· Having sincerity: Some people speak in order to display their knowledge of a certain topic, or show their eloquence. Others hate anyone except themselves speaking in a gathering. Such insincerity does not of course include teaching those who have only a rudimentary understanding of Islam, or to enjoin good and forbid evil.
· Using comprehensible words: One should not address people with words and phrases that are beyond their comprehension, or use a difficult language. He must adopt simple wording and terminology, even when addressing certain specialities or particular fields of knowledge. This is so that the common people would understand. ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Talk to people with speech that they can understand. Do you wish that people belie Allah and His messenger?” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
· Speaking slowly: The objective of addressing people is to convey certain points or ideas. Therefore, one must talk slowly enough for them to be able to grasp and understand what is being conveyed. Once, while ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, was praying, she overheard a man hurriedly narrating a statement of the Messenger of Allah . Afterwards, she, may Allah be pleased with her, remarked: “Had I finished (praying) before he left, I would have rebuked him for his haste. The Prophet would never speak quickly when addressing people. He would speak slowly and in a manner that would enable anyone listening to understand what he was saying.” [End of quote]
· Repeating important statements: Some words or phrases may prove difficult to grasp or understand the first time, and it is therefore recommended to repeat them, in order to facilitate comprehension. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: “Whenever the Prophet said something, he would repeat his words thrice, so that the meanings would be fully understood.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim] `Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported: “The speech of the Messenger of Allah was so clear that all those who listened to it would easily understand.”
[Abu Daawood] The objective of repeating one's words is to make sure that people understand the words; however, if this objective is met the first time, then there is no need for repetition. The maximum number of repetitions should be three, as it would become monotonous if it exceeded this number.
· Facing the speaker: Facing the speaker reflects attentiveness to his words. A related issue is that the Imaam who is straightening the rows before starting the prayer needs to do so whilst facing the congregation, as per the practice of the Prophet and not whilst having his back to them.
· Shunning obscene words: `Abdullaah Ibn `Amr Ibn Al-`Aas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, stated: “The Messenger of Allah never used foul speech, nor did he like to listen to it.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim] If a bad word was used in his presence, he would turn his face away to reflect his objection to it. Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: “The Messenger of Allah was even more bashful than a virgin behind her veil. Whenever he saw something he disliked, we could perceive it on his face.” [Al- Bukhari & Muslim]
· Allowing elders to initiate: When people gather for a meeting, the elders in the gathering should be given precedence, if they possess the required knowledge, to address people. The honouring of elders is of the elementary manners that Islam ordains. Sahl Ibn Abu Hathmah Al-Ansaari, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that: “`Abdullaah Ibn Sahl and Muhaysah Ibn Mas`ood, may Allah be pleased with them, went to Khaybar during the truce period (after its conquest). They then separated to perform their duties. When Muhaysah, may Allah be pleased with him, returned to `Abdullaah Ibn Sahl, he found him murdered and drenched in his own blood. So he buried him and returned to Al-Madeenah. Then, `Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Sahl, along with Huwayyisah and Muhaysah, who were the two sons of Mas`ood, went to the Messenger of Allah and informed him about the case of their (murdered) friend. `Abdur-Rahmaan, who was the youngest of them, initiated and began talking, but the Messenger of Allah interrupted him and said: “Let those older than you speak first.” So he stopped talking and the elder spoke about the case " [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
· Giving the floor to the most knowledgeable: If the need arises in a gathering for one to comment on a matter, then the most knowledgeable person present should be invited to address the issue, as he would be the most capable of convincing others, based on the knowledge Allah has blessed him with. An example of this is when Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was given priority to speak in the presence of ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaydah, may Allah be pleased with them, regarding the selection of a caliph after the death of the Prophet .
· Giving an introduction before the main point: This is especially important when one is addressing a scholar, or any other person of knowledge.
· Not interrupting the speaker: If a person enters into the presence of people whilst they are talking, then he should not interrupt them. Once Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, was advising a group of men who taught others; he said: “Address people once or twice every Friday, and the most you should address them is thrice a week… If you happen to arrive whilst people are talking, do not interrupt their speech. When they permit you to speak, address them.”
· Beginning by greeting people before addressing them: The Prophet said: “If a person begins talking to you before greeting you, then do not reply to him until he greets you.” [Abu Nu’aym]
· Refraining from lying, even in jest: It is impermissible for a person to lie, even in jest: The Prophet said: “Woe to the one who talks to people and lies in order to make them laugh! Woe to him! Woe to him!” [Abu Daawood & Ahmad]
· Avoiding talking to a person to the exclusion of a third: Ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “When there are three people present, two of them should not hold a secret counsel to the exclusion of the third, until more come to the gathering, lest this saddens him (i.e. the third person).” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim] This is because the third person may think that he is the subject of discussion, or that he is being conspired against. Two people speaking privately in a group containing more than three people is not included in this prohibition, as the prohibiting factor no longer applies. However, if there are ten people in the gathering and nine of them speak secretly to the exclusion of the tenth, then the prohibition applies. Likewise, if two people speak a different language than the third in a group of three, then the prohibition also applies.