Prominence of courtesy: ‘Best amongst you is one whose manners are best’

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By Syeda Hoor Shumail

Courtesy means showing good manners and polite behaviour. Its source is kindness and affection. One who shows courtesy is called courteous person. He is always polite and pleasant to others. He is always polite and pleasant to others and is respected by all. ‘Someone said ‘Courtesy costs nothing, but buys everything.’

Another word for courtesy is civility and one who shows courtesy is known as courteous man.  Courtesy demands humbleness and decency in conversations and behaviors.  Courtesy can be defined as aptitude of dealing others with affection and respect.  It is an act of dignity by being considerate, responsive and kind in our dealings with others.  Act of civility cost nothing but rewards a lot in return.  A civilised and courteous person is liked and bears a soft spot in everyone’s heart.  This kind and courteous person is always loved by family and friends.  Courtesy is prominent trait of a person.  Courtesy is a two way behaviour.  When you are kind to someone then you will also get kindness in return.  So courtesy is most preferable trait for being popular among society.  It can never be possible that one person is harsh and rude in his behaviour while other one is soft and kind.

Elders, seniors and parent have big role to make our society and nation courteous and well behaved by imparting and building parameters of good behaviour and courtesy in younger, subordinate and children respectively. Teachers have also great role to model our students on right path of courtesy. Value of courtesy must be kept at priority level in schools. It also has a monitoring process and regulation from government side to create healthy society.

Courtesy is of huge importance in our lives. We cannot live a smooth, peaceful and social life without being courteous. Courtesy adorns our character and outshines our personality. Courteous behaviour not only keeps us united in family but also build durable and long-lasting relations.

“Small courtesies sweeten life-greater ennoble it-Christian Nestell Bovee.”

Being a Muslim, if we look at life of Our Prophet (PBUH), we find that he was even courteous with his enemies. He never spoke harshly with anyone. That is why he became most popular and most prestigious leader in world’s history. We can also try to follow his footsteps.

There are various occasions where we can show courtesy to others. This is very simple and easy. We can frequently use courteous words like ‘sorry’, ‘thank you’ or ‘excuse me’, ‘please’ it’s ok etc. It does not take our time, force and money to use these words frequently.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Best amongst you is one whose manners are best.” Good manners are infectious. They pass from one person to another and influence whole society. If we are polite to a man, that man will be polite to others. In this way, good manners are developed in society. Lack of manners makes life dull, drab and dreary. Islam is religion of ethical codes and moral values.  Muslims are always referred by good manners, truthfulness, respect and courtesy.  Most important equipment of traveler of right way is good manner and noble deed. Devil was punished from Allah not because of lack of information and knowledge but because of ill manners.  Subject of courtesy is to make people being conscious about their actions that are being watched by Divine. So acts like courtesy, elegance and modesty become natural part of their livings. Reason due to which human beings are superior to all creatures is good manners and civility.  Our beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH) was always inclined to be gracious and kind hearted.  Some of key notes of His personality are courtesy, tenderness, simplicity, sympathy and generosity. Once he said to his wife: “0 ‘A’ishah! Never turn away any needy man from your door empty-handed. 0 ‘A’ishah! Love poor; bring them near to you and Allah will bring you nearer to Him on Day of Resurrection”

A human being gains their esteem in presence of Allah Almighty through their courtesy, elegance, good manners and modesty. This is why there is a special place for good manners and courtesy in hearts of friends of Allah. In fact, many Sufis describe Sufism as “good manners and courtesy.” For wise souls, everything in universe is manifestation of Divine power and might. In order to attain this spiritual state, human souls should be trained and refined through spiritual training.

Friends of Allah have attained such high levels of spirituality through their good manners. Imam Rabbani, may Allah sanctify his secret, says:

“None can make progress towards union with Allah Almighty without complying with measures of good manners. Way of great sufis is composed of good manners from beginning to end.” And most significant of good manners are those observed towards our Creator.

We should not forget that no matter how good our deeds are, they are like a bucket of water poured into an ocean. We should never see our worship and services as adequate in comparison to blessings of Allah Almighty. We should compare our actions to acts of companions of Prophet, may Allah be well pleased with them all. There is no one in a good manner than our beloved Prophet (SAW). Allah Almighty said in Holy Quran:  “And indeed, you are of a great moral character” (Quran, 68:4). A Muslim can’t be a true Muslim if he does his all kinds of worships, i.e. prayer, fast, zakat, pilgrimage etc. in best way but neglects an important side of his worship i.e. Adab or good manners. A person who offers his daily prayers in mosques timely and in a proper way, but when it comes to dealing with other people in his daily life he is worst person, cannot be considered a true Muslim.

Therefore, courtesy is most prominent trait of a true Muslim.  Material wealth can be lost and stolen but an act of kindness will always stay with us.  In order to achieve this goal of peaceful environment we need to be in company of good mannered and righteous believers. In short, Manners are important to fulfill our faith and also in our social life. May Allah Almighty give us strength to improve our manners and try to imitate them! Ameen.