Modesty and Dignity

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

Uphold modesty and dignified conduct or dignified restraint with your companions, friends, and family, despite the familiarity. 

Consider the example of close friends who come over every Saturday and you have breakfast and lunch together. You open the door for them in your pajamas. You did not brush your teeth and your hair is all over the place. That is not correct. Also, consider neighbors who you are close with  and you present yourself in undignified dress and not give salam, rather you just say, “Hey.”

There are etiquettes of the religion and you uphold them. Particularly with those you are close with. Informality and casualness are good but with adab and good character. Advice has a balance. 

Once a man came to Imam Junaid al-Baghdadi, a great master of the spiritual path, and he said, “Why is it that your brethren (his students) behave with one another with the etiquette of the king’s court?” He replied, “Because the One they care for is greater than the king.” You are acting for the sake of Allah. There is a balance. There is informality, casualness, love, and care, but there are high manners. 


One of the things is companionship. Observe how the learned, righteous, and people of good etiquette and character deal with people. These people are not just their seniors, but their peers and those younger.

When you do not have beautiful ways of dealing with one another, unconsciously it diminishes trust and goodwill for one another. It causes people to drift away. Beautiful character attracts you to the other person. We are not about influencing others for our ends. Good character is about good relations for the sake of Allah. 

Oftentimes your household may be the most neglected for modest and dignified conduct. Fix your hair and brush your teeth for example. Wear nice clothes for the people you live with. 

Beautify your conduct. Do not be crude. Be respectful and loving. Relationships are not complete without these two qualities. As if your relations are a garden. You have to water the plant. Keep them fresh and watered. Be consistently expressive. Be Consistent in Praise, Gratitude, and Joy for What Allah Has Granted One of Friends and Relatives

You have to have a deep sense of appreciation. Your family is a blessing. Also your circle of friends, both close friends and even distant friends. These are great blessings. 

It is important to appreciate all these circles of company as being a great blessing. Thank Allah.

Spiritual Routine

Have a spiritual routine. When you say Alhamdulillah after the prayer, you should be thinking about Allah’s blessings upon you. Of the greatest of those blessings are your family and your friends.

If you feel that the relationship with the people you are supposed to love at home is not going so well, rekindle it. Give gifts, prefer them to yourself, go out of your way for them. Do not give up. It may take some time. 

Gratitude does not mean that you neglect failures and harm. Do not harm and do not accept harm. Think of the good people have done for you.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reportedly said, “Community is mercy, and being alone is torment.” Family is a coming together. It is mercy from Allah. Friendship is a coming together. The people Allah has brought into your life may represent good in different ways.

Appreciate the good from your relations as well as the good that Allah has facilitated for you, actual or potential, in the relations. Be consistent in praising Allah. Say Alhamdulillah for friends and family. Say Alhamdulillah for everything. 


Gratitude is to appreciate the blessing and think “How do I express my appreciation for this blessing?” Feel happy about it. One of the ways to feel happy is to think about the past positively. Remember the good memories and thank Allah for them. Connect your memories to gratitude to Allah and feel happy about it. Allah tells us in the Sahih Hadith, 

أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي

“I am as my servant thinks of me.” 

Allah has blessed us with so many beautiful relationships in our lives.  

Even if you feel you do not have that many friends, sometimes it is an act of reaching out to the people you do have. Do not be passive. If you only have one friend in the world, reach out to them. They will be happy. Find them on social media and contact them or take whatever means.

If you do not have any friends, then there must be someone in this world that you do like. It may be a neighbor.

Relations are a blessing. Take the first step to cultivate them. One of the simple ways of that is feed people. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was asked about what is faith. He said, “Spread the greeting of peace and feed others and maintain family ties and pray at night while others are asleep you will enter paradise in peace.”

Three Keys to Paradise

Three of the keys to paradise are social. Spread the greeting of peace, which is if you are walking down the street, greet people. Now we have technological means. Reach out to people you know, you are not friends with them yet, aspire to be the one who reaches out and makes friends. 

Feed others. Do not complain “No one invites me over,” just make a plan monthly. If you can do it weekly, have people over once a week. If you cannot do it every week, do it every other week, if not, once a month. Serve what you eat yourself and a little bit better

If you ever eat out, instead of two times that you eat out as a family, invite others over. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) promised, the food of one is enough for two, the food of two is enough for four, and the food of four will be enough for eight. 

Maintain family ties. Think about who is in your family and try to reach out to those people. How? Greet them, inquire about them, feed them, and give gifts. 

Pray at night while others are asleep and you will enter paradise in peace.