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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ettiquettes of Speech in Islam


There are many etiquettes that Islam legislated and encouraged, which reflect the magnitude of this topic. The following are some of these etiquettes:

SUMMARY:
1. Lowering one's voice
2. Shunning excessive talk and badmouthing others
3. Listening attentively to others  
4. Having sincerity 
5. Using comprehensible words
6. Speaking slowly 
7. Repeating important statements 
8. Facing the speaker 
9. Shunning obscene words  
10. Allowing elders to initiate
11. Giving the floor to the most knowledgeable
12. Giving an introduction before the main point
13. Not interrupting the speaker 
14. Beginning by greeting people before addressing them
15. Refraining from lying, even in jest 
16. Avoiding talking to a person to the exclusion of a third 
17. Not revealing the secrets of the gathering 
18. Not abandoning or boycotting a fellow Muslim for more than three days
19. Deserting an innovator or sinner for a sought benefit
20. The ruling on talking to a person in prayer
21. Talking to one's wife in a pleasant manner
22. A woman should not discuss her husband’s affairs except with his permission
23. It is not recommended to talk after the ‘Ishaa’ Prayer
24. Not to talk unnecessarily
25. Avoiding ostentation
26. Refraining from backbiting
27. Listening attentively

 
1. Lowering one's voice

Allaah Says (what means): “…And lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” [Quran 31: 19] Raising one's voice reflects a lack of manners, unless the need arises, such as when delivering a Khutbah, or when warning someone, or teaching, or when it is feared that those at a distance may not be able to hear. On the other hand, one's voice should not be so low that people can hardly hear, nor should it be monotonous, as this instigates boredom on the part of those listening, which can cause them to lose interest altogether.

2. Shunning excessive talk and badmouthing others

Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “The dearest and nearest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who is best in manners; and the most abhorrent among you, and the farthest of you from me (on that Day) will be the offensive (i.e. in speech), the garrulous, and the Mutafayhiqoon.” His companions asked him: "O Messenger of Allaah! We know about the offensive and the garrulous, but we do not know who the Mutafayhiqoon are.'' He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: “(They are) those who are arrogant when they speak.” [At-Tirmithi] This is a stern warning to not sound arrogant or talk to people with words that they do not understand in order to demonstrate that one is knowledgeable or eloquent.

3. Listening attentively to others

This is especially the case when the Quran is being recited; Allaah Says (what means): “So when the Qur'aan is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.” [Quran 7: 204]

The worthiest person of being listened to was the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and when his companions practically applied this, they attained an exalted level of manners and glorified the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) with his due glory. 

In fact, Allaah commanded the believers to lower their voices in his presence, as He Says (what means): “O you who have believed! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not.” [Quran 49:2] This also applies after his death, by lowering one's voice when his prophetic narrations are being related.


4. Having sincerity

Some people speak in order to display their knowledge of a certain topic, or show their eloquence. Others hate anyone except themselves speaking in a gathering. Such insincerity does not of course include teaching those who have only a rudimentary understanding of Islam, or to enjoin good and forbid evil.


5. Using comprehensible words

One should not address people with words and phrases that are beyond their comprehension, or use a difficult language. He must adopt simple wording and terminology, even when addressing certain specialities or particular fields of knowledge. This is so that the common people would understand. ‘Ali  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Talk to people with speech that they can understand. Do you wish that people belie Allaah and His messenger?” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]


6. Speaking slowly

The objective of addressing people is to convey certain points or ideas. Therefore, one must talk slowly enough for them to be able to grasp and understand what is being conveyed. Once, while ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her was praying, she overheard a man hurriedly narrating a statement of the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Afterwards, she  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her remarked: “Had I finished (praying) before he left, I would have rebuked him for his haste. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would never speak quickly when addressing people. He would speak slowly and in a manner that would enable anyone listening to understand what he was saying.” [End of quote]  

7. Repeating important statements

Some words or phrases may prove difficult to grasp or understand the first time, and it is therefore recommended to repeat them, in order to facilitate comprehension. Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported: “Whenever the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said something, he would repeat his words thrice, so that the meanings would be fully understood.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim] `Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her reported: “The speech of the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was so clear that all those who listened to it would easily understand.” [Abu Daawood] The objective of repeating one's words is to make sure that people understand the words; however, if this objective is met the first time, then there is no need for repetition. The maximum number of repetitions should be three, as it would become monotonous if it exceeded this number.


8. Facing the speaker

Facing the speaker reflects attentiveness to his words. A related issue is that the Imaam who is straightening the rows before starting the prayer needs to do so whilst facing the congregation, as per the practice of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and not whilst having his back to them.


9. Shunning obscene words

`Abdullaah Ibn `Amr Ibn Al-`Aas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and his father, stated: “The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) never used foul speech, nor did he like to listen to it.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

If a bad word was used in his presence, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would turn his face away to reflect his objection to it. Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported: “The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was even more bashful than a virgin behind her veil. Whenever he saw something he disliked, we could perceive it on his face.” [Al- Bukhaari & Muslim]



10. Allowing elders to initiate

When people gather for a meeting, the elders in the gathering should be given precedence, if they possess the required knowledge, to address people. The honouring of elders is of the elementary manners that Islam ordains.

Sahl Ibn Abu Hathmah Al-Ansaari  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that: “`Abdullaah Ibn Sahl and Muhaysah Ibn Mas`ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him returned to `Abdullaah Ibn Sahl, he found him murdered and drenched in his own blood. So he buried him and returned to Al-Madeenah. Then, `Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Sahl, along with  Huwayyisah and Muhaysah, who were the two sons of Mas`ood, went to the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and informed him about the case of their (murdered) friend. `Abdur-Rahmaan, who was the youngest of them, initiated and began talking, but the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) interrupted him and said: went to Khaybar during the truce period (after its conquest). They then separated to perform their duties. When Muhaysah “Let those older than you speak first.” So he stopped talking and the elder spoke about the case " [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]


11. Giving the floor to the most knowledgeable

If the need arises in a gathering for one to comment on a matter, then the most knowledgeable person present should be invited to address the issue, as he would be the most capable of convincing others, based on the knowledge Allaah has blessed him with. An example of this is when Abu Bakr  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was given priority to speak in the presence of ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them regarding the selection of a caliph after the death of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).


12. Giving an introduction before the main point

This is especially important when one is addressing a scholar, or any other person of knowledge.


13. Not interrupting the speaker

If a person enters into the presence of people whilst they are talking, then he should not interrupt them. Once Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was advising a group of men who taught others; he said: “Address people once or twice every Friday, and the most you should address them is thrice a week… If you happen to arrive whilst people are talking, do not interrupt their speech. When they permit you to speak, address them.” 


14. Beginning by greeting people before addressing them

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If a person begins talking to you before greeting you, then do not reply to him until he greets you.” [Abu Nu’aym] 


15. Refraining from lying, even in jest 

It is impermissible for a person to lie, even in jest: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Woe to the one who talks to people and lies in order to make them laugh! Woe to him! Woe to him!” [Abu Daawood & Ahmad]



16. Avoiding talking to a person to the exclusion of a third

Ibn `Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and his father, reported that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “When there are three people present, two of them should not hold a secret counsel to the exclusion of the third, until more come to the gathering, lest this saddens him (i.e. the third person).” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

This is because the third person may think that he is the subject of discussion, or that he is being conspired against. Two people speaking privately in a group containing more than three people is not included in this prohibition, as the prohibiting factor no longer applies. However, if there are ten people in the gathering and nine of them speak secretly to the exclusion of the tenth, then the prohibition applies. Likewise, if two people speak a different language than the third in a group of three, then the prohibition also applies.

17. Not revealing the secrets of the gathering

If the person to whom one is speaking to clearly requests him not to reveal what took place in the gathering, or even hints at this, then it is binding upon him to honor the request, unless doing so entails harm being afflicted upon other Muslims, in which case one must inform the concerned people. The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If a person speaks to another some words, then he turns around, then it is a trust.” [Abu Daawood & At-Tirmithi] 

Meaning, if the person who speaks first turns left and right to make sure that nobody can hear him, then this indicates that he does not want anybody else to hear. Therefore, the one who is spoken to is not allowed to reveal what went on between the two of them, or else it is considered a betrayal.

18. Not abandoning or boycotting a fellow Muslim for more than three days


The limit of abandoning or deserting a fellow Muslim and therefore not speaking to him can only be for a maximum of three days, as set for us by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ); after that, one is Islamically obliged to talk to him.


19. Deserting an innovator or sinner for a sought benefit

Refusing to talk to a sinner or innovator can at times be beneficial, and in such a case it is permissible to do so. A close relative of `Abdullaah Ibn Mughaffal  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was once flicking pebbles at animals using his index finger and thumb. `Abdullaah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said:  “The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) has forbidden this, saying that it does not kill the game.” The man ignored him and repeated the act, so `Abdullaah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said to him: "I told you that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) has prohibited this, but you persisted. I shall never talk to you again."
 

20. The ruling on talking to a person in prayer

This is permissible if the need arises. Umm Salamah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her once saw the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) praying two Rak’ahs after the ‘Asr prayer, so she sent a female slave and told her to stand next to him in order to remind him that he had forbidden praying after the ‘Asr prayer (and before Maghrib). When she did so, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) waved his hand at her, indicating that she should leave him be. After he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) finished praying, he informed her that he had been caught up in explaining certain matters of the religion to another Muslim and therefore could not pray the optional prayer after Thuhr, so he was making up for it.


21. Talking to one's wife in a pleasant manner

This is one of the means to establish harmony between the man and his wife, as well as to increase love and strengthen marital bonds.


22. A woman should not discuss her husband’s affairs except with his permission

This is based on a narration in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade this.


23. It is not recommended to talk after the ‘Ishaa’ Prayer

 The exception to this is if one has guests in his house, or if he is in a circle of knowledge. Abu Barzah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) disliked sleeping before the `Ishaa' (night) prayer and indulging in conversation after it.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim] 


24. Not to talk unnecessarily

If one knows that speaking will bring a benefit or remove an evil, then he should do so. Otherwise, it is best that he remains silent. When he does speak, he should choose the appropriate words. Also, he should never mix serious topics with jokes, and avoid speaking at length.


25. Avoiding ostentation

 If one is listening to a story that he is familiar with, he should not interrupt, or show that he knows about it so that others would realise this. Also, if one is addressing the masses, he should avoid using ancient language, so as to be understood.


26. Refraining from backbiting

 When addressing people, one should not mention other groups or nations in a negative way, because people usually have no respect for people who do this. Moreover, the speaker should not talk about himself and the knowledge he possesses unless absolutely necessary.


27. Listening attentively 

This is a reflection of respect for the speaker. One should also be tolerant during arguments and give the chance to others to speak. The speaker should alter his focus on different people in the gathering so that he looks at them all equally. Also, he should never get excited or angry during his speech.

Read more at: http://www.islamweb.net/

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