How to Treat Others

بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Salāmun ʿalaykum, may Allah bless you, your families, and all the communities around the world.

The first thing Islam says is that we should have very good akhlāq with each other. When we talk about akhlāq, good behavior and character, it doesn’t just mean to smile at people. Akhlāq includes many different things, such as being honest, doing the right thing, forgiving your friends, and covering up for them. For example, if your friend does something wrong, instead of announcing it to the world, you hide his mistake. Akhlāq also includes respecting elders, waiting in line, taking turns, and taking good care of things people leave with us. Akhlāq is very important if we want to show others about Islam.

Allah says to the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), the one who came to guide us:

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَنفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَۖ
“It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; had you been harsh and hardhearted, they would have surely scattered from around you.”
Noble Qurʾān 3:159

He tells the Prophet (ṣ) that if he had been harsh or rude, nobody would come to him. People were attracted to the Noble Prophet (ṣ) because he was so nice and kind; it was because of his good character and akhlāq that so many people became Muslims.

The Prophet (ṣ) was always seen with a smile on his face. When people would go talk to him and sit with him, they would feel so happy, and he was always the first to say salām.

In fact, the Prophet (ṣ) has said that if you want to be cheap, then don't say salām to people. So, the first thing we should do when we come home from school is to say salāmun ʿalaykum to our parents, because it's such an honor that we have been given the best word to greet each other with. Even in heaven, as people enter, the angels will first say salām to them and welcome them in. Not only that, if someone greeted the Prophet (ṣ) with salām first, he would respond with an even better reply, such as wa ʿalaykum salām rehmatullah. InshāʾAllāh we can all greet each other with salām and with smiles on our faces.

Another example of good akhlāq is shaking hands with each other when we meet each other. This is something the Prophet (ṣ) also used to do. Whenever he would meet a fellow believer, he would shake their hand gently, yet firmly, and say salāmun ʿalaykum. It didn’t matter if the person was old or young, rich or poor, he would greet everyone with a warm salām and handshake.
One of the reasons we do this is because shaking hands is a way to grow closer to each other and increase the love between us. Even after ṣalāt ul-jamāʿah, we shake hands and say “May Allah accept our ṣalāh.” This is something that creates unity and makes us stronger. Did you know that when you shake hands with each other, you get the thawāb of soldiers of Allah?

Here's something we can learn from. One day, the Prophet (ṣ) saw Shayṭān, who was looking very weak, old, and sick. The Prophet (ṣ) asked him, “What happened to you that made you look so weak like this?”

Shayṭān replied, “It’s because of your followers!”

The Prophet (ṣ) asked, “What did my followers do?”

He said, “There are 6 things that whenever your followers do these, I become weak and I cannot get them to make bad choices.”

For today, we will mention just three of these things:

  1. When they see each other, they say salāmun ʿalaykum.
  2. When they meet each other, they greet each other with a warm handshake.
  3. When they start something, they begin with Bismillāhir Raḥmānir Raḥīm.

As we can see, Islam teaches us that it is very important for us to be good and have good akhlāq with one another, just like our Prophet (ṣ) and Imāms (ʿa).
In fact, akhlāq is so important that the Prophet (ṣ) said, “I was sent as a prophet to teach everyone akhlāq.”

The whole message of the Prophet (ṣ) was akhlāq.

So, if you see Muslims frowning and being mean or rude, that's not the behavior of a Muslim. Muslims attract people with their personality and good akhlāq.
Sayyidah Fāṭimah (ʿa) would say, “Someone who is good with others, their reward is Jannah. The best of you are those who are the nicest and most loving when you meet others.”

One time, during one of the wars, there were some prisoners brought to the Prophet (ṣ). He looked at one of them and said, “Free this man.” The prisoner, who was an unbeliever, was so surprised and happy with the Prophet's (ṣ) decision!

He asked the Prophet (ṣ), “O Muhammad, out of all the prisoners, why did you free me specifically?”

The Prophet (ṣ) replied, “Because Angel Jabrāʾīl came to me and said that you have five characteristics that Allah and I love. For example, you have good akhlāq, speak the truth, and are brave.”

When the man heard this, he immediately became Muslim and later became one of the Prophet’s (ṣ) greatest friends and helped in spreading Islam.

Today we have learned how it is very important that the Islam in our hearts shows itself in our actions. It’s not enough to just tell people that we are Muslims; we have to show them.

We pray that Allah gives us the strength and tawfīq to have good akhlāq in our hearts and show this good akhlāq in our actions, inshāʾAllāh.

Authored by Sayyid Abazar Wahedi