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Article appeared Friday, May 10th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (570) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Is having good manners and etiquette important? It is likely that the quote “manners
maketh man” was born to highlight the importance of having good manners. One of the
latest public uses of the quote was in the movie Kingsmen {1}. The meaning, given in
the website BookBrowse {2} is as follows:
“Today, this expression broadly means that your mannerisms and characteristics
make you who you are, that is to say people are judged by their manners and
conduct. But in its earliest use, as manners maketh man, it likely had a broader
meaning—that manners make us human – that politeness and etiquette are what
prevent us from falling into savagery.” {2}

To instill the importance of developing good manners in their students, Winchester

College and New College, Oxford still retains the motto manners maketh man since the
time they were founded in the 14th Century {2}. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon
him) encouraged and confirmed the importance of good manners in the following quote:
“The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.” {3}

Prophet Muhammad practiced what he preached – as such Michael H. Hart, a historian,

found him to be top of the list {4} of the 100 Most Influential People in the World! He is
billed to be the best of creation {3}, therefore a role model on how to be of exemplary
character, kindness, compassion, mercy, gratitude, thankfulness, abundance, courage,
fearlessness, self-reflection, and an unwavering belief in his mission as the last prophet
of God. The Al-Qur’an confirms the nobility of his character.
“You are not (O, Muhammad), by the favor of your Lord, mad or possessed. And
indeed, for you, is a reward unfailing. And indeed you are of a exalted standard
of character.” [68.2 – 68.4]

A person with good manners is often considered to be weak of character. At this point a
question can be asked – Who is it that has created and set the rules of
manners/etiquette? At one point in time, before we humans were created, we were
nothing or did not exist – now we are adults. So where did the rules of behavior come
from? God has created the standard of good behavior. Therefore, can those who do not
develop in themselves good manners and etiquette be considered as believers?

24.57 “Never think that the Unbelievers are going to frustrate (Allah's Plan)
on earth: their abode is the Fire and it is indeed an evil refuge!”
As God has created the rules of good conduct and behavior, the Al-Qur’an sets out
some rules in Chapter 24.

24.58 “O you who believe! Let those whom your right hands possess and
the (children) among you who have not yet reached puberty among ask
permission from you (before entering your presence) at three times: before
morning prayer; the time when you put aside your (outer) clothes for the
noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of
privacy. Outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move
about attending to each other: thus does God make clear His Signs to you:
for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.”

24.59 “But when the children among you reach puberty, let them ask for
permission (at all times) as do those senior to them (in age): thus does God
make clear His Signs to you: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom.”
Not only must we ourselves follow these rules but also teach our children to knock and
seek permission before entering private chambers. If there are no doors, we must stand
in a position where the inside of the room is not visible while we seek permission. Even a
husband, when entering at the three times mentioned, should knock as when the door is
opened, the inside of the room may be visible to others. A wife may be in a state of
undress and should not be taken by surprise.

24.60 “Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage there is no
blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments provided they make
not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest:
and God is One Who sees and knows all things.”
According to jurists elderly women implies those who have moved beyond being an
object of passion, but it is still better to be modest.

24.61 “It is no fault in the blind nor in one born lame nor in one afflicted
with illness nor in yourselves that you should eat in your own houses or
those of your fathers or your mothers or your brothers or your sisters or
your father's brothers or your father's sisters or your mother's brothers or
your mother's sisters or in houses of which the keys are in your
possession or in the house of a sincere friend of yours: there is no blame
on you whether you eat in company or separately. But if you enter houses
salute each other a greeting or blessing and purity as from God. Thus does
God make clear the Signs to you: that you may understand.”
As far as eating food is concerned, should there be any prejudices or discriminations?

24.62 “Only those are Believers who believe in God and His Apostle: when
they are with him on a matter requiring collective action they do not depart
until they have asked for his leave: those who ask for your leave are those
who believe in God and His Apostle; so when they ask for your leave for
some business of theirs give leave to those of them whom you will and ask
God for their forgiveness: for God is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.”
When departing from a meeting, we should seek permission. If permission is granted,
we should pray for forgiveness of the person leaving.

24.63 “Deem not the summons of the Apostle among yourselves like the
summons of one of you to another: God knows those of you who slip away
under shelter of some excuse: then let those beware who withstand the
Apostle's order lest some trial befall them or a grievous Penalty be inflicted
on them.”
This answers the question: is it important to attend a meeting where matters of religion
would be discussed? We should also not slip away without understanding and obeying.

24.64 “Be quite sure that to God belongs whatever is in the heavens and on
earth. Well does He know what you are intent upon: and one day they will
be brought back to Him and He will tell them the truth of what they did: for
Allah knows all things.”