Gracious Conduct Strengthens Ties

One’s etiquette in social situations is the key foundation to having strong relationships with others. This article is the twentieth in a series taken from the On Demand Course: Discussion on Sulami’s Adab of Keeping Company.

This is based on a beautiful hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Make it easy for them to be good to you. How? Be gracious. Facilitate opportunities for them to be nice to you. Have loving ways. You want them to appreciate you so do the little things that will make them appreciate you.

Do not wait for them to appreciate the things that you do. Overlook if they forget. Make seventy excuses for them. If they made a small mistake, just forgive them. Even if you are hurt, just forgive them. Assume the best. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reportedly said:

“May Allah have mercy on a parent who assisted their child in being good to them through their graciousness.”

One way is to feed others, even if they do not invite you. Do not keep score. 

Be Easygoing

Some people may have the means and facilitation to be able to cook and host many people, but the other person may be able to be more giving materially. If a person thinks negatively, “I fed them eight times, they did not feed me eight times” they can fail to consider how much the other gave in gifts.  

Do the good to those who deserve it and to those who do not appear to deserve it.  Even if they do not appear to deserve it, you deserve to be a person who does good.

If you are sick and a close friend did not visit, it can hurt a little bit. You overlook it. They may be going through health challenges. Not everyone tells all their problems. There is a positive reciprocation, which is sunna. If someone does good, you do the good or what is better.

We do not believe in negative reciprocation: “They did not visit me when I was sick, so I am not going to visit them when they are sick.” Be easygoing. 

The Sunna of feeding others is that you feed them what you would eat and maybe a little bit better. Burdening yourself is against the Sunna. Now, if Allah facilitates for you and you can do more, with ease, go ahead. 

Be the one who visits them. Do not hold a grudge: “Oh they never contact me.” If somebody comes to you and you have not seen them for a long time, do not make them feel bad. They are trying to do something good, so assist them.

If somebody comes to you with an excuse, accept the excuse. 


When alienation occurs, there is something that causes that. It could be that you were not in touch with them. Very often it is anger that caused it, or some issue that arose.

In those periods, you need to remember the good times in the relationship. That helps mend the relationship. The fool reacts without consideration. The wise respond upon consideration of circumstance and consequence. 

When this alienation occurs, do not just focus on the immediate. The sincere do not respond with their whim. The sincere believer responds with mind and heart. 

Focus on how to bring back good. Sometimes it can be immediate other times it may not. Keep trying. For spouses, do not overlook the years you were married for one fight. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for their flock.” 

In relationships, you should strive to be the shepherd. You want the relationship to go in a direction of good and towards the pleasure of Allah. It may take time. Some friends may need some extra time. Sometimes they may need nudges. 

If someone ignored a message, the concern should not be that immediate: “How come he did not respond?” Let it go, and then find another opportunity to try to connect. Long-term, you would like to restore it. 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reportedly said, “Whoever of you lives on will find much difference.” At the very least make the intention to mend things. Do things with wisdom. Do not make things worse. 

Accept Apologies

Accept their apologies and excuses even if they are lying. It is not about the immediate situation. Civility is based on the consideration of good. 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us to say the good or remain silent. Saying the good is by considering the consequences of what you say, but also of how you respond to what other people say. Allah says:

خُذِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَ وَأۡمُرۡ بِٱلۡعُرۡفِ وَأَعۡرِضۡ عَنِ ٱلۡجَـٰهِلِینَ

“Accept from people what they can do, bid the good, and turn away from rude fools.” [Quran, 7:199; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

That is how the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was with both friend and foe. Just consider all the Maccans who opposed the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Abu Sufyan led armies against the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) then he came and apologized by becoming a believer

Relationships are about relating to Allah. That is the way of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Make people feel comfortable. At the very least, facilitate for them. Facilitate the ways of mending a relationship. With graciousness, sometimes you may need to establish what is acceptable and what is not.