Apr 1, 2012

Muslim etiquette and the importance of time

Have you ever sat down with your family for lunch or supper and another family you know suddenly appears at the door? What do you do? You can’t leave them standing at the door and you cannot refuse someone a meal. You have to treat a visitor with respect and without causing embarrassment. You invite the family inside and offer them a seat at the table. The visiting family knows they have come at an awkward time; they will be modest with their helpings. The lesson here is to always make people comfortable when they visit your home.

Lessons in etiquette

• When you make an appointment with someone for a certain date and certain hour, be on time. Treating appointments and scheduled meetings recklessly shows disrespect. It means you can come and go as you want without regard for other people who have appointments also. People have things to do. They have made appointments also.

• If you have been delayed for some reason or other, send an SMS or email or call the other person to tell him that you are going to be late so they can make other plans.

• Never under-estimate the importance of others and be punctual yourself.

• As soon as you realize that you cannot make an appointment, let the other party know that you will be late. You don’t want to take up other people’s time

• Treat your low-priority workers with the same spirit, enthusiasm and respect as you would treat your top contractors.

• According to ‘Manners in Visiting’ published by Ahmed of Haq Islam, do not make a promise if you cannot keep it. It is disrespectful, forbidden and speaks to lying and hypocrisy. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Holy Prophet Muhamad declared that three traits singled out hypocrites irrespective if he prayed, fasted or claimed to be Muslim: If he talks, he lies. If he promises, he does not keep it, and if he is entrusted, he betrays the trust’.

• If you yourself have made an appointment with someone and you arrive at the house and they cannot receive you because of an unforeseen and unexpected event, don’t show displeasure and don’t ask for information. You don’t know the reason why the appointment had to be cancelled. Leave the premises and don’t be sour.

All of these manners and etiquette can be employed in our daily lives – irrespective of color, culture, or creed. We do not have to be of a particular faith to recognize something that can benefit us.


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