Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Why is there so much concern with ‘manners’ (adab) in Islam?
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us that, “I was only sent to perfect noble character.” [Muwatta’ and Musnad of Ahmad]
He also said (peace and blessings be upon him), “The best of you are those best in character.” [Bukhari]
And, “Among the most perfect of believers are those best in character.” [Tirmidhi and Hakim]
And he also said, “Among the most beloved of you to me and the closest to me in sitting on the Day of Judgment are the best of you in character.” [Tirmidhi]
The Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who are the most beloved of the servants of Allah to Allah?’ He said, “The best of them in character.” [Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, Ibn Hibban, Hakim, and Tabarani]
And he told us (peace and blessings be upon him) that, “Righteousness (birr) is good character.” [Muslim, and Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad]
And, “There is nothing heavier on the Scales than good character.” [Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, who declared it rigorously authenticated (sahih), and Ibn Hibban]
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about what things enter people in Paradise. He said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “God-fearing (taqwa) and good character.” [Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban, both of whom declared it rigorously authenticated, and Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad]
This is why the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) explained the general principles and important particulars of dealing with others: social harmony and conduct has great spiritual implications.
The scholars explain that the basis of good character in one’s dealings with others is, above all to avoid harming, annoying or inconveniencing them.
The Light of Guidance, our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) explained that, “The [true] Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims are safe.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Thus, any act that harms, annoys, or inconveniences others, without sound justification, is a manifestation of bad character, and contrary to the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). When we understand the manners prescribed by the Prophet whom Allah Most High Himself described as being, “Of tremendous character,” and whose example was praised as, “The most beautiful of examples” in the Qur’an, we see that their basis is to promote the social good, and spread love and mercy between humanity.
Allah tells us:
025.064 And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing,
025.065 And who say: Our Lord! Avert from us the doom of hell; lo! the doom thereof is anguish;
025.066 Lo! it is wretched as abode and station;
025.067 And those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor grudging; and there is ever a firm station between the two;
And Allah alone gives success.