I once overheard a mother saying to her child, “say ‘please'” and “what do you say after your older cousin gives you that bar of chocolate?”. I smiled to myself thinking how adorable it was. Even so, that had me thinking, we are all trained from a very young age, to say magic words such as “please” and “thank you”. As an adult, doing someone a favour or helping someone, we would always appreciate when people thank us. It’s not that we expect it, but hearing those words being uttered, gives us some kind of feeling of appreciation and valued.

Showing your appreciation is just one of the traits of having good manners. Manners are basic things that make us human beings cultured and civilized. People with good manners are always noticed and appreciated, and can go a long way in life. We don’t want to be remembered as anything negative, right? We want to be remembered to be good and respectful. However, it is human nature that no one can be 100% perfect, but one can definitely have at least one great quality that makes them pleasing. Good manners are learned and practiced since young, moulding us to become a well-natured human being. We are a reflection of what we put out into the world.

Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “I heard Abu al Qasim (Rasulullah (SAW)), say, ‘The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding.” (Bukhari)

1. Being kind, considerate and respectful

“Speak kindly to people, and maintain the prayer, and give the zakat.” (2:83)

What is your view on a good friend? In my opinion, it is those that is there for you in whatever situation, willing to lend an ear at times of need, and does not judge or speak ill of you in your absence. As I got older, I realized how having 800 Facebook friends is not all that, and that at the end of the day, you can only count on so little, but they are the ones that matter the most. A person’s kindness should be appreciated, and we should listen when they need it. Treat people how you want to be treated, and you will go a long way. Spend time with your families and friends without having to check your phone every five minutes. 

How you treat someone who can’t do anything for you, says a lot about you, or for whatever the reason, you might be somewhat superior. For instance, you are of high rank or status, and how you treat others ‘below’ you shows your level of compassion and empathy. Do not let certain conditions affect how you treat others.

2. Keeping your word and promises

Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) teaches us the best morals and the most useful customs, and also how to fulfill a promise and be punctual. When you make plans with someone, don’t bail on them. Just picture how she might have cleared her schedule because you made plans with her. If you do have to cancel or schedule a raincheck, make sure to apologize and let her know early and make another day plan with her so she knows you really want to spend your time with her.

3. Being patient

When you are angry, be silent. – (Bukhari)

Islam teaches us to have patience when we are inflicted with hardship and to maintain good manners no matter the company, if they are rude and harsh. Try your best to be patient and not talk back in the same tone. Indeed, patience is a virtue!

4. Controlling the tongue

Among the best characteristics of a Muslim is to speak only the words of goodness. Have you ever heard of the saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Don’t bring up someone else’s dark past when they have repented, as this could offend them. Whoever does not keep a check on their tongue will surely regret it. We need to control our tongue: gossiping, spreading rumours and backbiting destroy relationships and friendships. What all this does actually says more about ourselves, than of the people we talk about. Therefore, let us all be among the people who are strong enough to control our tongue and temper from saying things we might regret and be liable to punishment in the Hereafter. 

So remember that we are encouraged to speak what is good and beneficial, and to be careful in what we say and control ourselves from harsh words, false assumptions and causing others to argue.

5. Being responsible

Being responsible means being dependable, keeping promises and honouring commitments. When something is wrong and you know why, you should take responsibility and explain, do what you can to solve it. We should not let our families, friends and colleagues down.

6. Being on time

I’d like to think that punctuality is a form of good manners. When you are on time, you do not make anybody else wait. Imagine making an appointment with a friend to meet, but she is already thirty minutes late and you are just sitting there waiting. You probably even have other plans after that. It becomes an inconvenience to you, am I right? So try your best to be punctual and not make people wait. The same goes to attending classes, meetings, events and appointments.