Ethical Discourse # 74 – Page 1 of 6

In the Name of All{h, the Source of General Mercy to all of Humanity, the Source of Specific Grace to the Believers

Topic of Discussion: An Unpleasant Demeanor
âad|th 59 · Discussion 74
Lectures on Akhl{q [Isl{mic Ethics and Spirituality] Delivered by
his Eminence Ñyatull{h al-`UÉm{ al-H{jj Shaykh N{Äir Mak{rim Sh|r{z|

Translated by Saleem Bhimji
for Al-FatÅ Al-Mub|n Publications [ --] and Isl{mic Publishing House []

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Text of âad|th:
· ` ¸ : .` · ¸ ´ · ` . · , ` - ..` . , .` · ` ¸ · - - ¯ ` · -. . · ¸ - · .` · .
Translation of the âad|th:
The Prophet MuÅammad has said, “O’ `Al|! For every sin, there is repentance except for having an unpleasant demeanor, since surely
every time the person who has an unpleasant demeanor leaves a sin, he will enter into (another) sin.”

Explanation of the âad|th:
In this Åad|th, the Noble Prophet has pointed to the dangerous effect of having an unpleasant demeanor and has stated that, “People are
able to ask for repentance for all other sins however as for the person who has the sin of an unpleasant demeanor, he will not be able to
repent for this act since this trait never leaves a person.” What is important to note here is that a person can repent for his sins and bad
deeds however the trait of having an unpleasant demeanor is not in itself an action (which one can repent for).

The Effects of Having an Unpleasant Demeanor

1) Having an unpleasant demeanor is itself the source of many sins. A person who has this trait wishes to repent for his sin, however he ends
up falling into another sin and thus, as the Prophet himself has said, “This person can not ask for repentance.” Due to this, one of the
effects of having an unpleasant demeanor is that a person would have multiple sins on his record such as bugging and annoying other
people, lying, back-biting, oppression, etc…

2) Another of the effects of having an unpleasant demeanor are the societal effects – meaning that along with this trait, a person would gain
the resentment of the people. In other words, due to having a negative attitude, a person would end up losing his composure, friends,
support of the society and any influence which he may have. For example, there may be a person who is a business man and who possesses
this trait and thus, he would end up losing his clients; there may be a person who is a leader of the community and he would end up losing
his followers. In summary, having a negative disposition would lead to a person losing his friends and associates and it is even possible for
such a person to end up losing his spouce and children!

What we mean by a person “losing” certain individuals is that these people would be come strangers in his life and would reach to a point
that for example his own children would not even like to see the face of their father since they know that their father has very bad etiquette
and manners. Thus, between the father and his children, a separation is created. Therefore, another effect of having bad demeanor is the
disgust of people to the person and them distancing and separating themselves from the person who has this trait.

BiÅ{rul Anw{r, Volume 74, Page 46
Ethical Discourse # 74 – Page 2 of 6
3) The third effect which this trait brings with it is the castigation and punishment of the soul which affects the person himself. By this we
mean that the person who has a negative demeanor, before annoying and bugging others, will end up bugging and annoying himself and then
other people! Woe upon the fire of bad etiquette since it first ends up burning the inside of the person who has it and then those who are
outside and around that person! Naturally, this trait would have a very great impact and effect on producing various physical sicknesses and
diseases for the person who has the trait and he would end up having a short life.

The Reason and Factors Behind a Bad Demeanor

1) Great Expectations: When a person becomes full of expectations, then naturally, he would come across instances which would go against
that which he expects to occur and wants to occur and thus, his temper gets hot and he becomes angry. However if a person’s expectations
– even in relation to his family and those close to him was low, then he would definitely not become angry and in the face of events which
take place to him, he would be ready and equipped (to deal with them) and would say that “I did not expect that to happen” or he would
state, “…anything can happen”. Thus, if a person was to develop such a spirit within himself then in the face of difficulties, his mind would
not become boggled or confused.

There are some people who, when they face a loss at the hands of their friends they would say things like, “I did not except my friend to do
such a thing to me!”

2) Pride and Conceit: Those people who have pride would naturally like to position themselves above all other people and since by their
innate disposition, other people do not get along with such individuals (who have pride and conceit) and try not to pay attention to such
individuals, thus when those who have pride and conceit see that what they want to be done and accomplished is not being done, they
become upset and display their negative demeanor.

3) Inability to Forgive: There are some people who only forgive some things (which are done to them) and thus, they fall prey to becoming
irritated and aggravated. However we must strive and struggle so that we are able to forgive and forget things which have occurred since if a
person was to forget things which have happened to him, then his etiquette and demeanor would definitely become good. The opposite of
this statement is also true that if a person was not to forgive and forget the things which occur to him, and was to always recall what
happened to him, then he would definitely get upset and in the end would develop the trait of having a negative demeanor.

4) Bad-Tempered and Irritable: A person who is bad tempered or irritable would not be able to deal and handle issues which come up in his
life. There is a famous saying (in Farsi) which says: “He finds (bitter) raisins to be sweet and sweet raisins to be sour.” By this we mean that
tranquility in his house is actually like a storm. Such people are always possess a negative demeanor and bad ethical traits and are always
grumpy and upset. However, if a person was to be even-tempered and laidback, then when these sorts of issues came up, he would be able
to tolerate and bear them.

These are four of the spiritual psychological traits, however, at this point we now turn our attention towards the societal impact and the
effects on the physical body of having a bad demeanor.

Societal Effects and Outcomes on the Physical Body

1) The person who possesses a short temper would sometimes also develop a bad demeanor. Have you noticed how sometimes, those
people who are physically sick also become very bad mannered. Why is this? It is due to the fact that they are not able to withstand and put
up with their sickness. Thus, one must make note of their mental state and must refrain from yelling or screaming while in their presence (to
further aggravate them) and those people who are looking after them must be sure to be lenient and tolerate them and their attitude since
the person who is physically sick is in such a state that his bad demeanor is actually natural and a part of being physically sick.

Or for example, in the afternoons in the blessed Month of Ramadh{n, there are some people who become extremely upset and of bad
etiquette and manners since due to the effects of hunger and thirst, the blood in their body has become thick and is not able to reach to their
brain. Their nerves become tired and the cells in their brain are not fed the food which they need and thus, naturally, they become angry
and it is at this time that they are not able to control themselves.

Thus, in these sorts of situations, it is better for a person (who is fasting) to be in a place in which the people who are in anger are less since
a person is able to prevent himself from going to such places where people who are full of rage and anger are not there and this would limit
his interaction with such people at that time of day, meaning that he would not be in a place where the presence of people who possess a
crooked demeanor would be shown to him.

Ethical Discourse # 74 – Page 3 of 6
2) Sometimes, a person being prevented from something in one place or area may lead to him having a negative demeanor in another place
– for example, he has suffered a loss in the market or while shopping and thus, when he steps into his house, he begins to hurt his wife and
children and may even physically beat them.

Therefore, having a negative demeanor and bad morals and etiquette is something very bad, especially for those people who are always
working in and around other people. Therefore, in order to be able to be able to have more of an impact and influence in the hearts of the
people, we must not be the manifestation of the verse which reads:
: ` . - ` ¸ · .' . ` . . ,· = · .¯ ` .
“Had you (O’ MuÅammad) been very then surely the people would have dispersed from around you…”

Rather, we must be the manifestation of the verse which reads:
` .` . .` · ¸ · · ` - ·
“So then it is from the mercy of All{h that you are lenient with them…”

However, as we know, those people who do not have continuous dealings with other people usually do not show bad etiquette and
demeanor (as they are not around people of various characters).

Thus in summary, we see that sometimes possessing a bad demeanor would destroy a person’s entire program of life, however we should
know that in addition to seeking to destroy and remove all of the things which result in this bad demeanor, we ourselves must also struggle
and work to gain righteous etiquette. `Al| was a person with such a good demeanor that his enemies used to accuse him of being a
person who jokes around too much.

In order for a person not to gravitate towards having bad etiquette and morals, he must seek to instill in his life, the opposite of this,
meaning good etiquette and morals. He must seek to have these noble traits grow and mature within himself and must give importance to
this aspect of his life. Thus, in order for us to see the how important the issue of having good morals is in the eyes of the great leaders of
Isl{m, we place the following aÅ{d|th from the Ma`s}m|n which are in relation to the importance of having good morals and etiquette
and the disposal of the readers:

An Example of the Exemplary Morals of the Prophet

The victory of the Prophet , even though it was through the help and assistance of All{h i, however from the apparent aspect, took place
due to various circumstances, one of which, and perhaps the most important of them all is the attractive ethical traits which he
possessed. The high humanistic traits and noble ethics were so combined in this person that even the hardest of enemies were placed under
his influence and were forced to submit to him while his friends were intensely attracted to him.

Rather, if we refer to his etiquette and morals as the miracle of the Prophet then we would definitely not have overstated the fact. An
example of this ethical miracle can be seen in the FatÅ (opening) of Makkah: At the time when the blood- thirsty and seeking polytheists who
were working crimes and transgressions (against the Muslims), who for many years were working against the faith of Isl{m and the person of
the Prophet , were put face to face and in the grips of the Muslims, we see that the Noble Prophet , going against what all of his
friends and enemies thought he would do, ordered the Muslims to forgive all of the polytheists of Makkah and all of their crimes were
forgotten. It is due to this fact that this verse of the Qur`{n became manifest:

· .. ` -` ¸ · · ¸ ' -. ·
“And you see people entering into the faith of All{h in groups…”

The books of Tafs|r, History and even the story books are full of events in relation to the good demeanor, forgiveness, mercy, altruism, self-
sacrifice and consciousness of All{h i which the Prophet showed and displayed, however it is enough for us to state that in the Åad|th
from âusain ibne `Al| it has been mentioned that he said, “I asked my father Am|r al-Mo’min|n `Al| ibn Ab| ä{lib about the
characteristics of the life of the Prophet and his etiquette and my father, in a very detailed manner, explained to me by stating…”

S}ratul Ñle Imr{n (3), Verse 159
S}ratul Ñle Imr{n (3), Verse 159
Ethical Discourse # 74 – Page 4 of 6
In this long Åad|th, it has been mentioned that, “The Prophet was always cheerful and smiling with those whom he was in the company
with, and he was always found to be gentle and soft-spoken. He was never seen to be angry, hard-hearted, rude, foul speaking, picking the
faults of other nor excessively praising anyone. Not a single person was ever was ever made to feel hopeless by him and anybody who
entered his house did not leave disparaged. There are three things which he kept away from himself: arguing with others, speaking too much
and entering into things which were none of his business and there are two things which he kept away from in relation to the people: he
never ridiculed or rebuked people and he never went forth to seek out the slips and hidden mistakes and errors of the people. It is only in
relation to that area in which the Divine reward of All{h i was possible did he speak. When he used to speak, his words had such an
impact and effect on the hearts of the people that everyone present would remain quiet and did not move an inch and it is only when he
stopped speaking and remained quiet did they begin to speak. However it is also seen that while in his presence, those around him did not
indulge in arguments or wrangling…Anytime a stranger or un-aware person began to speak with anger and asked him for something, he
would bear that person’s attitude with patience and would tell his companions, ‘Anytime you see a person who has some need, ensure that
you fulfill it for him.’ He never cut anyone’s speech short and waited for the person to finish what he wanted to say.”

Yes! If these noble ethical traits and Divinely granted persona of the Prophet was not there, then that backwards, ignorance `Arab nation
and those angry, hard-lined `Arabs would not have come into the faith of Isl{m and would have been the manifestation of the verse which

. : ` . - ` ¸ · .' . `
“…they would have dispersed from around you…”

How good it would be that this Isl{mic etiquette is today, brought back to life and within the life of every single Muslim, the greatness which
is exemplified in the morals and etiquette of the Prophet are seen.

The Importance of Having a Good Demeanor According to the Isl{mic Narrations

In this regards, the Isl{mic narrations – whether in regards to the person of the Prophet or in regards to the general responsibilities of all
of the Muslims – are replete with words of guidance and in this section, we shall narrate some of these traditions:

1. It has been mentioned in a Åad|th that the Prophet said:

` ` . · ·` '. ´ · .` · . ·` - ·
“Surely I was only raised up to perfect the ethical traits.”

In this way, one of the main principles behind the Bi`that (appointment) of the Prophet was to perfect the noble ethical traits.

2. In another Åad|th from the same individual , it is mentioned that:

` · ` - ¸` ` - · ` ` , ` ¸ ·` .` - · · · . ¸` , . .` .
“Surely the true believer who possesses a good demeanor shall reach to the level of the person who stands up all night in the worship and
fasts during the entire day.”

3. In another Åad|th from the Prophet of Isl{m it is mentioned that he said:

` ¸ · · ¸ . ' · ¸ ¸. ., , ` - ` ¸ · ¸ -
“There is not a single thing weightier in the scale (of deeds) than having a good demeanor.”

BiÅ{rul Anw{r,, Volume 71, Page 373
Ibid., Volume 71, Page 382
Ethical Discourse # 74 – Page 5 of 6
It has also been narrated from the Prophet that he said:

' ` . ´` - ¸. · ' ` . ´` ` - ' ··` - ' ¯ ' .. ~` . . · ¸ .. .` .. ' : . ´` . ·` ' ¸ · ' .` ` , . · ' .. ·` `
¸` , . . - . . ' ..` ` · · .¯ . .
“The most beloved of you to All{h is the one who has the best etiquette, it is that person who is the most humble and modest, that person
who is attracted to other people and whom other people are also attracted to, and the worst of you to All{h is the person who indulges in
talebearing (hearing news from one person and then going to tell that to someone else – gossiping), the one who makes differences and
divisions between brothers, and the person who tries to find faults in those people who are free of error.”

5. In another Åad|th from the Prophet it has been mentioned that he said:

` ¸` -` · · ¯ ' · - ¸ , ` - ` ¸` ` - · ..
“The greatest of things which will permit a person to enter into Paradise will be his Consciousness of All{h and his good demeanor.”

6. In a Åad|th from Im{m al-B{qir we read that:

. ' ·` .` ¸ ¯ ` ` - ` .` .` ` - '
“Surely the most perfect of believers in true faith is the one whose demeanor and etiquette is the best.”

7. In a Åad|th from Im{m `Al| ibne M}s{ Al-Rid{ we read that the Prophet said:

` . ´` , · · . , ` - ¸` ` - , · , ` - ¸` ` - . ¸ . ·` - - · . · · . , ` - ..` ` . ¯` , , ` - ..` . ¸ · ` · - · . .
“I advise you all to have a good demeanor since surely a good demeanor since the outcome of having a good demeanor is Paradise and I
warn you to keep away from having bad morals and etiquette since surely the outcome of having bad morals and etiquette is nothing but the
Hell Fire.”

From all of these aÅ{d|th we can clearly see that having good etiquette and morals is the key to paradise and is the way to attain the pleasure
of All{h i, is a sign of the power of faith and is equivalent to the worship of All{h i day and night, and the aÅ{d|th in this regards are quite

On the other hand, a bad demeanor – which is the opposite of having good etiquette and morals – has also been mentioned in the Isl{mic

1. The Messenger of All{h has said:

' ` ` , ` - ` ¸ ¸ · ¸ - ` ` ¯ ¸ · ` ` .
“A bad demeanour corrupts the (good deeds) just as vinegar corrupts honey.”

2. The Messenger of All{h has said:

` -. · ·,= - ` ¸ = ..` .` ` ·` . ` .` · , ` - ..`
“Bad etiquette and morals is a sin which will not be forgiven and having bad thoughts about another person is an error which spreads (to
other people).”

Al-K{f|, Volume 8, Page 68
BiÅ{rul Anw{r,, Volume 70, Page 288
Ibid., Volume 71, Page 382
Ibid., Volume 10, Page 369
Ibid., Volume 73, Page 297
al-MaÅajjatul Baydh{, Volume 5, Page 93
Ethical Discourse # 74 – Page 6 of 6
3. The Messenger of All{h has said:

· ` - ..` ` ¸ · · ` , ` · . ' .` . - · · ¸ `
“Surely the servant (of All{h), due to his bad etiquette and demeanor will reach to the lowest levels of Hell.”

4. Am|r al-Mo’min|n `Al| ibn Ab| ä{lib (prayers be upon him) has said:

` · ` - ` ·` · ' ¸, · .` · ` - ` · · ' · `.`
“How many times is it seen that a noble person is debased due to his demeanor while a low and humbled person is magnified due to his
demeanor and etiquette.”

5. Am|r al-Mo’min|n `Al| ibn Ab| ä{lib (prayers be upon him) has said:

· · ' · .` · ' · ` · ` - . ` ¸ ·
“One whose etiquette is bad should have the Adhan proclaimed in his ear.”

…and all praise belongs to All{h i – only the mistakes are mine. (Translator)

BiÅ{rul Anw{r,, Volume 71, Page 396
Ibid., Volume 62, Page 277