Etiquettes of a Muslim’s Social Life (3)
Amongst the rights taught in Islam is to answer a call (ijaabatud daa’i). This has two meanings; one is when a brother Muslim calls then to answer him. There are reciprocal etiquettes pertaining to this as well. Accordingly, Imam Abu Haneefah (Rahmatullahi alaih) gave Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) the parting advice of not responding to a person who calls from behind because he has demeaned you. He has called you like how animals and cattle are called. “Like a person (herding animals) calling with incomprehensible sounds.” (Surah Baqarah, 171)
Not responding to such a person is not haughtiness; it is correcting that person, for calling someone from behind is really uncultured. The one calling has some work with the person in front, so he should approach from in front.
Accepting an Invitation to Meals
Another meaning to answering a call is to accept an invitation of having meals. This is also regulated with etiquette. Some people do not accept the da’wat of a poor person out of haughtiness. This takabbur is utterly reprehensible. If poor people invite a rich person then his wealth and fame should not be cause for him to refuse the invitation.
One should accept an invitation to meals without delving into the sincerity or lack of it from the inviter. There is no need for making investigations. Nevertheless, it is not permissible to accept the invitation of people whose income is felt to be predominantly haraam. Yes, if the income is mostly halaal then the acceptance of the invitation is permissible, although it will still be better to turn down the invitation as a caution to the person to discard haraam ways of income.
If the invitation is to a sinful gathering, then too, one should not accept. If the sin, such as music and singing as in vogue in most wedding gatherings, is commenced after one reaches the place, or one finds out that there is sin being committed at the venue of the invitation only after one arrives, then see if the sin is being perpetrated at the spot or place where one is sitting, or somewhere else. If it is where one is sitting then get up and leave. And if it is elsewhere then if one is looked up to in Deen, then too, one should leave. And if one is an ordinary lay person then one may eat and leave thereafter.
Similarly, the many customs in vogue at weddings render the gatherings sinful. One should not attend such gatherings. Invitations on occasions of joy or sadness, but conducted for name and fame should also be refused.
A da’wat which is in compensation for teaching Deen and in return for Ibaadat is also not permissible and not proper. This refers to da’wats given for people to come and recite Qur’aan Shareef, Kalimah, Durood, etc. and they are remunerated with assorted foods. The da’wat for a bayaan also falls in this class. Anyone who has the slightest honour and respect for the Deen will abstain from such da’wats. Yes, if the waa’iz is on journey and accepts an invitation on account of being on journey then this is something else.
Similarly, one should not accept the da’wat of zillat (dishonour/disgrace). To abstain from zillat is a commendable injunction of the Shariah. The Hadeeth Shareef states: “It does not behove the Mu-min to disgrace himself.”
Allaamah Shaami has written that the Ulama should stay away from invitations which bring disgrace to them. The reason for this is that by the Ulama being disgraced, Ilm of Deen is brought into disrepute.
The da’wat which is really worthy of accepting is a da’wat which is extended purely out of love and affection, and in which halaal food is served. Neither is it out of some custom, nor out of ostentation, nor out of pride and nor dishonourable. It is spawned by muhabbat (affection) and muhabbat only. This should also be the case with hadyah (a gift). Thus, this type of da’wat and hadyah are Masnoon. Accepting these are Sunnat as the motive is only mutual friendship and love. “Exchange gifts and nurture your love in this way.” This is a Hadeeth.
In so far as the gifts which are given out of custom are concerned, such as the gifts given at weddings, these are devoid of love and affection. Yes, something given purely out of friendship and without any condition or constraint, such a gift is permissible. In fact, utilizing such a hadyah produces Noor in the heart.
Visiting the Sick
Among the rights which a Muslim owes to a brother Muslim is visiting him when he is sick. Here, too, there are deficiencies and excesses. Some people don’t even visit a sick brother. This is a terrible neglect. Some again visit the sick, but instead of their visit bringing comfort to the sick person, they cause further takleef (discomfort/pain) to the sick person. For instance, to overstay one’s visit is takleef. The sick person has many needs and desires. By putting up with the visitor who stretches his stay the sick person is inconvenienced and put into difficulty. In the Hadeeth Shareef it appears: “Whoever visits a sick person let his stay be short.”
Nursing the sick person is something else. Here a person stays with the sick person and attends to his needs. Serving and nursing others are not obligatory upon everyone. Not causing harm and pain are binding upon everyone, however.
Some people have the habit of sitting by a sick person and blabbering away, or forcing the sick person to relate his whole story. This is also distressing to the sick person and should be avoided. “Jannat is a place where no one causes difficulty, discomfort and pain to another.”
Condoling and Attending a Janaazah
Another of the rights owed to a fellow Muslim is condoling with the bereaved family and attending the Janaazah Salaat of the deceased. There are etiquettes to guide these practices as well. Some are: carrying the bier (not passing and pushing it along as has become the bid’ah custom of today), following and putting the Janaazah into the qabr and reciting some Qur’aan for the mayyit’s benefit. This Isaal-e-Thawaab should be done in full conformity with the Shariah; otherwise it is bereft of use.
The summary of this entire bayaan is that in our social life we should endeavour to give comfort and benefit to the dead and the living. We should neither harm nor cause difficulty to anyone. Correct inculcation of these etiquettes can be attained by keeping the company of the Ahlullah. In short, all the time and in all situations be careful not to inconvenience, disturb and hurt anyone.
(Modified from Huqooqul Mu’aasharat of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alaih)