Being Considerate of Others’ Feelings

Islam
Typography

 

All praise is due to Allaah, and may His peace and blessings be upon His Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his family and Companions.
 
Allaah the Almighty has ordained this valuable religion for us and He has perfected it. He has completed His blessings upon us and approved Islaam as a religion for us. It is complete and clear, including the creed, forms of worship, dealings with others, and the Muslim’s relationship with his Lord and his own self and others. 
 
The way of life that has been set forth in the Qur’aan and the authentic Prophetic Sunnah (traditions), is not limited to only creed, worship, actions of the limbs and the slave’s relationship with his Lord. It goes further than that, and tells us to be well-mannered with Allaah’s creation, to be kind and charitable to them and to maintain a good relationship with them. And so we find that Islaam calls to being friendly with others, and to treat them well. It tells us to be considerate of their feelings and emotions according to the sublime Islaamic rules and guidelines. It is concerned with manners, morals and the social relations between individuals, explaining the duties and rights. It commands us to be well-mannered, and to choose appropriate words according to different situations. 
 
Allaah Says: {... And speak to people good [words].} [Qur'aan : 2: 83]. 
 
This is considered a part of wisdom, which when granted to somebody does them a lot of good. On the other hand, Islaam has warned us against coarseness and rudeness, negligence and harming others. We ask Allaah to grant us beneficial knowledge, and good deeds, and to help us achieve what He loves and what pleases Him. May the prayers and blessings of Allaah be upon His Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his family and Companions. 
 
The Manners of the Prophets (Allaah be please with them)
 
The act of being considerate of the feelings of others, is from the conduct and manners of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention. Allaah Says to His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 
 
{So by mercy from Allaah, [O Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allaah. Indeed, Allaah loves those who rely [upon Him].} [ Qur'aan : 3: 159].
 
Al-Qaasimi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “{So by mercy from Allaah, [O Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam], you were lenient with them.} meaning to the believers in general, as Allaah Says: {...and to the believers is kind and merciful.} [Q UR ’ AAN : 9: 128]. {And if you had been rude [in speech]} means ill-mannered and harsh in speech, and: {and harsh in heart} means harsh and coarse treating them severely and violently. {they would have disbanded} means they would have divided, and: {from about you} means that they wouldn’t have wouldn’t have felt at ease with you and therefore your Da’wah (inviting them to Allaah) would not be complete. Instead, Allaah the Almighty made you easy, forgiving, lenient, kind, and merciful. {So pardon them} for their negligence of your rights as Allaah forgave them. {... and ask forgiveness for them} completing his compassion for them and: {... and consult them in the matter} meaning at war, etc. to get closer to them and to take their opinions. Some scholars of Tafseer said: “The moral of this verse is the obligation of holding onto morals, especially; when one is calling to Allaah the Almighty and enjoining good.”” 
 
As-Si’di, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “So good manners are one of the main aspects of religion and they attract people and make them interested in Islaam. The well-mannered person is also praised and gains special reward. Bad manners repel people from religion and make them hate it. The ill-mannered person is dispraised and will be punished a special punishment. 
 
The infallible Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was addressed by Allaah on this matter, so how about others? One of the most important duties is to follow in the example of the Prophet’s morals and to treat people the way he did, with leniency, good manners, obeying Allaah’s command and to attract people to Allaah’s religion.” 
 
These are also the manners of the rest of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, as we find in the reaction of Yoosuf (Joseph) may Allaah exalt his mention when his brothers admitted their sin. Allaah Says: {He said: “No blame will there be upon you today. Allaah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.} [Q UR ’ AAN : 12: 92]. And after he was reunited with his family when Allaah had granted him power in the land, he welcomed them. Allaah Says: {And he raised his parents upon the throne, and they bowed to him in prostration). And he said: “O my father, this is the explanation of my vision of before. My Lord has made it reality. And He was certainly good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you [here] from Bedouin life after Satan had induced [estrangement] between me and my brothers. Indeed, my Lord is Subtle in what He wills. Indeed, it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise.} [Q UR ’ AAN : 12: 100]. 
 
Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Yoosuf didn’t say: Allaah took me out of the well, to be mannered with his brothers and due to his kindness. So as not to make them ashamed of what happened to him in the well. He said: {and brought you [here] from Bedouin life} and not, Allaah has relieved you of the troubles of hunger and need, due to his good manners. He assigned what happened to the cause (Satan) but not the direct cause (his brothers) even though the direct cause is closer than the other cause by saying: {after Satan had induced [estrangement] between me and my brothers.} He acted generously and was well-mannered with his young brothers. This is why the perfection of manners and behavior is only found among the Prophets and messengers may Allaah exalt their mention.” As-Si’di, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “This is due to the kindness and good speech of Yoosuf, may Allaah exalt his mention, as he mentioned his condition in prison but not his condition in the well, as he had completely forgiven his brothers and because he did not remember that mistake. As a way of easing their embarrassment, he considered the fact that they come from the desert as a sign of Allaah being good to him (He brought them to him as a favor to him). Also, he did not say to them that you came from the state of hunger and hardship in the desert nor did he say that Allaah was good to you by bringing you from the desert to me. Instead he said: {He was certainly good to me}. He assigned the good to himself. So Allaah is merciful to whom He wills from His slaves... {after Satan had induced [estrangement] between me and my brothers.} He didn’t say, Satan induced my brothers (to do what they did) instead he made it seem as if both sides played a role...” This great Prophet’s reaction shows us how deeply rooted sublime manners were among the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention and the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. May Allaah help us follow their example, achieving what Allaah Says: {Those are the ones whom Allaah has guided, so from their guidance take an example} [Q UR ’ AAN : 6: 90] May Allaah join us with them in Paradise from His generosity and mercy. 
 
Here are some examples from the Prophet’s Sunnah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that show how Islaam is concerned with protecting the feelings of a Muslim, and their psychological wellbeing.
 
Being considerate of a Muslim’s feelings in gatherings:
 
1. Being considerate of the feelings of two people privately conversing and sitting next to each other:
 
It is a form of politeness in Islaam, when entering upon a group of people in conversation whether two or more, to ask for permission to sit with them. This is because the people conversing may have secrets, and the intruding person may hear something they do not want him to hear, or he may force them to remain silent or change the topic of conversation, thereby disrupting their previous conversation. The appropriate courtesy when entering upon people is to ask for their permission, making them pleased and happy at his entrance. Sa'eed Al-Maqbari said: "I passed by Ibn 'Umar who had a man with him with whom he was conversing. I went to them, and he struck me on the chest and said: did you not know that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: 'When you find two men conversing, do not go up to them nor sit with them until they give you permission.'" 
 
Something similar to this is not to sit between two people who were sitting together without their permission. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “It is not lawful for a man to separate between two people without their permission.” His, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saying: “between two people” means to sit between them, “without their permission” because there may be love, compassion, secrecy and trustworthiness between them, and the person’s sitting in between them may disturb them. 
 
2. Being considerate of the feelings of others when privately conversing
 
Islaam forbids private conversation between two people when a third person is present, even if it is good speech. This is because it can sadden the person who is left out of the conversation and the person might think that they are saying something unpleasant about him. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “When you are three together, two should not speak together privately apart from the other one until you come together with other people because that might upset him.” 
 
An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “This indicates that it is forbidden. So it is forbidden for two people to converse privately excluding the other person unless he permits it.” 
 
Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “His saying 'until you come together with other people' means that the three people in question gather with other people. The word other is general, meaning it could be one person or more... From this we conclude that if there are four people it is permissible for two to speak privately, as the other two can also speak privately. Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, said I asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 'What about four?' He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, replied: 'It will not harm you.' When Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, wanted to speak privately with somebody when there were three of them, he would call a fourth person and say: sit down for a while, as I have heard...and he would mention the Hadeeth. In his saying, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 'because that might upset him' as the person may think that their private speech is because of their bad opinion of him or that they are plotting against him. This guides the person speaking privately to someone to avoid it when he knows that he has upset the other person, unless it is something important that does not oppose the religion. Al-Maazari, may Allaah have mercy on him, and his followers say: 'There is no difference in the meaning between two people privately conversing and a group of people as in both cases it upsets the person left out.' Al-Qurtubi, may Allaah have mercy on him, added: 'In fact the presence of a large group of people is more severe and so one must avoid this. The number of three people was specifically mentioned in the Hadeeth as it is the first number of people that can be imagined in the situation. But whenever it upsets others it has the same ruling.' Ibn Battaal, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: 'Whenever there is a larger group of people two of them are speaking in private, it is less likely to upset the one left out and he is less likely to accuse them of (them talking badly of him.)'” 
 
Al-Khattaabi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “It upsets the person because he thinks that someone else has been honored other than him and this upsets him.” 1 Ibn ‘Allaan, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “It is forbidden for two people to speak in private with the exclusion of the third without the person’s permission, unless there is a need to do so, which makes it permissible. This is because the advantage gained is assured but the disadvantage (of upsetting the left out person) is not assured to happen. Another type of private conversation is speaking in a language that the third party does not understand.” 
 
3. Being considerate of a person’s feelings by not making him leave his spot for someone else to sit in:
 
When someone sits in a place then they are more rightful of it than others, and it is not rightful for someone to make him give up in that place. This is an Islaamic etiquette that aims at being considerate of the person and his right of sitting in that spot, as he got there before others. It is affirmed to be more forbidden when someone tells the person to give up their place because they think that they are above the person who was originally in that place. This ruling is applied to all types of gatherings, however it is more affirmed in gatherings of worship as Islaam encourages us to hasten to good and to arrive early to congregational prayers. So if a person arrives before others to a general place then nobody has the right to make him give up that spot, and if someone does come and tell them to leave the spot for them to sit in, then they have combined two shameful acts. Abu Al-Khusayb, may Allaah have mercy on him, reported: "As I was sitting, Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, came and a man stood up from his place for him, but he did not sit in that place. Instead he sat somewhere else, so the man asked: Why didn’t you sit there? He replied: I would not sit in your place or anyone else’s place after something I witnessed from the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: A man came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so a man stood up from his place and the other man went to sit there. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade him from doing so." 
 
Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Do not ask someone to give up his seat in order to take it, but make accommodation wide and sit at ease.” In another narration: I said: "How about Friday?" He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “On Friday and other days.” It was a habit of Ibn `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, that if a person left his seat for him, he would not take it. 
 
Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “A man should not give up his place for another man, instead make space and Allaah shall make space for you.” Al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, said about this Hadeeth: “It is evident that it is not from Islaamic etiquette for someone to leave their place and have someone else sit in it out of respect for them. So standing up from your place in this situation goes against the Prophetic teachings. The least we can say is that it is disliked as concluded from the Prophet’s saying, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 'A man should not give up his space for another man.' this implies that it is forbidden and not disliked. Allaah knows best.” 
 
4. Being considerate of the rightful owner of a spot if he returns to it after leaving it:
 
Islaam has identified rights and the protection of rights so that opinions do not differ, and so that people do not claim what is not their right, leading to aversion and hatred. One of these rights is a person’s place, so anyone who precedes others to a certain place makes them entitled to it. If the person leaves the place due to a need and wants to return to it then he is entitled to do so, and the person who sat in his place must leave it for him. It is better for the person to leave a sign or indication that it is his place to avoid aversion and hatred. Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “If someone leaves his spot, then returns to it, he is better entitled to it.”  As there is the possibility that the person left their spot due to a need and left an indication that it was his, then comes back to find somebody else sitting in it. How will he feel in this situation? This issue is something that many people neglect, especially in gatherings held in narrow/cramped places. 
 
5. Being considerate of the feelings of the elderly, respecting them and letting them speak first:
 
This is one of Islaam’s greatest characteristics. The young person should not speak before the older person and the younger one listening to the elder person speak is considered good manners/politeness.
 
This sublime Islaamic etiquette is absent among many young Muslims, who are unconcerned with this issue in their lives. Therefore, it is essential for educators/teachers to emphasize these manners. Abu Moosa Al-Ash’ari, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Respect for Allaah includes respect for an elderly gray-haired Muslim and respect for one who carries the Qur’aan [in his heart, that is, he who memorized it] who does not exaggerate [while reciting it] and does not keep himself away from it and respect for a just man of high office.”
 
‘Ubaadah ibn As-Saamit, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “He is not from my Ummah [Nation], the one who does not esteem our elderly and does not have mercy on our young ones and does not know the right of our scholars.” 
 
‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “I saw in a dream that I was using Siwaak and two persons contended to get it from me, the one being older than the other one. I gave the Siwaak to the younger one. It was said to me give that to the older one and I gave it to the older one.” 
 
This was the Prophet’s courtesy, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in the following event that happened at the time of the conquest of Makkah. Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with her, reported: "When the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, entered Makkah and entered the Sacred Mosque, Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, came to him with his father to visit him. When the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saw him he said: 'Why didn't you leave the old man at his house and I would have gone to him there?'Abu Bakr said: 'You are more deserving of him coming to you than he is of you going to him.' The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, seated him (Abu Quhaafah) in front of him. Then he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, passed his hand on his chest and asked him to embrace Islaam and he did."
 
Sahl ibn Abi Hathamah, may Allaah be pleased with him, (a man from the Ansaar) narrated that a number of people from his tribe went to Khaybar and dispersed, and then they found one of them murdered. The bereaved group went to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to talk to him about the matter of their murdered companion. ‘Abdur Rahmaan ibn Sahl started to speak first and he was the youngest among them. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Let the older among you come forward and speak." They then spoke about the matter of their companion. Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “From this it is evident that the older person should come forward in important matters if he is competent to do so and this is what is understood from the Hadeeth. Either because the relative of the murdered person (‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Sahl) was incompetent and so the judge chose another relative to take on the claim or it could be due to other reasons.” 
 
An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “When two people are equal in virtue, the older comes first/precedes. There are similar cases to this such as Imaamah (leading the prayer) and it is optional with the Wali of a woman in marriage...etc.”
 
The scholars have also followed this etiquette. An example is Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on him, with his knowledge and piety and his high status among people. Al- Marroothi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said about him: “Abu ‘Abdullaah was one of the most respectful and full of esteem towards his brothers and ones who were older than him. Abu Hammaam came to him riding a donkey and Abu ‘Abdullaah helped him to descend from it. I have seen him do this with men who were older than him.”  [Source: islamqa.com]