The Muslim who truly understands the teachings of his religion is gentle, friendly and likeable. He mixes with people and gets along with them. This is something which should be a characteristic of the Muslim who understands that keeping in touch with people and earning their trust is one of the most important duties of the Muslim. It is an effective means of conveying the message of truth to them, and exposing them to its moral values, because people only listen to those whom they like, trust and accept. Hence there are many hadiths which commend the type of person who is friendly and liked by others. Such a person is one of those chosen ones who are beloved by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and will be closest to him on the Day of Resurrection:
“Shall I not tell you who among you is most beloved to me and will be closest to me on the Day of Resurrection?” He repeated it two or three times, and they said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).” He said: “Those of you who are the best in attitude and character.” [Reported by Ahmad and its isnad is jayyid]
Some reports add: “Those who are down to earth and humble, who get along with others and with whom others feel comfortable.”
One of the attributes of the believer is that he gets along with others and others feel comfortable with him. He likes people and they like him. If he is not like this, then he will not be able to convey the message or achieve anything of significance. Whoever is like that has no goodness in him, as in the hadith:
“The believer gets along with people and they feel comfortable with him. There is no goodness in the one who does not get along with people and with whom they do not feel comfortable. ” [Reported by Abmad and al-Bazar; the men of Ahmad’s isnad are rijal as-sahih]
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) set the highest example of good behaviour towards people. He was skilful in softening their hearts and called them to follow him in word and deed. He demonstrated how to reach people’s hearts and win their love and admiration.
He was always cheerful and easy-going, never harsh. When he came to any gathering, he would sit wherever there was a free space, and he told others to do likewise. He treated everyone equally, so that no one who was present in a gathering would feel that anyone else was receiving preferential treatment. If anyone came to him and asked for something, he would give it to them, or at least respond with kind words. His good attitude extended to everyone and he was like a father to them. The people gathered around him were truly equal, distinguished only by their level of taqwa. They were humble, respecting their elders, showing compassion to young ones, giving priority to those in need and taking care of strangers.
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) never used to disappoint anyone who came to ask from him. There are three characteristics that he did not possess: he was not argumentative, he did not talk too much, and he did not concern himself with matters that were not his business.
There are three things that he never did to people: he never criticized any one, he never said “Shame on you!” to anyone, and he never looked for anyone’s faults. He never said anything but that for which he hoped to earn reward. When he spoke, the people around him would listen earnestly, sitting still as if there were birds on their heads. When he was silent, then they would speak. They never argued with one another in his presence.
They would smile at whatever he smiled at, and would be impressed by whatever impressed him. He would be patient with a stranger who might be harsh in his requests or questions, and his Companions would ask the stranger to speak gently. He said, “If you see someone in need, then help him.” He never accepted praise except from someone who was thanking him for a favour, and he never cut off anyone who was speaking; he would wait until the person indicated that he had finished, or stood up.
`A’ishah tells us that he used to be cautious of the worst type of people, and he would speak gently to them and treat them well. A man sought permission to enter upon him and he said, “Let him in, what a bad brother of his tribe he is!”
When the man came in, he spoke gently to him. `A’ishah said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), you said what you said, then you spoke gently to him.” He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “O `A’ishah, the worst of people is the one whom people avoid (or are gentle towards) because they fear his slander.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The true Muslim follows in the footsteps of his Prophet in his dealings with all people, whether they are good or bad, so that he is liked and accepted by all people.