Speaking about Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
Morality is an important aspect of Islam. In the Islamic terminology it is called “khuluq” and its plural is “akhlaq”. There are two aspects of a human being: one is “khalq” that is the physical aspect and the appearance. The other is “khuluq” and that is character, behavior and inner dispositions. Islam emphasizes that we take care of our physical appearance by keeping it clean, properly covered, healthy and nourished with Halal food and drinks. In a similar way it tells us that we should take care of our character and behavior.
قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ وَأَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ وَقَالَ أَبُو ذَرٍّ لَمَّا بَلَغَهُ مَبْعَثُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لِأَخِيهِ ارْكَبْ إِلَى هَذَا الْوَادِي فَاسْمَعْ مِنْ قَوْلِهِ فَرَجَعَ فَقَالَ رَأَيْتُهُ يَأْمُرُ بِمَكَارِمِ الْأَخْلَاقِ (البخاري )
Ibn ‘Abbas reports that the Prophet -peace be upon him- was the most generous person. He used to become even more generous in Ramadan. And Abu Dharr said that when he heard about the coming of the Prophet -peace be upon him- he said to his brother, ‘Go to this valley and hear his words.’ He returned and said to him, ‘I saw him commanding people about the noblest morals and manners.’ (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet was sent by Allah to teach the humanity the noblest morals (makarim al-akhlaq). He said,
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَكْمَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِيمَانًا أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا وَخِيَارُكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ لِنِسَائِهِمْ خُلُقًا (الترمذى
“The most perfect believer in faith is the one who is best in moral character. The best of you are those who are the best to their spouses in manners.” (al-Tirmidhi 1082)
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ يُدْرِكُ بِحُسْنِ خُلُقِهِ دَرَجَاتِ قَائِمِ اللَّيْلِ صَائِمِ النَّهَارِ (مسند أحمد
‘Aishah -may Allah be pleased with her- said, “I heard the Prophet -peace be upon him- say, ‘Indeed the believer by his good morals reaches the ranks of those who spend the whole night in prayer and whole day in fasting. (Musnad Ahmad, 23219)
عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ يُوضَعُ فِي الْمِيزَانِ أَثْقَلُ مِنْ حُسْنِ الْخُلُقِ وَإِنَّ صَاحِبَ حُسْنِ الْخُلُقِ لَيَبْلُغُ بِهِ دَرَجَةَ صَاحِبِ الصَّوْمِ وَالصَّلَاةِ (الترمذي
Abu al-Darda’ reports that I heard the Prophet -peace be upon him- say, “There is nothing in the Balance heavier than the good morals. Indeed the person of good morals will reach by them the rank of the person of fasts and prayers.” (al-Tirmidhi 1926)
There are many Ahadith that indicate the high place of morals and manners in Islam. The good morals and manners should be observed in one’s personal life as well as in one’s relations with others.
Some Ahadith on Islamic manners:
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ الْمُسْلِمُ مَنْ سَلِمَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ وَالْمُهَاجِرُ مَنْ هَجَرَ مَا نَهَى اللَّهُ عَنْهُ )البخاري
“The Muslim is he/she from whose hand and tongue other Muslims are safe and Muhajir is he/she who leaves what Allah has forbidden.” (al-Bukahri 9)
حَدَّثَنَا قَتَادَةُ عَنْ أَنَسٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ (البخاري
“None of you will be a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (al-Bukhari 12)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ لَا يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَائِقَهُ (مسلم
“He will not enter heaven whose neighbor is not safe from his troubles.” (Muslim 66)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْإِيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وَسَبْعُونَ أَوْ بِضْعٌ وَسِتُّونَ شُعْبَةً فَأَفْضَلُهَا قَوْلُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَدْنَاهَا إِمَاطَةُ الْأَذَى عَنْ الطَّرِيقِ وَالْحَيَاءُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنْ الْإِيمَانِ (مسلم
Faith has more than seventy branches (or he said more than sixty branches). The supreme branch is the statement that ‘There is no god except Allah’ and the lowest branch is the removal of obstacles from the path. The modesty is a branch of faith.” (Muslim 51)
These issues are not small; they are very important. No macro change can come without the micro change. Bad manners have sometimes drastic social affects.
Some of you may have heard of some interesting research on crime, called the “broken window” effect. Two researchers did the following test. They put one car in the poorer areas of New York, with the hood open. They put another car in a really affluent suburb in California. The car in New York got pulled to pieces within 24 hours. The car in California remained untouched for two weeks. Then one of the researchers smashed one window in the car and within a day, the car ended up like the one in New York.
They concluded that by breaking the window on the car, they essentially marked the car as “neglected” and thus people thought of it as “fair game”, even though it was in a good neighbourhood. Similarly, the authors concluded, if you allow little things to get away, like the breaking of windows, unless the window gets fixed very soon, all the windows get smashed.
Three years ago, in New York, they had a new police commissioner. He decided to implement this idea, by ensuring that the police no longer just attack the big issues, the homicides, the car stealings, the breaking and entering; but also the little things, like making sure streets were clean, fixing broken windows. The net effect? Crime rates in New York, formerly one of the world's crime centres, fell by almost one third in three years. Why does this work? By taking care of the little things, you give people a sense of security.
We observe good morals and manners to obey Allah and His Messenger. This is part of our faith. Our faith leads to good morals and manners and they in their turn reinforce our faith. On the other hand, we should also keep in mind the best da’wah is to live among people with good morals and manners. Before listening to our message people see us and our behavior. Non-Muslims sometimes say when they see the bad example of Muslims, “If your religion has not made you a good person, how can it be a good religion for us.” We have a big responsibility and we must take our actions seriously.
Reference url: http://www.isna.net/services/library/khutbahs/MoralsandMannersinIslam.html
Khutbah at ISOC - 24 Shawwal 1421/ January 19, 2001 By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Abu Hurayra reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "No human child has ever spoken in the cradle except for 'Isa ibn Maryam, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the companion of Jurayj." Abu Hurayra asked, "Prophet of Allah, who was the companion of Jurayj?" The Prophet replied, "Jurayj was a monk who lived in a hermitage. There was a cowherd who used to come to the foot of his hermitage and a woman from the village used to come to the cowherd.
"One day his mother came while he was praying and called out, 'Jurayj!' He asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He concluded that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted to him a second time and he again asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He thought that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted a third time and yet again he asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He again concluded that he should prefer the prayer. When he did not answer her, she said, 'Jurayj, may Allah not let you die until you have looked at the faces of the beautiful women.' Then she left.
"Then the village woman was brought before the king after she had given birth to a child. He asked, 'Whose is it?' 'Jurayj's,' she replied. He asked, 'The man in the hermitage?' 'Yes,' she answered. He ordered, 'Destroy his hermitage and bring him to me.' They hacked at his hermitage with axes until it collapsed. They bound his hand to his neck with a rope and took him along to the king. When he passed by the beautiful women, he saw them and smiled. They were looking at him along with the people.
"The king asked, 'Do you know what this woman claims?' 'What does she claim?' he asked. He replied, 'She claims that you are the father of her child.' He asked her, 'Where is the child?' They replied, 'It is in her room.' He went to the child and said, 'Who is your father?' 'The cowherd,' he replied. The king said, 'Shall we build your hermitage out of gold?' 'No,' he replied. He asked, 'Of silver?' 'No,' he replied. The king asked, 'What shall we build it with?' He said, 'Put it back the way you found it.' Then the king asked, 'What made you smile.' 'Something I recognised,' he replied, 'The supplication of my mother overtook me.' Then he told him about it."
Taken from Parents: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari
Sall-Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam
They were circumambulating the Ka'ba, when Ka'ab bin Ujrah asked Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Lailah: "Shall I not give you a precious gift?" A gift in the middle of that act of intense devotion? Abdul Rahman was a prominent tabayi, i.e. from the generation that came after the generation of the companions. Ka'ab, may Allah be pleased with him, was one of the 1400 Companions who were part of the Covenant of al Ridwan, a covenant to live or fall together to avenge the blood of Uthman bin Affan, Radi-Allahu anhu, who had been feared to have been murdered by the Quraish. To know this background is to get a clue to the special gift.
While Muslims were stationed at Hudaybiyah, where the covenant took place, many delegations of Quraish had visited them. Among them was Urwah ibn Mas'ud al Thaqafi. It was he who reported the extra-ordinary relationship of the companions with the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam : "I have seen Caesar and Chosroes in their pomp, but never have I seen a man honored as Muhammad is honored by his comrades."
The gift that Ka'ab gave to ibn Abi Lailah was the hadith that gives us the salawat (benediction) that we use in regular prayers. The companions asked the proper way of sending the blessings, when the verse requiring them to do so was revealed.
"Lo Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation." [Al-Ahzab, 33:56].
Then the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam , taught them the exact words, as they themselves were revealed to him by Allah.
A prophet of God is a unique person. He acts as the link between the people and their Creator. He is a human being, yet he speaks for God. The most difficult task for followers of a prophet has always been that of dealing with the prophet as a prophet. It is so easy to go to extremes. Make him divine, God-incarnate, Son of God. Or make him just another man, attributing all human weaknesses and sins to him. Religious literature of major religions in the world is testimony to these tendencies. It is a story of abject human failure in this matter.
One must contrast that with the beautiful and delicate balance presented by Islam. Here the Prophet is the perfect human being, but he is not Divine. He speaks for God but he is not God. He is the object of our gratitude, ardent love and devotion, unswerving allegiance, and deference. But he is not the object of our worship. We ask Allah to send His blessings on him which at once makes two very important statements. First, he needs Allah's blessings. Second, we cannot bless him, only Allah can. It is not possible for those who always invoke Allah's blessings for the Prophet, to degrade him to the level of other human beings, or to elevate him to the level of divinity. The benediction, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam , is a magic formula that fights both tendencies equally effectively. It also strikes at the roots of shirk, the tendency to associate partners with Allah. For we have met the perfect human being, the example to follow. And we found him to be a servant of Allah. Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam .
For centuries Muslims lovingly added the benediction, whenever they mentioned the name of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam . The hadith literature is a good example of this labor of love. For here the name of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam , is mentioned repeatedly. Yet the muhadithun never tired of writing the benediction. That was at a time when every book was written by hand, and all its copies were also made by hand. It was never considered a burden or an unnecessary interruption. A brief recent statement from a professor of hadith at one Islamic religious school captures the spirit. "The merits of studying hadith are innumerable and those interested can read Ibn Abdul Bar's book on the subject," he said. "But it is sufficient to note that through this study we get plenty of opportunities for saying the benediction, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam ."
And so for centuries this practice has continued unabated throughout the Muslim world. Also, realizing the importance of a "worthy benediction" Muslims always used the Arabic expression in other languages, be they Urdu, Farsi, Bangla, or others. For the first time in history, we find a break from this practice, and this spirit, when reviewing the Islamic literature in English.
Initially some one substituted "peace be upon him" for "Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam ." But it is not even a proper translation. Then some one thought of abbreviating it to pbuh. It, of course, did not improve the translation or the readability. Others came up with innovations of their own. One Islamic text book in English notes in the beginning: "After using the name of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims should write or say the honorific phrase, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam ...Due to limited space this honorific phrase has been omitted.. but should be inserted when reading the book." Another book goes a little further by acknowledging the "long established and cherished tradition", but then announces bluntly: "To avoid interrupting the flow of ideas, especially for non-Muslim readers, I have not followed the customary practice." A majority of recent Islamic books published in the U.S. and U.K. by reputable Muslim organizations, though, do not feel the need for any excuse or explanation, whatsoever. They simply mention the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam , as they would any ordinary person.
It is time we moved beyond our hesitations, confusions, or inferiority complexes. This is the Ummah of the Last Prophet. In every language of the world, our Prophet is Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam .