Etiquettes of dialogue and speech -III

29/10/2007| IslamWeb

·        Not revealing the secrets of the gathering: If the person to whom one is speaking to clearly requests him not to reveal what took place in the gathering, or even hints at this, then it is binding upon him to honor the request, unless doing so entails harm being afflicted upon other Muslims, in which case one must inform the concerned people. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “If a person speaks to another some words, then he turns around, then it is a trust.” [Abu Daawood & At-Tirmithi] Meaning, if the person who speaks first turns left and right to make sure that nobody can hear him, then this indicates that he does not want anybody else to hear. Therefore, the one who is spoken to is not allowed to reveal what went on between the two of them, or else it is considered a betrayal.

·        Not abandoning or boycotting a fellow Muslim for more than three days: The limit of abandoning or deserting a fellow Muslim and therefore not speaking to him can only be for a maximum of three days, as set for us by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ); after that, one is Islamically obliged to talk to him.

·        Deserting an innovator or sinner for a sought benefit: Refusing to talk to a sinner or innovator can at times be beneficial, and in such a case it is permissible to do so. A close relative of `Abdullaah Ibn Mughaffal, may Allah be pleased with him, was once flicking pebbles at animals using his index finger and thumb. `Abdullaah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) has forbidden this, saying that it does not kill the game.” The man ignored him and repeated the act, so `Abdullaah, may Allah be pleased with him, said to him: "I told you that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) has prohibited this, but you persisted. I shall never talk to you again."

·        The ruling on talking to a person in prayer: This is permissible if the need arises. Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, once saw the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) praying two Rak’ahs after the ‘Asr prayer, so she sent a female slave and told her to stand next to him in order to remind him that he had forbidden praying after the ‘Asr prayer (and before Maghrib). When she did so, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) waved his hand at her, indicating that she should leave him be. After he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) finished praying, he informed her that he had been caught up in explaining certain matters of the religion to another Muslim and therefore could not pray the optional prayer after Thuhr, so he was making up for it.

·        Talking to one's wife in a pleasant manner: This is one of the means to establish harmony between the man and his wife, as well as to increase love and strengthen marital bonds.

·        A woman should not discuss her husband’s affairs except with his permission: This is based on a narration in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) forbade this.

·        It is not recommended to talk after the ‘Ishaa’ Prayer: The exception to this is if one has guests in his house, or if he is in a circle of knowledge. Abu Barzah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) disliked sleeping before the `Ishaa' (night) prayer and indulging in conversation after it.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

·        Not to talk unnecessarily: If one knows that speaking will bring a benefit or remove an evil, then he should do so. Otherwise, it is best that he remains silent. When he does speak, he should choose the appropriate words. Also, he should never mix serious topics with jokes, and avoid speaking at length.

·        Avoiding ostentation: If one is listening to a story that he is familiar with, he should not interrupt, or show that he knows about it so that others would realise this. Also, if one is addressing the masses, he should avoid using ancient language, so as to be understood.

·        Refraining from backbiting: When addressing people, one should not mention other groups or nations in a negative way, because people usually have no respect for people who do this. Moreover, the speaker should not talk about himself and the knowledge he possesses unless absolutely necessary.

·        Listening attentively: This is a reflection of respect for the speaker. One should also be tolerant during arguments and give the chance to others to speak. The speaker should alter his focus on different people in the gathering so that he looks at them all equally. Also, he should never get excited or angry during his speech.

Etiquettes of criticism:

The following are some etiquettes regarding criticism:

·        It is recommended to use a pleasant introduction when criticising the speaker, like: “Allow me to comment…” or, “We all make mistakes, and please correct me if I am wrong, but…” or, “I might be wrong, but I understood such and such from you, and I think the correct thing is …” or, “With all due respect to my beloved brother…” However, some people start off in a good manner but then ruin everything by using harsh or inappropriate words of criticism.

·        It is better to hint than criticise directly, and one should refrain from using insulting words.

·        One should endeavour to be a good listener and write down his comments. When his turn comes to comment, he should then state what he thinks to be correct.

·        Before replying to the other party, one should be calm and deliberate. He should not act stubbornly and be realistic in what he says. He should also make sure of sticking to the topic at hand and not to digress to other topics.

·        When criticising someone or something, the idea is not to prove him wrong and oneself correct; one should therefore avoid embarrassing the opponent and preserve his dignity, as it is more desirable for the person to admit to his own fault or mistake and then adhere to the truth.

·        One should not object to the words of his opponent until he fully understands what he means. Also, when talking, one should be precise and to the point.

·        If the gathering is being run by a moderator, he should give an equal opportunity to everyone to participate and should be impartial.

Etiquettes of dialogue and speech -I

Etiquettes of dialogue and speech -II