Tasteful and distasteful behavior [Archives:2003/669/Education]

September 18 2003

By Ahmed Alshumaily
People in the world differ from one another greatly in their behavior. Noble men and women can be recognized through their deeds inside the society. Such people cannot be criticized.
On the other hand disgraceful behavior can be seen being performed by ignoble men and women. Such bad conduct comes out as a result of lack of education, impoliteness and the lack of religious knowledge. They may be attributed to psychological disorders too.
In some cases well-mannered people are called tasteless while good behaviors are called tasteful. A person may behave in the car, in his friend's house, in the market, etc, either tastefully or tastelessly.

In the car
Tasteless incidents are manifest in travelling in the sense that we see some people who want to sit on the whole seat and not leave space for others. They stretch their knees and annoy their neighbors. Another bad conduct in travelling is to smoke causing inconvenience to fellow passengers.
Old men, women and disabled persons should be respected. As a good traveler, you must allow them to embark the vehicle first. It's your broadmindedness to take their hands into the car and prepare the seat for them, it's your turn to give them help.
It's your duty to arrange your luggage and suitcases before getting into the vehicle. It well be awkward to force your companions to wait till you arrange your luggage.
It's the tastefulness of the driver to carry his car-machine, fire-air and oil-tank. He has also to carry a spare wheel, and drive neither too fast nor too slowly. Travellers praise Allah and remember the traveller's call (duaa,a Al mosfer).

In a friend's house
Sometimes, a somewhat shameful behavior is noticed from persons visiting their friends. It is not in good taste to invite yourself as a guest on the pretext that you have a good and strong relationship with your friend. May be his wife is sick or his children ill; it's decent to knock at the door three times. If there is no reply, it's good to leave and not to go on knocking. Allah has said “O believers, don't enter others houses till you get permission and give peace to the dwellers.” Suppose your friend is glad to invite you, it is courteous to accept his invitation on his insistence. In the sitting-room it is good taste to sit in a corner of the room. This means don't face the room door that opens to the hall. According to our Islamic traditions, it is not courteous to see ladies in a friend's house. It is better not to keep silence. You have to make fun, cut jokes, talk happily, and not spoil the invitation by indulging in nasty behavior. In case of an unforeseen eventuality like your friend's kid suddenly falling ill, it's your duty to leave as early as you can, after helping him in his plight. In normal circumstances, after finishing your eating, try to leave soon. Don't spoil your host's time by continuing to sit late into the night.

Going to the bathroom
It's not proper for you to carry something that has Allah's names upon it (unless you are afraid of losing it or having it stolen) while you are going to the bathroom. You should enter the bathroom with your left foot saying “O Allah! I seek your forgiveness”. If you're outside a house or don't find a bathroom, you should move to a lonely place and hide yourself from others. During your urination or excrement, you should not talk. You should neither face nor turn your back on the quiblah while relieving yourself. Also you may not urinate in a standing posture. Don't put out the cup or tin out of the bucket during your washing in the bathroom. Leave your bathroom saying “praise be to Allah who made the filth leave me and who has given me health”

At work
It's tasteful to be punctual in your work. Start and finish your work on time. Work dutifully and deal with your colleagues courteously. Clean your heart from dirt and hatred. You shouldn't take your friend's pen (and other things) without his permission nor open your friend's luggage, suitcases, bags, letters, etc without informing him. During an assembly of all the workers don't whisper to a friend of yours while others are watching. They may suspect that you are talking about them and back biting. You should avoid reading a newspaper or a magazine while others in the assembly are discussing a serious matter. It's your tastefulness to wait till your friend finishes his speech, then you may give your opinion on the subject-matter under discussion if asked for.