Narrated by Ḥaḍrat Abū Dardā, Allāh be pleased with him: Said the Prophet of Allāh (saw): “Nothing weighs heavier in the scale of God than the excellence of conduct.”
Excellent social behaviour is half the faith. Islām has laid tremendous emphasis on it, so much so, that according to this Ḥadīth, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) declared that there was nothing weightier in the Divine scale than excellent conduct. In another Ḥadīth, he says that whoso was not grateful to man was not grateful to God. In fact, excellence of social conduct constitutes the basis of every virtue; even spirituality is but an advanced state of good conduct. It is therefore that our Chief has laid so much stress on the improvement of social conduct and in this behalf the Aḥādīth reported are far too many to be enumerated. Besides, in so far as the expression of social ethics through individual conduct is concerned, Islām does not omit to satisfy the rights of any claimant. From God down to men and from among men, from the monarch down to the humble servant, good conduct has been enjoined on all. Rights of officers, of subordinates, of the father and of the son, of friend and of foe, of man and of beast, in short of each and every one, have been assigned. And, again, it has been enjoined to discharge these obligations in the best possible manner. Even minor and secondary virtues have not been left out.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) went so far as to say that if a person meet his acquaintances with a smiling countenance to please them, it will be considered an act of moral excellence on his part, making him worthy of merit in the eyes of God. On another occasion he advised that thorny or slippery or stinking objects, or stumbling blocks, should be removed from the way lest another brother should suffer thereby. In regard to merciful treatment of others he said, “One who showed not compassion to others would not deserve it of God.” He was personally endowed with such excellence of social conduct that he never turned down the request of anyone for help, never first let go the hand of anybody once he grasped it; he took compassionate care of orphans and supported widows, won over his neighbors through kindly treatment, attended to his poorest of companions in their sickness and gave them new heart by the charm of his comforting speech, so full of compassion and love.
A poor old woman, who lived in Medina, used to sweep the Masjid-i-Nabawī, (the Prophet’s mosque). When the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of All āh be on him) did not see her for a few days, he enquired of companions whether she was in good health. The companions submitted that she had expired after a short illness and considering that it would distress him, they did not inform him when her funeral was taken out. This grieved him to no small extent, and he complained, why they did not inform him of her death. And then he left to visit her grave and prayed for her departed soul.
This excellence of his conduct was not confined to men only. He has included even dumb animals within the fold of his compassion. He would constantly impress on his companions: “It is a good deed to show compassion to all living beings.” Once when a camel was moaning piteously under the weight of excessive load, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) was deeply moved and walking over to the beast, compassionately patted his head and told his owner that the dumb animal was complaining of his cruel treatment and that he should treat him with considerateness so that he may be shown compassion in the heavens.
Such are the manners as have been taught us by our Master. It grieves one’s heart to see many Muslims of today being so very unmindful of their social duties.
[Taken from Forty Gems of Beauty]