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PAYING VISITS Q33.53

Although I am a medical doctor, I hate visiting the sick in the hospital and staying long. I just worry that I am burdening the patient with my stay and would rather do a quick check-in and –out. I am also uncomfortable staying long at people’s houses for a visit. It feels like extending my handshake to the elbow. As a woman, I am aware of the hoops women jump through to make their guests comfortable at their own expense and it seems unfair to take full advantage of that.

We should not visit people unannounced unless we are extremely familiar with them. There is really no excuse why anyone will suddenly drop by in this era of cell-phones, free emails, text messages and instant messaging. This will give your host time to prepare and possibly purchase or cook/bake what to host you with. Not all homes are fully-stocked 24/7.

As much as is possible, a non-mahram male should not spend the night in the house of a couple. It inconveniences the woman who has to observe her hijab in your presence. Her house is her sanctuary, somewhere she can let her hair down and dress down. You ruin this tranquillity for her particularly when you prolong your stay; her only reprieve limited to her bedroom. Between the inconveniences of a tropical temperature and special times like breastfeeding, her hospitality can quickly turn to hostility.

Fellow women who travel with their toddlers need to be mindful of them. We should not leave them to run amok, destroy appliances, break dishes, defecate or urinate indiscriminately, and leave food crumbs in their trail. Pick up after your children.

We should also endeavour not to make a nuisance of ourselves by staying out late, disrupting the peace in the house by playing loud music or having noisy friends over. Destroying property in their houses is also a big no-no.

Narrated Abu Shuraih Al-Ka’bi quoted Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously. The guest’s reward is to provide him with a superior type of food for a night and a day and a guest is to be entertained with food for three days, and whatever is offered beyond that is regarded as charity. And it is not lawful for a guest to stay with the host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position. – Sahih Bukhari 6135

Also try to involve yourself in helping around the house and following the house rules. Take your dish to the kitchen and wash it, preferably. Clean up after yourself and make your bed. Assist by taking the children off their parents’ hands by playing with them or helping with their homework.

Do not pry into their affairs particularly if they are a couple and unless your advice is sought, or it is absolutely necessary, keep most of your thoughts to yourself. Do not take sides without listening to both sides of the story.

When preparing to leave, inform your hosts ahead of time so they can accommodate dropping you off at the airport or car park, into their plans.

As the host(ess), we are duty-bound to treat our guests kindly. Having snacks, some juice or cake handy can save us embarrassment when friends pop in unannounced. We should be patient and accommodating and try to involve our guests in our activities if they are staying for long. Time should be set aside daily to converse with them no matter how tight our schedule is.

And when they leave, we should see them to the door and try not to make our relief obvious!

So, who do you plan to visit this weekend?

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GOOD MANNERS Q33.21

The Prophet has been exemplified by Allah as our model to follow. He was the epitome of good manners and a myriad of ahadith encourage good manners and gentility. The advent of Islam alone brought some semblance of order to an otherwise chaotic and Jahiliyyah-steeped Arabia.

Narrated Masruq: Abdullah ibn ‘Amr mentioned Allah’s Prophet (SAW) saying he was neither a Fahish nor a Mutafahish. Abdullah ibn ‘Amr added, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, ‘The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.’ Sahih Bukhari 6029

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah said: the Prophet was asked, ‘What admits people the most into paradise?’ and he said, ‘Piety and good manners.’ And he was asked, ‘What lead people most to Hell?’ He said, ‘The two hollow ones: the mouth and the private part.’ Sunan Ibn Majah Vol.1,Book 37, Hadith 4246

Jabir(RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, ‘The dearest and nearest among you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who is the best of you in manners; and the farthest of you from me will be the pompous, the garrulous and the Al-Mutafaihiqun…-the arrogant people.’[Tirmidhi] Riyad-us-Saliheen Book 1 Hadith 631

image credit: harvestingkale.blogspot.com

image credit: harvestingkale.blogspot.com


Some good manners include:
• Smiling;
• saying salaam first and responding to greeting;
• offering your seat to those in need;
• exchanging pleasantries;
• listening not interrupting;
• joining the queue;
• showing courtesy by saying ‘thank you’, ‘please’, ‘I am sorry’, ‘excuse me’;
• being considerate;
• being gentle in speech and walk;
• treating people with respect;
• being neat and kempt;
• giving up your seat (when you can);
• complimenting people (without being patronising);
• following the rules (like Traffic rules, table manners, switching off your phone at a lecture or sermon, refraining from taking photographs in no-image zones, flushing the toilet after use etc );
• acting with decorum;
• introducing people to each other;
• not speaking in a language foreign to, or whispering and excluding, the third person from a conversation and so on.

I know we know all these. This is just to serve as a reminder to both you and me.

Do you have any more to add? Please drop a comment.

May Allah help us to improve ourselves and grace us with beautiful manners.