MANNERS OF EATING
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, Suratul Baqarah, verse 172:
"O, you who believe! Eat of the good things with which We have provided you, and give thanks to Allah." (2:172)
Before you sit down to eat, you should make sure that the food is 'of the good things', that is, it is Halaal.
Do not eat in a place where alcohol is present.
Do not keep yourself busy in eating so much that the food prevents you from worshipping Allah. The reason for you to eat should be to get strength to worship Allah.
Do not eat when you are full. You should stop eating before your stomach is completely full.
Before you sit down to eat wash your hands. It is better not to dry them on a towel, but to leave them wet.
Sit at the table and wait for everyone else.
Before you start to eat say:
and take a pinch of salt.
Take small bites with you right hand and chew the food properly with your mouth closed before swallowing it.
If the food is hot, do not blow on it. Wait for it to cool itself.
Do not talk with your mouth full, nor stare at others eating.
Only get up from the table when you have finished everything on your plate. (Make sure you only put what you will be able to finish). Before getting up take another pinch of salt and say:
All praise is to Allah.
Rinse your mouth, wash your hands and dry them with a towel.
Before you go into the toilet you should wear some slippers, because the floor may be najis and your feet will also get najis.
Enter the toilet with your left foot.
Put some water into a jug, before you sit on the toilet.
If you go to the toilet at school or somewhere else where there is no water to wash yourself with then after you have done your wee-wee clean yourself with a tissue.
You should carry a little bottle with you, which you can fill with water, to use in these places.
If you used tissue remember to tell your mummy that you used tissue and not water, because your underwear is najis and needs to be washed.
Make sure that when you go to the toilet, you sit on the seat. Allah does not like anyone to stand and do wee-wee.
When you have finished, was yourself 2 times, better still 3 times, if there is enough water.
Get off the toilet and put your clothes on again. Then flush the toilet.
Wash your hands and wipe them dry.
Leave the toilet with your left foot.
Remember that when you are sitting on the toilet you should not face or have your back to Qibla. If the toilet is facing Qibla then sit a little sideways.
Remember not to talk while you are on the toilet.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an in Suratun Najm, verse 39:
"Man will not get anything unless he works hard." (53:39)
We can not make any progress unless we work hard.
A farmer who ploughs the farm, sows seeds in it and waters them, is soon rewarded with crops.
We have only to look at the life of our Holy Prophet to understand how important it is for each and every person to work hard and not rely on others.
The Prophet was once travelling with his companions. They stopped at a place to have something to eat and rest. They decided to slaughter a sheep and roast it.
One of them said: "I shall do the slaughtering."
The other said "I shall remove the skin."
The third said "I shall do the roasting."
Each one volunteered to do one bit of the work.
The Prophet said: "I shall collect and bring the firewood from the forest."
The companions said: "O Prophet, you need not take the trouble. We shall attend to everything."
The Prophet replied "I know you can do everything. But I do not like to enjoy a special treatment from you. Thus the Prophet went and brought firewood from the forest.
Islam regards hard work a duty!
HONESTY / LYING
Honesty means truthfulness - in your words and actions.
Lying is the opposite of honesty.
Allah forbids us to lie. It is Haraam. Whether it is a big or a small lie, whether it is done in seriousness or jokingly. It is Haraam!
A perfect example of honesty is our Holy Prophet Muhammad (S), who was known as the truthful one even by his enemies.
Once a man came to the Holy Prophet and told him that he was committing many sins like drinking, gambling, stealing...And now he had decided to became a Muslim but he could only give up one of the sins at a time.
The Holy Prophet told him to give up lying.
The man agreed, thinking he had got of lightly.
Now the next day, when the man went to do something wrong (stealing), he stopped and thought. If he got caught, he would not be able to deny it because he could not lie. And even if he did not get caught, how would he be able to face the Holy Prophet and tell him all the wrong he had done. It would be so embarrassing.
So by giving up lying the man also gave up his other sins.
One lie usually leads to another, as you try to cover your tracks. Therefore it is better to tell the truth at the beginning. Otherwise you will soon develop the habit of lying without even thinking about it.
Allah knows everything, so although you may think you have got away with telling a lie and no-one knows, remember Allah knows and He is who you have to go back to.
Therefore it is better to tell the truth and be punished if you have done something wrong; than to lie and be punished in the hereafter for the lie and whatever wrong you had done.
So remember lying is Haraam. Whether it is a big or a small lie, whether it is done in seriousness or jokingly, it is Haraam!
TO LOOK AFTER OTHERS PROPERTY
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, Suratul Mu'minun verse 8:
"Surely only those believers, who guard the properties of others entrusted to them and keep their promises have achieved success." (23:8)
The above verse tells us that those who are successful believers are the ones that take proper care of things that have been trusted to them and keep their promises.
Things that have been left in your trust can be left on purpose or by mistake. eg. Someone can give you something to look after, or to give to someone; or they may have forgotten something at your house.
In both cases you have to take proper care of the thing until you have given it to whom it belongs.
The thing that has been left in your trust can be big or small. eg. When the Holy Prophet (S) asked Jabir to give his Salaams to his great great grandson Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A). It can be really expensive or of no value at all. You still have to take great care of it.
If something has been entrusted to you, you are not allowed to use it or open it to look at, without the person's permission.
In the time of Imam Ali (A) khalifa, two people named Talha and Zubair came to see Imam (A).
Imam (A) was sitting by a lighted candle doing some official work. As Talha and Zubair sat down to talk to Imam (A), Imam (A) put out the lighted candle and lit another one.
When Imam (A) was asked why he had done this, he replied that the first candle was bought from the treasury money and while he was doing official work he had it lit. Now that Talha and Zubair had come, not on official work, but to meet with Imam (A), Imam (A) had to use a candle bought with his own money.
Moral: Imam was trying to show the importance of other people's properties, so much so that as little as the light of a candle can not be used without permission.
YOU WILL EARN WHAT YOU DESERVE
Allah tells us in the Holy Qur'an, Suratu Bani-Israil verse 7:
"If you do good, you do good to yourself (and likewise) If you do evil you do evil to yourselves…" (17:7)
One of the followers of our Holy Prophet (S), was very fond of the above verse. He used to recite it aloud repeatedly.
A Jewish woman who used to hear him wanted to prove him wrong, so as to show that Islam was wrong.
One day, she prepared some sweets mixed with poison and sent them to him.
On the day that he received them it so happened that he was going out of town, so he put the sweets in his pocket and went on his journey.
On the way he met two men who were returning home from a long journey. They looked tired and hungry.
The man remembered the sweets he had in his pocket and thought that the two men would like them. So he gave them the sweets, not knowing that they were poisoned.
No sooner had the two men eaten the sweets, that they collapsed and died.
When the news of their death reached Madina, the man was arrested and brought before the Holy Prophet (S).
When the man told his story, the Jewish woman who had given him the sweets was also brought to the court.
When the woman saw the two dead bodies, she was stunned, because it so happened that the two dead travellers were her two sons returning from a long journey.
She admitted her evil intention to the Holy Prophet (S) and all the people present. The poison she had mixed in the sweets to kill the Muslim had instead killed her own two sons.
One reaps what one sows. If you wish evil for others it may come back to you. Always do to others what you would like done to you.
ONLY SEEK ALLAH'S PLEASURE
You should try always to seek the pleasure of Allah and only Allah. Everything you do in your lives should be for the pleasure of Allah and no-one else.
Remember it is Allah that you will go back to and it is He who will reward you and you can be sure that His reward will be better than any that anyone else can give you.
A long time ago there lived a wise man called Luqman.
Luqman was not a Prophet but he was so wise and respected that there is a Surah in the Holy Qur'an that is called by his name.
Once Luqman told his son: "Oh son, do not tie your heart in seeking the pleasure of people. You are not likely to succeed. Do not pay attention to what people say. Instead tell yourself always to seek the pleasure of Allah."
Although his son had listened to him, Luqman wanted to make sure that his son understood this lesson properly and would never forget it.
So Luqman got a donkey and told his son to ride it while he followed on foot. His son obeyed him.
After travelling for a while, they came across a group of people. On seeing the son riding the donkey while his old father was following on foot; the people commented on how impolite and bad the son was for making his father walk while he sat on the donkey.
Luqman and his son heard what the people were saying and so the son got of the donkey and Luqman got on.
After travelling for a while, they came across another group of people. On seeing the father riding the donkey while his young son was following on foot; the people commented on how bad and selfish the father was for making his son walk while he sat on the donkey.
Luqman and his son heard what the people were saying and so Luqman got off the donkey.
After travelling for a while, they came across another group of people. On seeing the father and son walking with the donkey walking beside them: the people commented on how silly they were not to ride the donkey.
Luqman and his son heard what the people were saying and so they both got on the donkey.
After travelling for a while, they came across another group of people. On seeing the father and son both riding the donkey: the people commented on how cruel they were to make such a small animal carry such a heavy burden.
Luqman and his son heard what the people were saying and so they both got off the donkey.
Luqman then turned to his son and said: "You have heard and seen what the people said. Do you now understand why you should only try to please Allah.
Moral: Do things for the pleasure of Allah and no-one else.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
"..Allah loves those who keep themselves clean.."
There is a difference between Clean and Paak:
Clean - free from dirt. Physically clean.
Paak - to be pure according to Islam. Spiritually clean.
You should always be clean and try to be Paak all of the time.
Why is it so important to be clean ?
If you do not keep yourself clean then you will get ill, as germs which cause sickness live in places of dirt.
How do you keep yourself clean ?
You should take a bath regularly.
You should brush your teeth morning and night.
Your hair must always be combed.
You should cut your nails regularly and make sure they are clean.
You should make sure your clothes are clean and look neat and tidy.
Besides keeping yourselves clean you should make sure that the food that you eat is clean (and always Halaal). Fruits should be washed before eating.
You should also make sure that the things around you are clean - your house, your room, your cupboards…
RESPECT OF PARENTS
Allah Says in the Holy Qur'an:
"..Do not worship anyone except Allah and be kind to your parents.."
The fact that Allah tells us to be kind to our parents in the same sentence as He tells us, something as important as: not to worship anyone except Him, shows how important being kind to our parents is in Islam.
The Holy Prophet (S) has said that Allah's pleasure is the pleasure of one's parents and His anger is their anger.
The above saying tells us that when we please our parents, we are pleasing Allah and when we upset them we are upsetting Allah.
Being kind to your parents, pleasing them and making sure you do not upset or anger them means to respect them.
Why should you respect your parents ?
Your parents have done so much for you - It is because of them that you are alive and in this world today.
Your mother carried you for nine months, then gave birth to you, and then fed you, clothed you and looked after you
This is why in Islam we are told that Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.
Your parents are always there for you.
When you are ill, they look after you
When you are sad they are sad.
When you need help they are there for you.
They pray for you, without you asking or even knowing.
You can never repay what they have done for you, but you can thank them by respecting them.
What does it mean to respect your parents ?
Respecting your parents means:
Always being kind to them.
Always making them happy.
Never ever make them sad or angry.
Doing things for them, without being told to.
Never raising your voice when you are talking to them.
Not to talk when they are talking.
Not to walk in front of them, unless told to do so.
Do not sit when they are standing. If you are sitting and they enter the room, you should stand until they sit.
Always greet them with Salaam, a hug and a kiss first thing in the morning and when you or they come back from somewhere.
Always thank them and pray for them.
The following verse is from the Holy Qur'an, Suratu Bani Israil, verse 24:
"..Lord have mercy on them just as they had mercy on me when I was little.." (17:24)
You should pray this little du'a as many times in the day as you can, especially after each Salaat.
RESPECT OF TEACHERS
A teacher who teaches any subject, in school or in Madressah is following the example of our Prophets (A) and Imams (A) who were also teachers, teaching us how to follow the right path.
Just as your parents deserve your respect because of all that they have done for you, your teachers deserve your respect because they are giving you knowledge - with which you are able to do great things.
You can only get this knowledge if you:
- Listen to your teacher.
- Pay attention - make sure you understand what you have listened to.
How do you respect you teacher ?
You should stand and say Salaam when your teacher enters the class.
You should not talk to anyone else when your teacher is talking.
You should never interrupt your teacher.
If you want to say something you should put your hand up, and wait until your teacher tells you to talk.
You should not shout out the answer, if someone else has been asked the question.
You should sit properly on your chair.
You should always look at your teacher.
You should never eat or drink in class.
You should not doodle, when your teacher is talking.
You should always thank your teacher for giving up
their time to teach you.
TO HURT OTHERS FEELINGS
Feelings are your emotions, how happy or sad you are.
If you hurt someone physically, on their body, they can get medication for it and it soon gets better.
If you hurt someone emotionally, their feelings, inside, there is no medication, the hurt feels more and lasts much longer. It may even change the way the person feels about themselves (lose confidence in themselves).
When you pick on someone or make fun of someone:
Think how you would feel if you were them.
Think how much you are hurting them.
Think that this person may lose confidence in themselves, (which may affect their whole life).
So next time you are just having fun with your friends at someone else's expense think of the three "thinks".
Remember that you have to account for everything on the day of Judgement and Allah says that He might forgive you for the sins you have committed against Him, (not praying or fasting..) BUT He will not forgive you for the sin against others - hurting others feelings.
So, act now and ask for forgiveness from anyone whose feelings you may have hurt and make sure you do not hurt others feelings in the future.
BIG AND SMALL SINS
Our 1st Imam, Imam Ali (A) has said that the biggest sin that a person does is the one that he considers the smallest.
When you do something that you think is really bad you will feel guilty and ask Allah for forgiveness and try not to do it again.
Whereas when you do something that you think is not so bad but is still a sin you will not feel so bad and forget about it, and all these small sins add up and up to an enormous amount of Gunah. (As your pennies in your piggy bank add up).
Once In the time of our 6th Imam, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A), two men came and said that they wanted to ask Allah for forgiveness for their sins.
The first man said that he had done two very big sins, while the second man said that he had only done lots of small sins.
Imam (A) told the men that they should bring to him stones, one for each sin they had committed. BUT the man who had done the two big sins had to bring two enormous rocks, whilst the other had to bring pebbles.
After a while the two men returned to Imam (A). The man who had done the big sins was very tired from carrying the large rocks whereas the other one was fine.
Imam (A) then told them both to put the stones back in the exact place they had found them.
The man who had done the big sins found it very tiring and difficult, but finally managed to put the two rocks in their place.
The man who had done the small sins had picked up so many pebbles from everywhere that he had no idea where the exact place of each one was and so could not put them back.
Moral: It is very difficult to ask Allah for forgiveness for the sins which we think are small because we forget about them.
We should consider each sin as something that displeases Allah and that should not be taken lightly.