Day to day Manners

Bahishti Zewar, Fiqh, Part 6-Etiquette and Manners, Reformation of the Heart, Deeds and their Retribution / Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Eating and Drinking
1. Commence eating by reciting Bismillah. Eat with the right hand. Eat the food that is in front of you. However, if there are several things on a platter, such as different types of fruit or different types of sweetmeats, then take whatever you wish and from whichever side you wish.
2. Always lick your fingers. If there is any gravy left over on the plate, clean it as well.
3. If a morsel of food falls from your hand, pick it up, clean it, and eat it. Do not be boastful (by abstaining from picking it up).
4. There are slices of water-melon, grapes and dates or pieces of sweetmeats on the table. In such a case, take one at a time, do not take two-three slices or two-three pieces at a time.
5. If you have eaten anything that is foul-smelling, such as raw onions or garlic, then wash your mouth thoroughly if you intend sitting or being in the company of others.
6. When preparing your daily meals, ensure that you measure all the ingredients such as rice, flour, etc. properly. Do not cook by mere estimation.
7. When you have completed your meal, express your gratitude to Allah.
8. Wash your hands before and after eating. Gargle your mouth as well.
9. Do not eat food that is too hot.
10. Always take the needs of your guests into consideration. If you go somewhere as a guest, do not remain there for so long that you become a burden on your hosts.
11. There are a lot of blessings in eating together.
12. Once you have completed eating, remove the dishes, utensils, food, etc. first and then get up. It is a sign of disrespect to get up before the table has been cleared. If you have completed eating before your companion, you should give him company. Continue eating little by little so that he does not get up hungry out of shyness. If there is any reason for you to get up before him, excuse yourself.
13. It is sunnah to bid your guest farewell till the door.
14. Do not drink water in one gulp. Instead, take it in three sips. When breathing in or out, do not do so in the tumbler. Instead, move your mouth away from the tumbler. Say Bismillâh when drinking and Alhamdulillâh upon completing.
15. Do not drink water from a utensil (or bottle) from which there is a fear that too much of water will flow out. Nor should you drink from a utensil (or bottle) which you do not know what is inside. (e.g. a bottle that is very dark in colour). There is a fear of there being insects, worms, thorns, etc. in such bottles.
16. Do not stand and drink water unnecessarily.
17. If you have to give water to others after you have drunk from it, then give it to the person who is on your right-hand side. This person will then give it to the person who is on his right-hand side. The same rule will apply if you have to distribute anything else, such as betel leaves, perfume, sweetmeats, etc.
18. Do not drink from the side of a utensil which is cracked.
19. Do not allow children to go outside in the evening. At night, close the doors after saying Bismillah. Cover all utensils after saying Bismillah. Switch off all the lights when going to sleep and extinguish all fires as well.
20. If you have to send any food or drink to anyone, cover it and send it.

1. Do not walk around with just one shoe or sandal. Do not cover yourself with a blanket, shawl, etc. in such a way that it is difficult for you to walk or take out your hands (from underneath).
2. Commence wearing your clothes from the right-side. For example, the right sleeve, the right leg, the right shoe, etc. When removing your clothes, commence from the left-side.
3. Upon wearing your clothes, recite the following du‘â. In doing so, your sins will be forgiven.
4. Do not wear clothes which reveal the aurah. (In which there is no purdah or which show the shape of your body).
5. Do not sit in the company of rich women who wear extravagant clothes and jewellery. In doing so, you will unnecessarily begin to attach importance to this world.
6. Do not consider it disgraceful to wear patched clothes.
7. Clothes should not be worn with too much of formalities and care, nor should they be dirty and untidy. Wear average clothes and keep them clean.
8. Apply oil to your head and comb your hair regularly. However, do not spend too much time in this. Apply henna to your hands.
9. Apply Surmah (kuhl) to your eyes three times each.
10. Keep your house clean and tidy.

Sickness and Tending to the Sick
1. Do not compel a sick person to eat and drink.
2. Do not indulge yourself when you are sick (by overstepping the prescribed diet of the sickness).
3. Never use amulets (ta‘wîdh) that are contrary to the Sharî‘ah, nor should you use charms, superstitious remedies, etc.
4. If someone has come under the influence of an evil eye (nazr) and you suspect that the cause of this is a particular person, then ask the person (whom you suspect) to do the following: he should wash his face, both hands up to and including the elbows, both the feet, thighs, and private parts. When this person washes all these parts, the water that falls from his body should be collected. This water should then be poured on the head of the person who has come under the influence of this evil eye. Inshâ Allah, the person will be cured.
5. A person who has been afflicted by sicknesses and diseases which are repulsive to others, such as scabies and white liver, should seclude himself from others so that he does not cause any harm or discomfort to them.

1. If you experience a fearful dream, blow on your left three times in such a way that a few droplets of saliva come out each time. Thereafter read A’ûdhubillâhi minash shaytânir rajîm three times. Also change your position of sleeping. Do not mention this dream to anyone. Inshâ Allah, no harm will afflict you.
2. If you wish to mention your dream to anyone, choose a person who is intelligent or who has your interests in mind. This is so that he does not give you any evil interpretations.
3. It is a major sin to concoct dreams.

Salâm or Greetings
1. Inculcate the habit of greeting each other by saying “As salâmu ‘alaykum” and reply by saying “Wa ‘alaykumus salâm”. All other methods of greeting are nonsensical.
2. The person who greets first receives more reward.
3. When a person conveys someone’s salâm to you, reply by saying “‘Alayhim wa ‘alaykumus salâm”.
4. If one person from a group of people makes salâm, it will suffice on behalf of the rest. Similarly, if one person in a group replies, it will suffice on behalf of the rest.

Additional notes: It is prohibited to bow when greeting by hand. If you are at a distance and you greet someone or that person greets you, it will be permissible to use your hand. However, you should also make a verbal salâm or reply. Muslim children who study in government schools should not greet in methods that are adopted by the west and non-Muslims. Instead, they should greet the teachers according to the Islamic method (i.e. if the teachers are Muslims). If the teacher is not a Muslim, one should merely say “salâm” or “As salâmu ‘alâ manit taba’al huda”. The words “As salâmu ‘alaykum” should not be used for the kuffâr. These rules apply to all Muslims.

Sitting, Lying down and Walking
1. Do not walk around in a flirtatious manner.
2. Do not lie down on your stomach.
3. Do not sleep on a roof which does not have any barrier as there is the possibility of rolling off the roof.
4. Do not sit half in the shade and half in the sun.
5. If you have to go out of the house due to necessity, walk on the side of the road. It is a sign of shamelessness for women to walk in the centre of the road.

Sitting in a gathering
1. Do not remove someone from their sitting place so that you may sit there yourself.
2. In a gathering, a woman got up from her place and went for some work and you deduced that she will return soon. In such a case, you should not allow anyone else to sit there as it is her right to sit there.
3. If two women decide to sit together in a gathering, do not go and sit in-between them. However, there is no harm if they happily allow you to sit there.
4. If a woman comes to meet you, then upon seeing her you should move a bit whereby she will feel appreciated and honoured.
5. Do not sit in a gathering like a “queen”. Wherever there is a place, sit there with humility.
6. If you wish to sneeze, cover your mouth with a cloth or your hand and try to stifle your sneeze.
7. As far as possible, prevent yourself from yawning. If you are unable to do so, cover your mouth.
8. Do not laugh too loudly.
9. Do not sit in a gathering in a proud manner. Sit with humility like a poor person. If there is any relevant thing to say, say it. However, do not speak anything that is sinful.
10. Do not stretch out your feet when sitting in a gathering.

Safeguarding the Tongue
1. Do not speak without thinking. You should only speak once you have pondered over what you wish to say and you are convinced that it will not be badly received.
2. It is a sin to address a person or speak of him in the following terms: “he has no îmân”, “may Allah’s punishment, curse, or anger descend on a certain person”, “may he enter hell”, etc. It is a sin to speak in this manner irrespective of whether one is addressing a human or an animal. If the person who has been addressed in this manner does not deserve such remarks, all these curses will actually descend on the person who uttered them.
3. If anyone addresses you in this useless manner, you have the right to reply in the same way. However, you cannot exceed what that person says. If you exceed, you will be committing a sin.
4. Do not be two-faced whereby you “play according to the tune” of one person when you are in his company, and according to the “tune” of another person when in the latter’s company.
5. Don’t ever back-bite nor should you listen to such back-biting and tale-bearing.
6. Never ever speak a lie.
7. Do not praise a person directly nor should you exaggerate in praising him in his absence.
8. Don’t ever involve yourself in ghîbah. Ghîbah means speaking in the absence of a person in such a way that if he were to hear it, he would be grieved. This is irrespective of whether what you say is the truth or not. If what you say is false, it is regarded as slander or defamation. This is even more sinful.
9. Do not argue with a person. Do not try to give precedence to what you have to say.
10. Do not laugh excessively as this causes the illumination of the heart (and countenance) to disappear.
11. If you have made ghîbah of a person, seek his forgiveness. If you are unable to do so, make du‘â-e-maghfirah on his behalf. In doing this, there is hope that you will be forgiven on the day of judgement.
12. Do not make false promises.
13. Do not laugh in such a way that the other person feels insulted or offended.
14. Do not be boastful of something that you own or a quality which you possess.
15. Do not occupy yourself with poems and poetry. However, if the subject matter is not contrary to the Sharî‘ah and you occasionally quote a few lines when making du‘â or when advising someone, there is no harm in this.
16. Do not mention things that you hear from here and there because the majority of such things are false.

Miscellaneous etiquette
1. After writing a letter sprinkle some dust onto it so that the purpose for which the letter was written is fulfilled.
2. Do not speak evil of time (complaining about the weather, climate, etc. is also included in this prohibition).
3. Do not speak too concisely nor should you speak in a very detailed manner, nor should you exaggerate. Speak according to what is necessary.
4. Do not turn your ear towards the singing of anyone.
5. Do not imitate anyone’s ugly features nor should you imitate their evil ways.
6. If you see any fault or shortcoming in anyone, conceal it. Do not mention it to others.
7. When you intend doing something, think over it carefully taking the end-result into consideration and then execute it calmly. By rushing, most tasks end up in failure.
8. If anyone seeks advice from you, advise them with that which is best in your opinion.
9. As far as possible, control your anger.
10. If you have said or spoken anything with regard to anyone, seek forgiveness from them. If not, you will be in great distress on the day of judgement.
11. Direct others towards good and prevent them from evil. However, if you have no hope of their accepting your advice or you feel that they will cause you harm if you do so, it will be permissible to maintain silence. However, continue regarding the evil act to be evil and do not associate with them unless there is a need to do so.

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