The word communication generally means “the transfer of information” in a defined criterion whereby sender of the message is able to convey its point to the intended receiver. It could be of different kinds, like verbal which could be face to face as well as via phone, non verbal that includes in-written and through gestures. Despite being diversity in means of contact, personal interaction is considered as the most effective way of correspondence, which requires the highest degree of etiquettes and decorum.
The latest researches tell us that a person should consider some essential things in mind while conversing with others, like having alignment of actions with words, proper eye contact, easy talking, being original in tone, and having empathy etc. All of these, no doubt are good means of disseminating one`s opinions, but for Muslims, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the best source of inspiration in this matter.
Let us discuss some of the necessary manners of Hazrat Muhammad`s (PBUH) personalities that He displayed throughout His life while communicating with others:
Keeping a Smiling Face
The Apostle (PBUH) of the Almighty always expressed cheery facial expressions while meeting or passing by people, apart from when He saw someone committing wrongdoing. Abdullah Ibn Haarith (R.A) said:
“I never came across a person who smiled as much as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).” (At-Tirmidhi).
It shows that keeping a smiling face is an open invitation to others for dialogue and giving an indication of friendliness as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always had a welcoming conduct. This behavior of openness to all serves as a great source of being able to spread one`s message anywhere anytime. Consider an example of a person who is new to a given city, and wants to know about a particular address. If that person meets an individual who is already agonized due to any reason, there are maximum chances that first person would be rejected even a chance to talk with the latter one. But through jovial gestures, one cannot only get someone`s attention to converse with but also serve as relieving that person`s grief. The Messenger (PBUH) of God is reported to have said:
“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Since aid is given for purpose of helping out others, so happy face also serves the same purpose and facilitates others with a good feeling. In other context, it also means that giving positive expressions is a deed of earning Allah`s blessings as does charity.
Wishing Peace by Saying Salam
It is compulsory for every one of us to say ‘Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh’ (peace be upon you and so may the mercy of Allah and blessings) to show a desire of having sympathy for others. It has a greater implication in a sense that one does not know when or where someone is struck with a misery, so it is emphasized in our religion to hope for the best for fellow Muslims. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) showed the importance of this matter in the following way:
“A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: Peace be upon you! He responded to his salutation. He then sat down. The Prophet (PBUH) said: Ten [rewards]. Another man came and said: Peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you! He responded to his salutation when he sat down. He said: Twenty. Another man came and said: Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you! He responded to him and said when he sat down: and blessings be upon you! He responded to him and said when he sat down: Thirty.” (Abi Dawud)
It means that through demonstrating consideration for someone else (no matter one knows that person or not), one does not only enhances belongingness with others, but also results in earning of a number of Ajar (good tidings) from the Almighty Lord.
Shaking of Hands
It is advisable to shake hands with persons of same gender. This act is useful in achieving trust of others and giving them indication of association with each other.
“There are no two Muslims who meet and shake hands, but they will be forgiven before they part.” (Ibn Majah)
So, it highly regarded as a means gaining mercy of God by having positive and productive relationship among Muslims.
Balancing Voice and Tone
It is one`s moral duty to in the best possible way, having pleasant tone and lower volume of voice. As Islam greatly emphasizes on decency of behavior, so Allah SWT says in the Holy Quran:
And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” [Quran, 31: 19]
It is common sense that the one who speaks in a disagreeable pitch and raises its voice over others, conveys a message of detestation to them and also hurts their feelings, so we are directed to keep the most favorable and delightful way of speech in Islam.
Asking about Family Members
It is highly advisable and wise to inquire about others` family and friends. This action helps to boost affiliations with others, who would feel cared and highly revered. It also shows that one has greater concern for not only people who are present, but also those who are away. This ultimately results in strengthening of relationships when they come to know about being asked about their health and condition.
Avoiding using Tongue for ill Purposes
One should abstain from using its speech for talking malevolence such as falsehood and backbiting etc. First, speaking lies is strictly prohibited in Islam, and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) always preached about being truthful in every matter. It is common observation that when we come into conversation, we tend to use fabrication of words just for sake of making jokes and fun, but that is not the way of our religious instructions.
“A slave (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
It means that talking ill in any manner leads towards anger of the Almighty. Also, it has been seen that we use to enjoy spitefulness against the ones who are present and talk about them in front of our so called friends. This act is highly forbidden because one day we will be talking ill about someone, and on the other, we might be sitting with him and chatting unwell about someone else, and so the satanic action continues. Allah SWT has regarded this action as one of the most nauseating things to do in the Holy Quran as:
“O you, who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” [Quran, 49: 12]
The above mentioned Ayah portrays the evil of this act, as it is synonymous with the disgusting deed of eating flesh of one`s dead brother. That is why use of tongue in the most rightful manner is given great importance in the religion of peace.
Using Simple, Precise Wording
One should use clear expressions and words while talking to others, so that other person can easily understands it and makes chat meaningful. It had always been way of life of the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT, who always spoke eloquently.
“I have been given superiority over the other prophets in six respects: I have been given words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning” […] (Muslim).
This Hadith stresses on using speech which is simple to comprehend, yet conveys complete sense.
Avoiding useless Arguing
As discussed earlier, positive use of tongue is the spirit a true Muslim`s life, but sometimes, during conversation, things get out of control and leads towards harsh comments, which is not allowed in Islam. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) always remained calm during disputes and showed great wisdom.
A man said to the Prophet (PBUH) “Advise me,” he said: “Do not get angry.” He repeated his question several times and again the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Do not get angry.” (Bukhari)
As, arguing pointlessly open doors for clashes and quarrels, during which a man loses its conscious and becomes annoyed, so it is advisable to remain positive during conversation, and if others talk ill, one should remain patient.
Ending Conversation with Greetings
While leaving person behind, being a Muslim, it is one`s moral to wish Allah`s peace, mercy and blessings for him by saying Walaikum assalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
These are some of the essential ways of meeting and taking to people in light of life of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), which not only causes earning of blessings of Allah SWT but also results in building up productive relationships among the Ummah. May the Almighty God give us the will and desire to act upon the best ever way of life, i.e. Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).