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Muslaim Way Of Life (five Branches Of Deen)

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  • Muslaim Way Of Life (five Branches Of Deen)

    Of the five constitutional branches of Islam, Muslims in general nowadays regard only two branches as being integral parts of the Islam. These are Aqaa-id (beliefs) and Ibaadaat (worship). The Ulama (scholars) - - Zaahir (those Ulama (scholars) concerned only with the external dimension of Islam with only the letter of the law) consider the third branch, viz., Muamalaat (mutual dealings and transactions) also an integral part of the Islam. The Mashaaikh (of Tasawwuf -Sufi) consider the fourth branch, viz. Akhlaaq (Moral character) also part of the Islam. However, the fifth branch, viz, Aadaabul Muasharat (Social Etiquette) (Social Etiquette) has been excluded from the Islam by all three groups (Muslims in general, Ulama (scholars)-Zaahir, Sufi) excepting a few among them. In fact, it is believed that this branch is totally unrelated to the Islam. This is the view of the majority. It is precisely for this reason that the other branches of the Islam are more or less all dealt with and discussed in lectures and discourses. On the contrary, no mention whatever is made of this fifth branch (Muasharat (Social Etiquette). Hence, this branch has been assigned to the limbo of oblivion both theoretically and practically.

    The main cause for the break up of mutual love and affection is corrupt behavioural attitudes. As a result of such corruption of behaviour and manners mutual resentment and dislike for one another have set in among people. This state of affairs hindrance and eliminates tranquillity of heart which is of pivotal importance for mutual love in the members of society. The Qur'aan, Ahadith and the statements of the Wise men refute the claim that this branch (Social Etiquette) has no relationship with the Islam. Some of these statements shall be cited here in support.

    Allah (s.w.t- The Exalted) says: " O' People of Imaan! When it is said to you to give space in a gathering, then make space. When it is said to you: Stand up! then stand up" (Quraan)

    O' People of Imaan! Do not enter homes besides your own homes as long as you have not sought permission and greeted the inmates of the houses. That is best for you so that you ponder

    Then, if you do not find any one therein (in the homes), do not enter therein unless permission is granted to you. And, if it is said to you: 'Return!', then turn back. That is purest for you. Allah knows well what you are doing."

    These verses advise consideration for others, for those who happen to be present in a gathering and for the inmates of the house.

    The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that while eating in company one should not take two dates at a time without having obtained the consent of one's friends. Such an insignificant act has been prohibited solely on account of disrespect and because of dislike which this act will engender in others.

    The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the one who eats raw garlic and onions should remain aloof from us. Since the odour will be annoying to others, The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade this insignificant act.

    The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that it is not lawful for a guest to stay for such a length of time which imposes a difficulty on the host. In this prohibition, an act which causes inconvenience to others has been proscribed.

    The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that when eating in company one should continue eating until the others have completed even though one has eaten to satisfaction.

    By discontinuing to eat, those who are still eating are put to shame. It is thus clear that one should not act in any way which embarrasses others. Some people on account of natural shame, refrain from taking something in a gathering although they wish for it. Others again feel it difficult to refuse a request in a gathering although they have no desire of giving. Such persons should not be given things in a gathering nor should anything be asked of them in a gathering.

    In the Hadith it is narrated that once- Jaabir (radhiallahu anhu) came to the house of The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). On knocking at the door, The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) enquired: "Who is it?" Jaabir (radhi allahu anhu) replied: "It is me." The Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in annoyance, said: "It is me. It is me." From this we learn that statements should not be made ambiguously. One should speak with clarity to enable the listener to fully understand. Ambiguous statements which cause confusion or upset people.

    Anas (radhiallahu anhu) stated that there was no person dearer to the Sahaabah (The Prophet's companions) than The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Inspite of this, he says, the Sahaabah (The Prophet's companions) would not stand in respect for The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) because of his aversion for this mode of respect. This establishes that any etiquette, way of respect or any form of service which is displeasing to a person should not be rendered to him. One should give priority to the wishes and feelings of others not to one's own desires. Some people by their insistence to render certain acts of service to the Auliya (the friends of Allah) are in actual fact inconveniencing them.

    The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that it is not permissible for a person to intrude in the company of two people without obtaining their consent. Such intrusion divides the hearts. Thus, it is necessary to abstain from such acts and attitudes which inhibit or cause inconvenience to others.

    According to the Hadith, The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would cover his mouth with his hand or a handkerchief when sneezing. In this way he stifled the sound to avoid causing annoyance to others. This establishes that one should not annoy or scare or inconvenience one's companions by means of loudness and shouting.

    Jaabir-(radhiallahu annu) narrates that the Sahaabah (The Prophet's companions) would sit down in any place where they reached in the gathering of The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They would not pass through others in order to obtain seating place ahead. This attitude of the Sahaabah (The Prophet's companions) establishes the aadaab (etiquette) of a majlis (gathering). The slightest inconvenience to others was avoided.

    Ibn Abbaas, Saeed Bin Musayyib and Anas (radhiallahu anhum) narrate in ahadith of different categories that when visiting the sick one should not remain for a long time. The visit should be short. This narration indicates the degree to which one should go in refraining from inconveniencing others. Sometimes a sick person due to his condition suffers inconvenience by the lengthy presence of others. However, the presence of such persons who are a source of comfort or console to the sick are excluded from this prohibition.

    Ibn Abbaas (radhiallahu anhu), explaining the reason for the need to take ghusl (Bath) on Fridays, says that in the initial period of Islam most people were poor labourers. Soiled garments and perspiration caused bad odours. Hence ghusl was decreed waajib (obligatory) in the beginning. Later, the incumbency (waajib) was abrogated and ghusl for Jumma (Fridays) was retained as a Sunnat act. It thus transpires that it is incumbent to refrain from causing the slightest inconvenience and annoyance to anyone.

    In Sunan Nisaai there appears a narration in which Aishah (radhi allahu anha) speaks of The Holy Prophet's (saliallahu alayhi wasallam) exit from the house on the Night of Baraa'at. He opened the door silently so as not to disturb the sleeping ones. Similarly, he closed the door silently. He did not commit any act which produced the slightest noise. He totally abstained from any disturbance to ensure that no one's sleep is disturbed nor anyone be suddenly awakened.

    In a lengthy hadith in Sahih Muslim, Miqdaad (radhiallahu anhu) says that once a group of them were the guests of The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). After Isha (late night prayer) the guests would go to bed. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), on arriving much later, would make Salaam (greet) in such a whisper that if anyone was awake he could hear and if anyone was asleep he would not be disturbed thereby. This Hadith as well indicates the lengths to which The Holy Prophet (sailallahu alayhi wasallam) would go in order to refrain from causing the slightest inconvenience to others.

    Numerous similar narrations bear ample testimony to this fact. In the narrations of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) it is categorically stated that one should not greet a person who is engaged in eating, teaching, etc. From this it emerges that according to the Shariah (Islamic legal Code) it is detestable to divert the mind or attention of a person who is engaged in some necessary activity.

    The Fuqaha (Islamic Jurist) have ruled that it is permissible to prevent from the Musjid a person who suffers from the disease of bad odours emitting from the mouth. It is quite clear from these examples that it is essential to prevent anything which is a cause of inconvenience or annoyance to others.

    A comprehensive perusal of these proofs (of the Quraan and Hadith) very clearly shows that the Shariat (Islamic legal Code) has established a very noble system of life in which no facet of man's behaviour, attitudes and actions will constitute the slightest difficulty, harm, displeasure, detestation and ill feeling to another fellow being. His behaviour should not be a cause of worry, confusion or fear to anyone. In this regard The Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not confine this noble attitude and behaviour to only his own statements and acts, but whenever any among his close companions displayed the slightest neglect in this matter, he would compel them to observe correct behaviour. Furthermore, The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) practically demonstrated this noble degree of behaviour by the imposition of tasks and duties on the Sahaabah (The Prophet's companions).

    A Sahaabi (a male companion of Holy Prophet) once presented a gift to The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, he entered the presence of The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) without permission and without greeting. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered:

    "Go out" and say Assalamu Alaikum, and (ask permission) "may I enter?"

    In actual fact the secret underlying beautiful conduct with people is to save them from inconvenience and annoyance. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) summed up this nobel concept of behaviour and conduct most beautifully and comprehensively in the following Hadith:

    The true Muslim is he "from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe."

    Any act which causes inconvenience, annoyance or difficulty is an act of misbehaviour even though it may ostensibly be financial aid, physical labour or honour and respect according to general prevalent custom because comfort is the soul of good character, and this has priority over service which in actual fact is the outer shell. The shell minus the kernel is obviously useless. Although the Branch of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) comes after to the Branch of Aqaaid (Beliefs) and Ibaadaat-e- Fareedhah (Compulsory acts of worship), nevertheless, since a rupture in Aqaaid and Ibaadaat brings about personal detriment while a rupture in Muasharat (Social Etiquette) results in harm to others, the latter will enjoy priority over the former two from this angle. Harming others is graver than harming oneself.

    In Quraan Surah Furqaan Allah (s.w.t- The Exalted) says:

    "They walk on earth in humility and when the ignorant ones address them, they say: Salaam."

    This aayat indicates Beautiful Conduct Husn Muasharat (Beautiful Conduct) and it appears before mention is made of Salaat (Daily Prayers), Fear, Tauheed and moderation in spending. After all, there must be some reason for the Qur'aan according it priority over the Branches of Aqaaid and Ibaadaat-e-Fareedhah. This priority over Fardh (compulsory acts of worships is in regard to certain matters. However, in so far as Nafl acts of Ibaadat are concerned, Muasharat (Social Etiquette) has greater emphasis in all respect. Thus, the condition of two women was explained to The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). One woman while engaging in abundant Salaat (Daily Prayers), Saum (Fasting) and Thikr (Remembrance of Allah) was in the habit of causing difficulty and inconvenience to her neighbours. The other woman, although not engaging in an abundance of Salaat (Daily Prayers) and Saum, refrained from harming her neighbours. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) described the first woman as an inmate of Jahannam (Hell) and the second woman as an inmate of Jannat (Paradise).

    Although Muasharat (Social Etiquette) does not take precedence over Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings) ,transactions and contracts, in this respect since a rupture in Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings) also results in harm to others, the Muasharat (Social Etiquette)) nevertheless enjoys priority over Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings) from another angle. Only the elite (the Ulama (scholars)) consider the Branches of Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings) to be an integral part of the Islam. On the other hand, only the special among the elite regard Muasharat (Social Etiquette) to be included in the Islam. Many among the elite do not regard Muasharat (Social Etiquette) as being part of the Islam. Although some among them do consider Muasharat (Social Etiquette) to be part of the Islam, they do not regard it as important as the Branches of Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings). It is for this very reason that very little practical acceptance is accorded to Muasharat (Social Etiquette).

    The reformation of the baatin (the nefs; control of one's desire) has the same order (hukm) as compulsory acts of Ibaadat. The angle of priority which was explained earlier applies in this case as well, i.e., priority of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) over Muamalaat (dealings).

    Inspite of the great importance of Muasharat (Social Etiquette), numerous people among the general public and some among the Ulama (scholars) as well offer extremely little attention to it for practical purposes. Even those who give practical expression to Muasharat (Social Etiquette), totally abstain from instructing others in this regard. This state of affairs engendered in me the desire some time ago to write something on Aadaab-e-Muasharat (Social Etiquette) with which I am confronted at most times. For quite a long time now I have been verbally admonishing and directing those associated with me. In most lectures too I emphasise on these matters. There has been a great delay in preparing these arguments. In the Knowledge of Allah (s.w.t- The Exalted) the time for these arguments has been ordained for the present. I have compiled these rules without according much regard to systematic order. I wrote as things came to mind. If this rule is taught to children and even to elders, then, Insha'Allah, the pleasure of Jannat will be experienced right here on earth.


    The Shariat (Islamic legal Code) consists of five branches or parts: Aqqa-id, A'maal, Muamalaat, Akhlaaq, Husn-e-Muasharat (Social Etiquette).

    1- AQQA-ID (Beliefs), e.g., beliefs in the Oneness of Allah (s.w.t- The Exalted) and the Risaalat (Prophet hood) of The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

    2- A'MAAL (righteous deeds), e.g., Salaat (Daily Prayers), Saum.

    3- MUAMALAAT (Transactions, Contracts), e.g., trade and commerce.

    4- AKHLAAQ (Moral character), e.g., humility, generosity, etc.

    5- HUSN-E-MUASHARAT (SOCIAL ETIQUETTE) (Beautiful social conduct, i.e., good relationship with people, e.g., abstention from acts which cause others inconvenience, such as disturbing a person in his sleep.

    The above mentioned five Branches are collectively known as the Shariat (Islamic legal Code). It is essential for Muslims to adopt all five Branches of the Shariat. But, in the present age people have abbreviated the Shariat. Some have taken only Aqaa-id, believing that only the proclamation of La ilaaha il lallaahu (There is no one worthy of worship except Allah) suffices for immediate entry into Jannat (Paradise). Such persons, while they believe Salaat (Daily Prayers), Saum (Fasting), etc., are Fardh, do not obtain the good fortune of practically executing these acts of worship. Others again, along with Aqaa-id-observe Salaat (Daily Prayers), Saum, etc., as well. However, they have discarded Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings). In their transactional dealings they are not concerned with the Islam, whether their acts are lawful or not. They are indifferent to the question of halaal and haraam (lawful or unlawful) regarding their earnings and dealings. Then there are those who maintain their Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings) on a healthy footing, but are unconcerned with the reformation of their moral character. Those who are concerned Akhlaaq are exceptionally few. In fact, there are even such persons who spend considerable time to reform others while others are inconvenienced and annoyed by their behaviour and attitude. They remain unaware of the difficulty they are causing others by their actions and behaviour. They are completely uncaring about their own detestable condition. There are numerous such persons who will not venture to offer Salaam to a poor Muslim along the road. On the contrary, they (those well off) wait in expectation of the Salaam to be initiated by the poor. Some people, along with Aqaaid, A'maal and Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings), are concerned about the reformation of Akhlaaq, hence they adopt ways and measures for the treatment of their morals. But, they have discarded Husn-e-Muashrat (beautiful conduct), In fact, they have excised (remove) it from the Islam. They assert that there is no relationship between the Shariah (Islamic legal Code) and social conduct with people. They therefore, behave as they please, thinking that the Shariah (Islamic legal Code) has no say in such matters. Many people are pious with good qualities such as humility, but in Muasharat (Social Etiquette) they are lacking. They are not concerned whether they annoy and inconvenience others by their behaviour. In most insignificant things they bring about difficulty and inconvenience to others. Their attention is totally diverted from little things which cause difficulty to others while in the Hadith there are numerous incidents narrated which show that The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cared for the little things just as much as he cared for important matters.


    It should now be realised that Muasharat (Social Etiquette) is an inseparable part of the Islam. A perfect Muslim will, therefore, be one who adopts all the branches of the Islam. In all aspects he has to behave like a Muslim. There has to be no resemblance with the non-believer. People have generally understood Muamalaat (dealings) and Muasharat (Social Etiquette) to be beyond the scope of the Islam. It is indeed surprising that a person regards his dealings and his social conduct beyond the confines of Divine Law, but at the same time he acknowledges that his dealings and social conduct are governed by the laws of worldly governments. No one ever ventured to tell the state authorities that the government has no right in our private business enterprises, etc. People readily submit to governmental laws and restrictions applicable to their trade and commerce. Etc.


    The need for proper observance of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) is of greater importance than Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings). Rectitude in Muamalaat (mutual or business dealings) largely ensures the protection of material wealth while Husn-e-Muasharat (Beautiful conduct with others) ensures the protection of the hearts of the Muslims. It is quite obvious that the rank of the heart is greater than that of material wealth. In the rectification of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) is also the protection of the honour and reputation of others. After the protection of Imaan, safeguarding honour and reputation is of the greatest importance. Man is prepared to sacrifice everything in the endeavour to safeguard his honour. On the occasion of Hajjatul Wida, (at the time of Hajj) The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) declared the sanctity of the blood, honour and wealth of the Muslims. Until the Day of Qiyaamah (last day) the honour and reputation of the Believers have been declared sacred. This sanctity cannot, therefore, be violated.


    Islamic Muasharat (Social Etiquette) has no parallel. There is absolutely no need for Muslims to emulate the conduct of others. Muasharat (Social Etiquette) should not be confused with pompous styles and the possession of material goods of pride and show. Takabbur (pride) and pomp destroy the roots of Muasharat (Society). The proud man desires to be the superior of others. He will, therefore, not deal with others sympathetically and justly. The Islamic teaching of Muasharat (Social Etiquette), in contrast, inculcates humility in man. Without humility, sympathy and unity are not possible. These are, in actual fact, the foundations of Muasharat (Social Etiquette). True Muasharatis (Social life), in fact, only Islam. Consider for example, the Islamic conduct pertaining to eating and drinking.

    The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) demonstrated this conduct both verbally and practically. Thus, he said:

    "I eat as a slave eats"

    It was the noble character of The Holy Prophet (sailallahu alayhi wasallam) to eat sitting in a humble position with his body bent. He would eat quickly with relish. In contrast, we eat in great pomp and style. There is not a sign of humility on us when we eat. This type of proud conduct is the consequence of the reality (of life) being hidden from us. When the reality becomes revealed to a person and he realises that whatever we are eating is from the Court of the King of kings (Ahkamul Haakimeen) and He is observing our every act, then automatically the humble manner of The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will be adopted. When the greatness of a being is rooted in the heart' then all stages will be traversed with ease. The fact is that we lack the ability to realise that Allah (s.w.t- The Exalted) is watching us. He observes our every act. Now when Islam possesses its code of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) in a state of perfection, then what need is there for Muslims to follow the way of the non-believer? Honour, self-respect and our claim of the superiority of our Islam demand that even If our Muasharat (Social Etiquette) was imperfect (on assumption), then too, we should not direct our gaze at other cultures. Our old and tattered blanket is better than the borrowed shawl of another.


    Even in dressing, our brethren have adopted the conduct and styles of non-believer whereas there is no culture which can compare with Islam in matters of dress. Many rules and restrictions govern the dressing styles and garments of non-Muslims. They are supposed to be liberal and they always proclaim the slogan of freedom. But, in actual fact, they are fettered to numerous restrictions in both dress and eating habits and styles. While the Islamic style of dressing and eating is one of simplicity, the methods and styles of the non-Muslims have many restrictive etiquettes. Indeed, their styles are veritable prisons for those imprisoned in elaborate customary rules pertaining to dressing and eating styles. There are wonderful barkaat (blessings) in simplicity. A simple person is saved from many difficulties and hardships. Pomp and pretence bring in their wake numerous difficulties. In contrast, there is sweetness and comfort in simplicity. While everyone desires simplicity and a simple life-style, pride and the thought of disgrace prevent them from adopting a simple conduct of life. Reformation of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) is imperative since it is an essential branch of the Islam. Just as Salaat (Daily Prayers) and Saum are compulsory, so, too, is Muasharat (Social Etiquette) incumbent. Nowadays Muasharat (Social Etiquette) is not even considered to be a part of the Islam whereas in the Hadith many chapters have been compiled in this sphere of life. But, no one was prepared to pay any heed to this vital branch of the Shariat (Islamic legal Code). After ages Allah (s.w.t- The Exalted) has now opened the avenue of reformation. The Aadaab (etiquette's) of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) are continuously disappearing by the day although these are natural things. But, goodness and morality (rectitude) has in fact vanished from the hearts of people. "A greater evil is the laxity of attitude". The capacity to ponder and reflect is absent. If Muslims contemplate, their gaze will reach all sides.


    The Shariat (Islamic legal Code) aims to eliminate frustration. In every condition, the Shariat endeavours that man is at peace. Whether it be in sorrow or in happiness, it is the Shariat's aim that one should be in the state of peace, not of frustration. The Shariat teaches the way of lightening grief and sorrow. Its teachings regarding peace augment the factors of peace so that these are not destroyed. If the correct principles are adopted, no one will become frustrated. There is no frustration in the Islam whether it be in the realm of Ahkaame-Zaabhirah (the external laws) or Ahkaam-e-Baatinah (the internal laws) pertaining to soul.

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