Themes and Lessons From Surah al-Hujurat

There was an earlier post about morals and manners, however that didn’t delve into the specifics of good etiquette. This post will hopefully serve to address the foundational etiquettes an ideal Muslim should possess.

The 49th surah of the Qur’an is Surah al-Hujurat. It is a Madinan surah. The surah defines a lot of the traits and habits of the ideal Muslim. The main theme of the surah revolves around a series of life-giving commandments of akhlaq (ethics and morality) along with social dealings (if put into practice), would lead to a harmonious and ideal society. All the instructions and commandments in the surah, if cultivated properly would nurture a pure society which would be the antithesis of blameworthy moral habits and qualities. Through the surah’s way of explaining things, Surah al-Hujurat includes a series of comprehensive commandments which are meant to purify the soul and spirit of all humanity.

Major Commandments in Surah al-Hujurat

  1. The surah starts with its first commandment by talking about a point which has to do with discipline and order while in the presence of Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw). Discipline and order in this sense is defined as obeying the commandments of the Prophet (saw) and Allah (swt). The individual cannot allow his/her inner desires and whims lead them to formulating laws and regulations as this can lead to personal interests being served.
  2. Those with true iman are told and commanded how to speak to their leaders.
  3. People who have true iman are also instructed to verify information about others. Following this will keep one away from gossip and rumors.
  4. What others think isn’t important. The fourth point is that the general thoughts and opinions are not important at all when compared to the orders and thoughts of the Prophet (saw).
  5. Every Muslim is a brother and sister to one another.
  6. A true Muslim does not go about slandering and lying about a fellow believer.
  7. It is strictly forbidden to spy on another believer. We must stay out of other’s private lives.
  8. Backbiting is a major sin and must be avoided.
  9. The surah also mentions the issue of racism. Superiority of individuals is only based on one’s iman, taqwa, and belief in Allah (swt). Judgment is left to Allah (swt).
  10. Every person has some sort of ethical conscience.
  11. Every single believer has the obligation to try and make peace in the world. Standing up to oppression and speaking for what’s right and denouncing what’s wrong are paramount.
  12. A believer does not ever think bad about a fellow believer.
  13. It’s forbidden to pick faults and criticize it others according to the teachings of Islam.
  14. Calling fellow believers by bad names or curse words is also strictly prohibited and does not exemplify good Muslim behavior.

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