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Adab (Arabic: أدب) in the context of behavior, refers to prescribed Islamic etiquette: "refinement, good manners, morals, decorum, decency, humaneness". While interpretation of the scope and particulars of Adab may vary among different cultures, common among these interpretations is regard for personal standing through the observation of certain codes of behavior. To exhibit Adab would be to show "proper discrimination of correct order, behavior, and taste."
Islam has rules of etiquette and an ethical code involving every aspect of life. Muslims refer to Adab as good manners, courtesy, respect, and appropriateness, covering acts such as entering or exiting a washroom, posture when sitting, and cleansing oneself. According to Sahih Bukhari, Muhammad refrained from bad language; neither a 'Fahish nor a Mutafahish. He used to say "The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character."
Customs and behaviour
Practitioners of Islam are generally taught to follow some specific customs in their daily lives. Most of these customs can be traced back to Abrahamic traditions in pre-Islamic Arabian society. Due to Muhammad's sanction or tacit approval of such practices, these customs are considered to be Sunnah (practices of Muhammad as part of the religion) by the Ummah (Muslim nation). It includes customs like:
- Saying "Bismillah" (in the name of God) before eating and drinking.
- Using the right hand for drinking and eating.
- Saying "As-Salaam Alaikum" (peace be upon you) when meeting someone and answering with "Wa 'alaikumus salam" (and peace be upon you).
- Saying "Alhamdulillah" (all gratitude is for only God) when sneezing and responding with "Yarhamukallah" (God have mercy on you).
- Saying the "Adhan" (prayer call) in the right ear of a newborn and the Iqama in its left.
- In the sphere of hygiene, it includes:
- Abstention from sexual relations during the menstrual cycle and the puerperal discharge,[Quran 2:222] and ceremonial bath after the menstrual cycle, and Janabah (seminal/ovular discharge or sexual intercourse).[Quran 4:43][Quran 5:6]
- Burial rituals include funeral prayer of bathed and enshrouded body in coffin cloth and burying it in a grave.
Examples of encouraging Adab
"See you not how Allâh sets forth a parable? - A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high)...... And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability."
"Repel evil with that which is best: We are Well-acquainted with the things they say."
"And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: 'To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.'"
"Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good."
"When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things."
Hadith or (sayings of Mohammad)
Abu 'Amr ash-Shaybani said, "The owner of this house (and he pointed at the house of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud) said, "I asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which action Allah loves best. He replied, 'Prayer at its proper time.' 'Then what?' I asked. He said, 'Then kindness to parents." I asked, 'Then what?' He replied, 'Then jihad in the Way of Allah.'" He added, "He told me about these things. If I had asked him to tell me more, he would have told me more. Kitab Al Adab Al Mufard p.29 Qahwama.com [permanent dead link]
Notes and references
- Firmage, Edwin Brown and Weiss, Bernard G. and Welch, John W. Religion and Law. 1990, page 202-3
- Ensel, Remco. Saints and Servants in Southern Morocco. 1999, page 180
- Ghamidi (2001). "Sources of Islam".
- Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1513.
- Sahih Muslim 2020.
- Sahih al-Bukhari 6234.
- Sahih al-Bukhari 6224.
- Sahih Muslim 257.
- Sahih Muslim 258.
- Sahih Muslim 252.
- Sunan Abi Dawood 45.
- Ghamidi. "Various Types of the Prayer"
- Sahih al-Bukhari 1254.
- Sahih Muslim 943.
- Ghamidi (2001). "Customs and Behavioral Laws".
- Quran 14:24–25
- Quran 23:96
- Quran 7:55
- Quran 3:134
- Quran 4:86
- Bruce Privratsky, Muslim Turkistan, pgs. 98-99