood Al-Zaheri (255-297 A.H.), and linguist Naftawih (244-323 A.H.) [Rahimahumullah]. They were walking along together when they came to a very narrow passageway, and each wanted the other to go ahead. Ibn Suriah [Rahimahullah] said, “A narrow street begins ill manners.” Ibn Dawood [Rahimahullah] responded, “Though it points out status.’ Naftawih [Rahimahullah] said, “When friendship prevails, formalities disappear.”

The story does not tell who went ahead of the others, but it is likely that It was Ahmad bin Suriah [Rahimahullah] since he was a judge and a prominent imam at the imam at the time and ranked above his two companions. He may have said “A narrow street brings ill manners” apologizing out of politeness for going ahead. It is just wonderful to see such perfect behavior and nice apologies.

Do not walk in front of elders unless you have to show the way.


This is a collection of Islamic manners that were part of the etiquette of your pious Muslim predecessors. I presented them to you in a clear and understandable way so that you inculcate them and practise upon them. The best place to follow these manners is at home and the homes of your brothers. Do not overlook these etiquettes when dealing with your family and your Muslim brethren assuming  that there is no need for it.

Your immediate family and friends are the most deserving of your good conduct and manners. In this regard, Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim [Rahimahumullah] have reported that a  man asked Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam], “O Prophet of Allah, who deserves my best behaviour?” The Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] answered: “Your mother! Your mother! Your mother! Then your father, then the closer, and the closer among your relatives.”

Beloved readers, do not overlook these manners when interacting with the appropriate people, and act properly and amicably with others. If you do not behave properly, you degrade yourself, abuse the duty that you are entrusted with and abandon the guidance of Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam]. Ask Allah to assist you in attaining His pleasure and the manners of His religion, and it is He who protects the pious.

May Allah protect you, your relatives and your beloved ones. May Allah help you to obey His orders, remain obedient to Him, and follow the example of Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam]. May Allah grant you His love, grace and His generosity. May peace and salutations be upon the Prophet [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam], his family and his companions [Radiallahu anhum]. All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the universe. Amin

This was written in the hope of receiving your prayers.

(Shaykh) Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah [Rahimahullah]

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