Islam has many rules on etiquette and social conduct. It is so amazing how even the most basic sources of human interaction have been addressed, including how to speak, walk, how to dress, and the virtue of respect.
#1. Dress Code
Generally, people judge you based on your appearance. That is why it is very important for a Muslim to be conscious of his appearance. The hadith of the Prophet(Peace be upon Him) said to his companions concerning dress code: ‘You are on your way to meet your brothers, put on a nice dress and fix your riding so you appear distinct among people as a fleck [on a beautiful face]. Allah does not like roughness nor rough manners.’
Again the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘’No one will enter Paradise if they have at heart one grain of arrogance’’. A man asked him, ‘A man may like his dress to be nice and his shoes nice’. The Prophet replied ‘’Allah is beautiful and likes beauty. Arrogance is to deny rights and look down at people’’. From this we learn that it is Islamic to dress beautifully and elegantly.
#2. Smell Good
It is also good manners to smell good and be clean as highlighted in this saying of the Prophet: ‘Allah will forgive the sins of the past week for he who on Friday will take a bath, cleanse himself, put on his [regular] perfume or any perfume available in house. Then, he goes out [to Jumu’ah prayer] and does not try to separate two friends. Then he prays wherever he could and listens to the Imam.’ (Al-Bukhari) Islam is a religion of cleanliness.
#3. Entering and Leaving the House
It was a common practice of the Prophet (PBUH) to enter and leave the house with the right foot. Hence, it should be a Muslim’s habit too.
When entering or leaving the house, do not push the door violently or slam it shut. If people are sleeping, be as quiet as possible and avoid making unnecessary noise. Such behaviours are ungraceful and go against the Prophet’s preaching when he said: ‘’whoever is deprived of gentleness is deprived of all sorts of goodness’’.
Greeting has been enjoined on Muslim as a means to spread peace and love. Whenever you go to a place- be it your own house, a relative’s, or to a gathering- it is good manners to greet. The best of greetings is the one we have been taught by our beloved Prophet (PBUH): Asalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu (Peace and mercy of Allah be with you). The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘If you join a gathering, greet them, and if you want to leave, dismiss yourself. The first is no less important than the second’. (Abu Huraira RA)
#5. Keeping Appointments
When you intend to visit a person, make an appointment and stick to it. A Muslim fulfils his promise. The Quran says in the opening verse of Surah Al Maryam: ‘Oh you who believe, fulfil your promises’. Also, if a person calls to cancel their appointment with you, do not take it personally. It may be that something came up and they had no choice but to cancel. Allah (S.W.T) says in the Quran: ‘if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity’.
When you visit a person, you should not barge into the house. Islam teaches us to stay outside and announce our presence. Do not stand directly at the door so as to see what’s inside. Stand by the side and wait to be invited in. When you have been permitted, remove your shoes, greet those inside and sit where your host asks you to sit. Do not be snoopy. That is indeed a shameful and terrible act.
The manner in which you speak tells a lot about your character, as such Muslims are expected to speak in the best possible way, as exemplified by the Prophet (PBUH). Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), reported that ‘the Prophet’s talk [was so little] that you could count his words’. It is therefore not Islamic to talk too much, too loud, or too low. Talk in a simple concise manner, and do not use curse words. This is a despised habit. The prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Whoever believe in Allah and the Last Day should say something good or remain silent.'(Bukhari and Muslim)
The right hand is used for eating as was the practice of the Prophet. Also, you say ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of Allah) when starting and ‘Alhamdulillah’ (all thanks to Allah) at the end. Do not disapprove or dislike certain foods. If you do not like it, eat or quietly pass it over.
Walk at a medium pace. Do not rush too much so as to look like an object of ridicule or drag your feet so wearily that people think you are ill. Walk humbly, with dignity and downcast eyes. It is not Islamic to keep looking around at everything. This was the way of the noble Prophet (PBUH).
#10. Visiting the sick
It is the duty of a Muslim to visit his Muslim brethren in times of illness. When you visit a patient, your duty is to pray for them, and encourage them. No matter how hopeless the sick person looks, you should keep encouraging them to be hopeful. Do not say bad things and do not stay too long. Sick people need rest.
We must remember that what applies to men applies equally to women as the Prophet (PBUH) has said ‘’Women are the counterpart of men’. Hence, both men and women make the society and represent Islam.