March 19, 2023 had to be the worst day of my life. It is impossible to enumerate the number of things that went wrong. It began with a callous and unfeeling email from a relative, yet another blow, which really boils down to bad manners. pure and simple. I often continue to offer a hand in friendship, illustrating good manners – but only to be slapped down again by an action exemplifying bad manners.
Immediately following that a series of upsetting telephone calls. I had made reservations at a posh Edmonton restaurant for a couple, to celebrate in pre-Ramadan style. The reservations brought the couple’s great glee but then at the last minute the guy cancelled because he had. A bad day, his wife at first said she would come but she buckled under. The guy viewed himself as a great father and husband. I texted saying that he was not being considerate of his wife and son. He turned ugly, threatening me.
At the time, (pre Ramadan days), I did remember that the Islamic Faith believed in good manners. At the time I was texting a ‘typical Muslim’ – asking him for his insights (that is called lazy research). He offered a verse (one) from the Quran. But in the meantime did research on my own finding an article full of wisdom, Texted, telling of my discovery.
Me: I found an excellent source of information. There are many Hadiths as well as the Quran.
He: I cannot be expected to know about those.
Me: Okay. I just thought you would like to know. You said you read the Quran several times and once attempted to memorize it.
My most recent resource is Gary Wills’ What the Quran Meant and Why it Matters. Wills, an incredible author, has written many books, most focusing on the Christian faith. He brings excellent knowledge from all forms of intellectual and spiritual endeavor. He provides background, which Islamic scholars seem never to do. It is essential for a revert, but also those born in the faith who, too often, routinely go through the motions without understanding why and how such practices evolved.
Wills clearly and distinctly explains the fabric of the Islamic Faith as follows;
“The Quran is not a detailed legal manual. Only about five hundred to the books (6,235) verses provide legal injunctions, and even on major questions such as ritual prayer, the Quran is often vague.
By the time Islam acquired its early and later empires, the vague and sketchy elements of law in the Quran had been fleshed out as it were, by sunnah (the Prophet’s reported behavior), adadith (the Prophet’s reported sayings), qiyas (analogical extensions ijma (scholar’s consensus) and the demands of rule under the various regimes-which was like the growth of canon law under the various empires of the Catholic Church.”
This was my discovery on the Internet which proves the ultimate importance of good manners in the Islamic Faith.
“Human nature desires a society based on morals and manners which provides a stable and secure life leading to liberty and happiness for all people.
Muslims believe Prophet Muhammad had a character as a model for all humanity to follow. The Quran describes the Prophet as:
By an act of mercy from God, you O’ Prophet were gentle in your dealings with them – had you been harsh, or hard-hearted, they would have dispersed and left you – so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them. Consult with them about matters, then, when you have decided on a course of action, put your trust in God: God loves those who put their trust in Him? Quran 3:159
Following is list of 75 good manners that we can learn from the Glorious Quran, the Numbers in brackets refers to Sura or Chapter and Verse Numbers :
- Don’t lie (22:30)
- Don’t spy (49:12)
- Don’t exult (28:76)
- Feed the poor (22:36)
- Don’t backbite (49:12)
- Keep your oaths (5:89)
- Don’t take bribes (27:36)
- Honour your treaties (9:4)
- Restrain your anger (3:134)
- Don’t spread gossip (24:15)
- Think good of others (24:12)
- Be good to guests (51:24-27)
- Don’t harm believers (33:58)
- Don’t be rude to parents (17:23)
- Turn away from ill speech (23:3)
- Don’t make fun of others (49:11)
- Walk in a humble manner (25:63)
- Respond to evil with good (41:34)
- Don’t say what you don’t do (62:2)
- Keep your trusts & promises (23:8)
- Don’t insult others’ false gods (6:108)
- Don’t deceive people in trade (6:152)
- Don’t take items without right (3:162)
- Don’t deceive people in trade (6:152)
- Don’t take items without right (3:162)
- Don’t ask unnecessary questions (5:101)
- Don’t be miserly nor extravagant (25:67)
- Don’t call others with bad names (49:11)
- Don’t claim yourselves to be pure (53:32)
- Speak nicely, even to the ignorant (25:63)
- Don’t ask for repayment for favours (76:9)
- Make room for others at gatherings (58:11)
- If enemy wants peace, then accept it (8:61)
- Return a greeting in a better manner (4:86)
- Don’t remind others of your favours (2:264)
- Make peace between fighting groups (49:9)
- Lower your voice and talk moderately (31:19)
- Don’t let hatred cause you to be unjust (6:108)
- Don’t ask too many favours from people (2:273)
- Greet people when entering their home (24:27)
- Be just, even against yourself & relatives (4:135)
- Speak gently, even to leaders of disbelief (20:44)
- Don’t criticize small contributions of others (9:79)
- Don’t call the Prophet how you call others’ (24:63)
- Try to make peace between husband & wife (4:128)
- Don’t call the Prophet from outside his rooms (49:4)
- Oppression/corruption is worse than killing (2:217)
- Preach to others in a good and wise manner (16:125)
- Don’t accuse others of immorality without proof (24:4)
- Consider wives of the Prophet like your mothers (33:6)
- Don’t raise your voice above that of the Prophet’s (49:2)
- Don’t call someone a disbeliever without knowing (4:94)
- Seek permission before entering someone’s room (24:59)
- Know your enemies can become your close friends (41:34)
- Don’t wrongly consume the wealth of the vulnerable (4:29)
- Don’t turn your cheek away from people in arrogance (31:18)
- Forgive others, as you would like Allah to forgive you (24:22)
- Seek Prophet’s permission when leaving his gathering (24:62)
- Don’t hold secret meetings for sin, rather do so for piety (58:9)
- Don’t order others to do good while forgetting it yourself (2:44)
- Be patient with your teacher & follow his instructions (18:67-69)
- Don’t frown, turn away or neglect those who come to you (80:10)
- If unable to help a needy person, at least speak nice words (17:28)
- Be lenient to those under you, and consult them in matters (3:159)
- Verify information from a dubious source before acting upon it (49:6)
- Don’t remain in the Prophet’s home unnecessarily after a meal (33:53)
- Those who can should continue to spend on those less fortunate (24:22)
- Don’t enter homes without permission & return if refused entry (24:27-28)
- Don’t sit with those who mock religion until they change the subject (4:140)
- Say it’s not appropriate to talk of slander when it’s mentioned to you (24:16)
- If required to ask the Prophet’s wives, then do so from behind a screen (33:53)
- Divorce in an amicable manner instead of keeping & harming your wife (2:231)
- Punish in an equivalent manner to how you were harmed or be patient (16:126)
- Differences in color & language are signs of Allah, not means of superiority (49:13)
- Don’t take women by force, nor take back bridal gift without a valid reason & live with them in kindness (4:19)”
What effect did this acquired knowledge have? It made me proud to be of the Islamic Faith, giving me a feeling of belonging because I value the absolute importance of good manners. It did make me wish that I had Muslims family and friends who ascribed to these values. However, I was (and am) realistic. While in the UAE, I do recall being appalled observing the atrociously bad manners of most Emeriati men treating restaurant staff, hotel staff, taxi drivers and even their wives with arrogance and disdain. Of course, not every Emerati man, but a vast majority of them. On the other hand, I observe the good manners of most of my non Muslim Canadian compatriots
A compatriot is a fellow citizen or national of a country. Synonyms are: fellow countrywoman, fellow . countryman, fellow citizen, fellow national.
Yesterday I joined the secular world, visiting the Edmonton Mutant Conservatory, finding myself surrounded by extremely polite and well mannered fellow countrymen and fellow countrywomen. The Conservatory was marking the final days of a special exhibit featuring spring flowers. It is not possible to view spring flowers in the great out of doors as yet in this cold clime. It is the best place EVER, such a relief from the cold – one pyramid is tropical, one temperate and the other features special exhibits. The people I met were all such a delight, each and every one of them. One couple became my special friends for the day – I spied them sitting on a bench underneath the TEMPERATE sign.
Me: Are you temperate? Is that why you are sitting under the sign?
They: We have to admit, not exactly. We are waiting until all of the school children leave so that it is peaceful in our temperate zone.
Me: That makes sense. Are you retired so that you have time to sit waiting around on a bench
They: Yes we are.
Me: Me too. I will wait with you.
They Go right ahead, we will move over so you can sit on the bench.
We walked into the temperate zone together and had such fun. They are fellow Edmontonians. We laughed and shared stories. I told them of my reversion to the faith, telling them I had found that the Islamic Faith is perfect but many Muslims, in the practice of the faith are not perfect.
Me: So I am trying to be a New Muslim
She: Yes, a New and Improved Muslim
Me: I absolutely LOVE that. I will say I am of the NIM faith. (New Improved Muslim)
A photo of the woman and I, taken by her husband, shall be included.
Next and on my way out made a brief stop at Cafe Bloom. The looked absolutely delicious, but could not and did not order any. I did order a glass of clear liquid, prescribed by my doctor avoiding the prohibition against drinking during the fast. The tables were crowded with people, nowhere to sit. A man took pity on me inviting me to sit at his table with his computer.
He: Here, sit down in my office. I shall be leaving soon
Me: Thank you. What sort of business do you do?
He: I own the restaurant.
Me: How convenient!
We had a great chat! I promised to come back next Friday, on that day I can eat some of the delicious food. I am definitely looking forward to it.
Came home to my computer, finding my US tax return ready and waiting. I absolutely love my US tax accountant, she has been with me for years. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, even getting a refund and credit to next year’s taxes. Send the e authorization form. Still face the May 1 Canadian tax deadline and payment of many dollars. More about taxation later.
The sunset saw me breaking the fast with dates, Not at all hungry, my Iftar meal consisted of some popcorn and yogurt.
Photographs are of the incredible sunset, Muttart spring flowers and my new found friend.