Smiling is a virtuous action and is regarded as and alms-giving as is mentioned in a hadith “Smiling at your brother’s face is as charity (Sadaqa)”. Abdullah ibn al Harith tells us about the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying that he had never seen someone smile at the other’s face as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do.
Be always the one who initiates greetings:
The needed skills are the hearty smile, the warm shaking of hands and the friendly welcoming to the other. Being successfully achieved, such kinds of skills are going to be rewarded, referring to the hadith: “In greetings, the better is he who initiates greeting the other”.
Umar al Nadi tells us that he went out once with Umar ibn al Khattab’s son. While walking, he found him saluting all whom he met, whether being old or young. Al Hasan al-Basri also said “Shaking hands strengthens brotherhood feelings”. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “Do not ever waste your good deeds, even by meeting your brother with a frowning face.” He said also “Shaking hands removes hatred and exchanging presents enhances love and ends enmity”.
It has a strange charming affection that captivates all senses. Hence, exchanging presents and gifts in different occasions is a pleasant habit however gifts should be within one’s tolerable expenses. Ibrahim al Zahri tells us about his father saying “ My father got a sum of money as a reward , in due , he asked me to send donations to his family members and friends . As we were about to finish, he asked me “Have we missed any one?” I answered “No!” He said “I think that we did.” He continued ”We have missed someone whose welcome to me was really warm. Would you please send him this sum of money?” Look how he loved the man and wished to reward him for his warm welcome.
Be silent….speak in what benefits.
Loud voice and chattering are bad merits. You have to be sweet-worded, tender in expressing yourself. Concerning this merit, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “The good word is a charity (is a Sadaqa).” If the good word has its own magic in winning the hearts of your enemies how powerfully it would work then with your brothers’ hearts!!
Be a good listener:
It is to listen patiently and never interrupt the speaker, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) never interrupted a speaker till he ended his speech. And he who fights for this merit gains others love and admiration, whilst on the contrary is the one who chatters and interrupts the other. Atta` tells us about how he behaves concerning this merit and says “When someone speaks to me , I listen to him as if it is the first time I have heard this subject, though I have heard it thousands of times before.
Appearance and dressing:
You have to be careful with your appearance so as to be neat, well –dressed and sweet smelling as well. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says that Allah loves beauty to be in every thing. Umar Ibn Al Khattab said also “I like the young man who is sweetly perfumed and cleanly dressed.” Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Hanbal tells us about his father saying “ I’ve never seen some one who is as caring to the cleanliness of his dress , his hair , his moustache and other undesirable body hair as Ahmad Ibn Hanbal used to do”
Being in others favor and helping them:
Good treatment classifies you as an obedient, beloved slave of Allah as the Prophet (peace be upon him) Muhammad says “The more you are in favor of others, the more you are beloved by Allah” as Allah says in the Quran “And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good” (Al-Baqarah: 195)
Offering money is the key for most of the closed doors that hinder you from reaching others hearts, especially in these days. Now I will tell you a story about the magic of the merit of generosity.
In the conquest of Makkah, there was a man called “Safwan Ibn Umia”. That man ran away after making all possible means in keeping the people of Islam and after making conspiracies to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him). Later on, the Prophet (peace be upon him) forgave him and he came back asking the Prophet (peace be upon him) to give him the time of two months to think about Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “You can take four months, not just two”. In spite of being an atheist, he accompanied the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the Hunain and Al Ta’if conquests.
In Al Ta`if, while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was dividing the booties of the war, he noticed that man looking longingly to a vast land in which a large number of cattle were flocking. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him “Do you like it?” The man eagerly answered “Yes.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “It is for you then.” Safwan said “Only a prophet could behave as generously as you have to me. I believe that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His prophet.”
Notice how the Prophet (peace be upon him) found the missing key and succeeded in moving his heart. Some people behave stingily as if they see the ghost of poverty waiting to attack them once they think about being generous in offering money.
To have a good opinion of others andto give them an excuse :
Keeping an eye on others behavior is a bad merit that blocks your way to their hearts. On the contrary is to have a good opinion of them. So, try hard to give your brothers the excuse as much as you can. Concerning this merit, Ibn Al Mubarak says also “The believer is he who gives his brothers the excuse , and the hypocrite is he who seeks their slips.”
Express your feelings… instantly:
If you loved someone, or felt good feelings about him, don’t wait, just tell him at once. Regarding this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “ If you felt the brotherly love of Islam towards any ,you should immediately go and tell him about your feelings.” He added “It is the way relations are to be strongly indicated”.
Such love is to be blessed by Allah if it is for Allah’s sake, not for any other personal affairs such as seeking high position, money, fame etc…. Unless this love is for Allah’s sake, it is a fruitless kind of brotherhood then. When they meet each other on the Day of Judgement, they are not brothers any more but enemies, as Allah says in the Quran “ Friends on that Day will be foes, one to another; except the Righteous.” (Az-Zukhruf: 67)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) says “A man is in the company of whom he loved.” By this he means that on the Day of Judgment, a person will be with whom he loved. So, we have to choose then between two kinds of societies, one is in enmity and the other is a kind brotherly one. Hence, we find that the Prophet (peace be upon him) associated the Makkan immigrants and the Medinan followers as brothers.
It was a rare kind of brotherhood that even two brothers were to be buried together in one grave after being martyred in the conquests. Means of brotherhood was always being indicated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as he says “You are not allowed to enter heaven till you believe in Allah and you will not be true believers unless you love each other. Shall I tell you something to do that indicates love between you? It is to spread salutation of Peace among you.”
The pity is that people are always either cruelly and harshly treating each other or extremely tender that they adore each other. Actually, it is a matter of striking a balance between heart and mind, something that differs according to the difference of characters and circumstances. It is absolutely a blessing given by Allah.
It is the art of being social. Here, a kind of misconception could exist between sociability and hypocrisy. Could you differentiate between the two meanings?
The Prophet (peace be upon him)’s wife, Aisha said “A man came to visit us, but to my surprise, once the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw him, he said “O…that ill- mannered man”, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) changed completely once he sat with him. He welcomed the man warmly, smiling in his face. When the man left, I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about what had surprised me; how he considered this man as being bad, and how he talked to him in such warmth? The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered “Have you ever seen me behaving as a hypocrite?”
He added “In the Day of Judgement, the worst degrees are for those whom people deserted for being mistreated by them.”
Al Qurtubi differentiates between hypocrisy and sociability, regarding sociability as a desirable legal behavior, saying that sociability means sacrificing the worldly affairs for the sake of improving either life on earth or religion, or so as to improve both, while hypocrisy aims at sacrificing religion for the sake of the worldly affairs.
Hence, being sociable for ill-mannered people is aiming to achieve two purposes:
Firstly, to avoid being mistreated by them.
Secondly, being good to them could be guidance for them to step the right way. To be sociable, means to be tender, smiling, praising to the other, intending in the meantime a legal benefit. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says “Being sociable, is as alms-giving.”
Compiled edited and adapted by Khalid Latif