For a Merciful Society: Rights of the Muslim upon the Muslim (3/3)

For a Merciful Society: Rights of the Muslim upon the Muslim (3/3)

This is the third and last article of the series of the “Rights of the Muslim upon the Muslim”. We will continue this interesting topic about the mutual Islamic rights between Muslims and one another.


All texts of revelation have stressed good treatment, kindness and cooperation.

Right of Kind Treatment

A Muslim is always required to deal with others with high morals and pleasant manners. He should not indulge in ill actions or behaviors with other Muslims or non-Muslims. IbnMas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “A true believer is not involved in taunting, or frequently cursing (others) or in indecency or abusing.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet also warned against cursing or fighting a Muslim because these actions are contrary to the peaceful message of Islam. IbnMas`udreported: “The Messenger of Allah said, “Reviling a Muslim is fusuq (disobedience of Allah) and killing him is (tantamount to) disbelief.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Right of Good Neighborhood

All texts of revelation have stressed good treatment, kindness, cooperation, sharing happiness and sorrow, and mercifulness to neighbors. This right has been repeated in revelation to the Prophet once and once again until he thought that there will be a share of inheritance to the neighbors.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Gabriel impressed upon me (the kind treatment) towards the neighbor (so much) that I thought as if he would soon confer upon him the (right) of inheritance.” (Muslim)

Right of Visiting

The right of visiting between Muslims is most required in case of sickness or troubles. It was narrated that ‘Ali said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

‘Whoever comes to his Muslim brother and visits him (when he is sick), he is walking among the harvest of Paradise until he sits down, and when he sits down he is covered with mercy. If it is morning, seventy thousand angels will send blessing upon him until evening, and if it is evening, seventy thousand angels will send blessing upon him until morning.’” (IbnMajah)

Also, Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah said, “A believer owes another believer five rights: responding to greetings, visiting him in illness, following his funeral, accepting his invitation, and saying ‘Yarhamuk-Allah (may Allah have mercy on you),’ when he says ‘Al-hamdu-lillah(Praise be to Allah)’ after sneezing”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Right of Greeting

It is an act of Sunnah and a right of the Muslim upon his Muslim brother to greet them when they meet. Abu Hurairah (peace be upon him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“A Muslim has six duties towards other Muslims: When you meet him, you should salute him; when he invites you, accept his invitation; when he asks for your advice, give it to him; when he sneezes and praises Allah, say May Allah have mercy on you; when he is ill, visit him; and when he dies follow his funeral.” (Muslim)

Once a person asked Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him):“What (sort of) deeds in Islam that are good?” He replied, “To feed (the poor) and greet those whom you know and those whom you don’t know.” (Al-Bukhari)

Right of Accepting Invitation

It was narrated in Al-Bukhari and Muslim that Abu Hurairahsaid: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: ‘The rights of a Muslim over his fellow Muslim are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, attending funerals, accepting invitations, and saying Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah confer His mercy on you) when he sneezes.’”

Therefore, accepting the invitation, especially in occasions like marriage celebrations, are required upon the Muslim towards his Muslim brother. Some scholars considered this as an obligation upon the Muslim in case he or she is invited, provided that the place is devoid of sins such as music.

Right of Attending Muslim Funeral

The Prophet impressively clarifies that it is a right of a Muslim, even in case he is dead, to follow his funeral until he is buried. In the aforementioned hadiths, the Prophet said:

“A Muslim has six duties towards other Muslims: When you meet him, you should salute him; when he invites you, accept his invitation; when he asks for your advice, give it to him; when he sneezes and praises Allah, say May Allah have mercy on you; when he is ill, visit him; and when he dies follow his funeral.” (Muslim)

Attending the funerals of Muslim is of great reward. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said: “Whoever follows the funeral procession of a Muslim out of faith and in the hope of reward, then offers the funeral prayer for him and waits until he is placed in his grave, then he will have two qirats, each of which is like Mount Uhud. Whoever offers the funeral prayer for him then returns, he will have one qirat.” (Al-Bukhari)

Saying the Dhikr of Sneezing

Among the mutual rights between Muslims is to say “Yarhamuka Allah” (may Allah confer mercy upon you) in case the Muslim is sneezing. Al-Bukhari narrated from Abu Hurairahthat the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“When one of you sneezes, let him say, ‘Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah),’ and let his brother or companion say to him. ‘Yarhamuka Allah” (may Allah have mercy on you).’ If he says, ‘Yarhamuka Allah,’ then let (the sneezer) say, ‘Yahdikum Allah wayuslihubalakum (may Allah guide you and rectify your condition).’”


Read also:

Part 1

Part 2



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The Neglected Value of Greeting

The Neglected Value of Greeting

How important is greeting? What moral and social impacts does it have? How do Muslims greet each other?  How can we make it a habit?

In this age of technology and science, moral values and religious teachings taught in order to promote a refined society largely are neglected by all nations, and most unfortunately, Muslims are one of them.

Islamic greeting

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’

These moral downfalls are leading the Ummah toward the ditch of destruction; thus, it’s time we examine our attitude and improve it. Each community has words of greeting that are used when members of a community meet. Such greetings are to express courtesy and promote positive feelings.

The Islamic Greeting

The greetings granted to Muslims by the Qur’an hold the highest spiritual as well as moral values among the greetings of other nations.

Prior to Islam, it was common among the dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula to say, “Hayak Allah” (May Allah grant you life) and “Sabah Al-khair” (Good morning).

A person once came into the presence of Al-Husayn ibn `Ali and said, “Kayfa anta? `Aafak Allah” (How are you? May Allah keep you safe). Al-Husayn immediately corrected him in the best manner, nicely giving him the basic teaching of Islam and responding with the following words, “Assalamu qabal al-kalaamu, `aafak Allah” (Say Salam prior to talking, may Allah protect you). He then taught: Don’t give permission to anyone until he says Salam.

At another place, Al-Husayn described the reward of Salam very precisely in these words: “There are 70 good deeds in Salam: 69 for the one who says it and only one for the person who responds. One who doesn’t reply to Salam is a miser” (Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Vol. 17, Qum).

The Qur’an directs us to respond Salam in a more courteous manner:

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it; surely Allah takes account of all things. (An-Nisaa’ 4:86)

Proud and arrogant people never initiate saying Salam, considering it below their dignity to reply. They only slightly move their head and smile instead of saying “Wa`alaykum assalam” They are misers of the worst class, as per Prophetic traditions.

Al-Husayn said, “The greater miser is the one who displays misery in reciting Salam”. Not only this, but the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) declared in crystal clear terms, “Whoever does not reply ‘Salam’ is not from us,” while one hadith notes, “The principal of humility begins with Salam.”

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer) for Muslims. Additionally, As-Salam is one of the Names of Allah.

Salam is highly recommended when visiting the graves:

Salaam upon you, O people of the graves, from the believers. You preceded us and we shall meet you, Insha’Allah).

How to Say Salam?

One hadith recommends reciting Salam in a manner that each one can hear clearly. The one who initiates the Salam first is closest to Allah. Hadith literature provides us with glorious teachings in this regards.

When someone questioned who should initiate Salam, the Prophet answered, “The one who (wish to) is closer to Allah. A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting and a small group should greet a large number.”

Salam should be offered to all Muslims, irrespective of whether they are acquaintances or strangers. Saying Salam aloud to everyone in a gathering is sufficient, as it’s unnecessary to greet each person individually. However, it’s incorrect to greet only a particular person in a gathering. Additionally, always convey Salam cheerfully.

In this regard, the following conversation is worth mentioning and available in the sacred scriptures. When Yahya met Isa (peace be upon them), he began by saying, “Salam,” and was answered with, “Salam.” Whenever Yahya met `Isa, Yahya always was happy and smiling, but `Isa was sorrowful, as if he resembled a crying person.

`Isa asked Yahya, “You smile like a happy person, as if you’re secure and protected,” to which Yahya replied, “You display such sorrow, as if you’ve given up all hope.” Then the commandment appeared, “The one who smiles the most is the dearest to Me.”

If a person is at a distance where Salam may not be heard, then Salam can be offered with a hand signal.


However, it’s undesirable to recite Salam when a person is engaged in the following activities:

  • While performing salah (prayers)
  • While one is engaged in tasbeeh (glorifying and praising Allah) or dhikr; gathering for remembering and thanking Allah.
  • During khutbah (sermon), sitting together to study or listen to lectures.
  • While one is busy in reciting the Qur’an
  • During adhan; to repeat the wordings of adhan at the beginning of each prayer. It is a call to pray together in the Mosque.
  • While doing du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer)
  • While occupied in discussion or research of religious sciences
  • While a judge is delivering a verdict
  • While eating or drinking
  • While reciting talbiyah during the Hajj .

Unpleasant Practices

If one says, “Convey my Salam to your parents,” don’t reply on behalf of your parents, as you aren’t authorized and have no right to do that. An amazing practice prevalent on written invitations is, “Salam from our late parents.”

Does anyone have the power to visit, meet and hear Salam from the deceased and then forward it to others? All credit goes to the silly writer who designed such a text and which others blindly follow.

Another unpleasant practice very common today is using “Hi” instead of Salam in email and SMS prior to beginning a conversation.

Salam is also done by embracing a person and drawing him close to you upon meeting him after returning from a journey or after a long absence. Using both arms, hug the person around the neck and shoulders and draw him toward your chest. Men may practice this Sunnah with men and women can do it with women.

Always say Salam when visiting or telephoning others and care should be taken not to visit or phone anyone during times of rest or salah.

Additionally, never enter a home – no matter whose it is – without permission. To ask permission to enter, ring the bell and when the person of the house enquires as to who’s there, say Salam aloud and give your name, instead of saying, “Me,” as the Prophet instructed.

If you realize the one inside has heard your ring or voice and is purposely ignoring it, then repeat the ring three times. If there’s no permission or answer, then as per the Hadith, you must return.



Dr. Qazi Shaikh Abbas Borhany is an attorney, a religious scholar and a member of Pakistan’s Ulama Council. He received a doctorate in the United States at NDI and a Shahadat Al-Aalamiyah in Najaf, Iraq.


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Greet Everyone with a Smile

Greet Everyone with a Smile

By Mohammad Yacoob

smileGreet Everyone with a Smile

A simple act that can make a dramatic difference and help human beings during the most challenging segments of their lives is smiling. The untapped powers of smile when uncovered, inspire people during difficult times. Human beings are part of a naturally smiling species and by using smiling powers can positively impact any situation in life. The three-dimensional ultrasound technology, image shows developing babies appear to smile even in the womb, and continue to smile in response to the sound of the human voice.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) on many occasions demonstrated that smiling is good for human beings. His companion, Abdullah ibn Harith, once said in one of the Ahadith, “I never came across a person who smiled as Prophet Muhammad.” Prophet Muhammad regarded smiling to a brother as an act of charity. Another companion, Jarir ibn Abdullah said, “The Messenger of God never refused me permission to see him since I embraced Islam and never looked at me except with a smile (on his face).”

Prophet Muhammad told all of us in a very positive way to smile more, and in the process earn blessings of Allah. A smile is a beautiful and powerful gesture. It conveys the greatest emotional side of life. Smiling is an art. We must change our attitude and frame of mind and learn how to smile better to give the highest positive emotional message to the person we are facing at that very moment. A genuine smile lights up the world. Prophet Muhammad taught this.

Prophet Muhammad said that even a smile is charity, and this hadith I had taken to heart several decades ago and started smiling to display my high Islamic spirits. Putting on a smile while talking to others, reading a book, listening to a humorous anecdote, greeting others, have helped me become more comfortable with others. I have found that the attitude of others changes when you smile; make things happier. This prophetic tradition has helped me become a better person.

Being an engineer and a physicist, I made a decision more than forty years ago, to put my smile to test and conduct an experiment. People sometimes tend to give you a look questioning a smile, feeling threatened by it, posing questions, expressing them through their eyes by rolling their eyes or body gestures. My smile must help bring a little happiness and not pose a threat or questions, so, I augmented it with a gesture of salutation by raising my hand and softly touching my forehead, announcing indirectly the absence of a spurious smile.

I would like to give a few examples from my own life that make me say Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar. Once, I pulled my car out of the driveway and got on the street. In front of me, approximately 100 feet away, young neighbourhood boys were playing hockey on the street using hockey sticks and a puck. A hockey puck is a disk that serves the same functions in various games as a ball does. I had unwaveringly made up my mind more than forty years ago that I would smile in the face of a challenging situation.

I could have blown my horn to alert the boys. My earlier experience, based on watching frowning faces of playful boys, hideous glances and taunting words, appeared in front of my eyes, a direct result of horn blowing. The situation needed a smile and a salutation. I slowed down, reduced my speed to less than ten miles, and approached the street crowd. The boys were busy playing. I smiled at one of the boys, who directed others to move. One boy uttered a few words. I turned my face towards him, smiled and raised my hand, positioned it softly on my forehead. His reaction startled me; he shouted directions at other boys. They scrambled and formed two lines, one on each side of the street and saluted me as I was driving away. Allahu Akbar. A smile and the confirmation that I was smiling with sincerity helped communicating with the young boys.

Almost twenty years ago, I got involved in a car accident when a driver cut in front of me and compelled me to blow the horn for more than five seconds. The other driver moved back into his lane and gave a dirty look. I smiled, raised my hand and saluted him. His attitude changed. He rolled down his window and said, sorry.

On one occasion, I noticed the driver in the car on the opposite side of the street, taking a right turn. A driver coming out of the parking lot of the gas/petrol station on the corner suddenly came on the street. I used the horn to warn the driver making the right turn to get his attention not to hit the car coming out of the petrol station or to move in the lane I was about to enter. Hearing the horn, he slammed hard on the car brakes, his car shook; the other car sped away. I completed the left turn and the other driver took the right turn. I smiled and saluted him while watching his furious look when we both were next to each other. He changed his mood, rolled down his window and said, “Thank you, you saved my life.”

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent down as a mercy to mankind. He showed us ways to achieve Taqwa, greater God-consciousness and nearness to God. He made us aware of other ways to improve ourselves to bring tranquillity and peace in this world and serve humanity. One of the tools he provided us is the use of a smile.

I love to smile. May Allah give me the strength to face the angel of death – Malak al-Maut – when he arrives. I like to welcome him with a smile and would like to leave this world with a smile on my face.


Mohammad Yacoob is a retired industrial engineer and engineering proposals analyst who lives in Los Angeles, California.

Adapted with editorial adjustments from

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