By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-`Uthaymeen
Mu’aadh bin Jabal رضي الله عنه from the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) that he said,
“Fear Allaah wheresoever you may be, and follow up an evil deed with a good one, it will efface it (the evil deed). And deal with mankind with good manners.” Reported by at-Tirmidhee and he said that it was a Hasan hadeeth.
[al-Haakim reports it in al-Mustadrak and states that it meets the conditions of Bukhaaree and Muslim. Adh-Dhahabee agreed.]
This hadeeth is one of the Forty Ahaadeeth of the author, may Allaah have mercy upon him, and in it is that the Prophet(SAW) gave three great and important pieces of advice:
THE FIRST: He said, “have taqwaa of Allaah wheresoever you may be.” Taqwaa means to stay away from the forbidden matters and to enact the obligatory matters – this is taqwaa! That you enact what Allaah has commanded you, sincerely for Allaah and in compliance to the Messenger of Allaah(SAW), and that you leave what Allaah has forbidden due to His prohibiting it and to steer clear of it.
For example that you establish the greatest obligation that Allaah has imposed upon you after the testimony of faith – the prayer, and you establish it completely – fulfilling all of its conditions and pillars and obligations, fulfilling all of these perfectly. So whosoever leaves off any of these conditions, pillars or obligations then he has not feared Allaah (to the best of his ability), rather he has been deficient in this to the extent of what he left out.
In Zakaah, the Taqwaa of Allaah lies in your calculating all of your property on which the zakaah is due, and your giving the zakaah as a means of purifying yourself without any miserliness or tightfistedness, or delay. And whosoever does not do this than he has not feared Allaah.
In fasting, the Taqwaa of Allaah lies in your establishing the fast as you have been commanded, distancing yourself from idle speech, obscene words and mannerisms, boisterous behaviour, backbiting and spreading tales and other such things that would make the fast deficient and remove the spirit of fasting. The true meaning of fasting is to fast from that which Allaah, Azza wa Jall, has made forbidden. The same applies to all of the obligations that are used to establish obedience to Allaah, and compliance to His command, sincerely for Him and in following His Messenger. Likewise all the forbidden actions are to be left in compliance to His prohibition.
THE SECOND: “and follow up an evil deed with a good one, it will efface it (the evil deed).” Meaning that when you perform an evil action then follow it up with a good action for the good action effaces the evil. And from the good actions to be performed after the evil is that you repent to Allaah for this evil action, for indeed repentance is from the most noble and excellent of the good actions as Allaah has said, “indeed Allaah Loves those who repent and those who purify themselves.” (2:222) And He said, “and repent to Allaah all of you, O believers so that you may be successful.” (24:31)
Similarly righteous actions expiate the evil actions as the Prophet(SAW) said, “the five daily prayers and one Jumu’ah to the next Jumu’ah, and one Ramadaan to the next Ramadaan, is an expiation for what lies between them as long as one refrains from the major sins.” [Muslim], and he said, “one Umrah to the next is an expiation for what is between them.” [Bukhaaree].
Therefore the good actions efface the evil.
THE THIRD: “and deal with mankind with good manners.” The first two pieces of advice were those related to relationship with the Creator, this third relates to relationship of the creation to the creation. This being to deal with mankind with the best manners such that you will be praised and not blamed. This by having a cheerful complexion, being truthful in speech, speaking to others nicely and other such good manners.
There are a large number of texts concerning the excellence of having good manners to the extent that the Messenger(SAW) said, “the most complete believer with respect to faith is the one with the best manners.” And he informed us that the most deserving of mankind to him(SAW) and the closest to him in ranking on the Day of Judgement would be those with the best manners.
So noble manners, along with their being a way to beautify gatherings and the person who possesses them being beloved to the people, contain a huge reward which will bestowed upon the person on the Day of Judgement.
So preserve these three pieces of advice from the Prophet(SAW) and Allaah is the Grantor of Success.