Islamic Perspectives

The Art of Conversation

Islamic etiquette

Nazneen O. Saherwala

A good listener can become wise and knowledgeable. Hazrat Ali ibn abi Talib (A.S.) used to say, “Words are silver but silence is golden.” We must not throw around our words unnecessarily.

Allah has given the gift of speech to only human beings. So we must know how to talk, what to talk and when to talk.
Always speak the truth. Keep quiet when you are at risk. But when you speak, speak the truth.

Please, talk with a purpose. Too much talk and useless conversation betrays lack of seriousness.

Use kind words. Talk politely. Wear a smile on your face and a sweet tone in your speech. The voice should be moderate, not too low, not too loud. The listener should understand properly.

Please, do not speak ill of others. No complaint against others and no back biting. Never indulge in mimicking or ridiculing others.

Self praise harms your prestige. Avoid it. Your truthfulness and kindness will build your prestige gradually. Never laugh at others. Do not call someone in a disgraceful way.

Avoid swearing frequently. If someone does not believe in you, just ignore it. Speak the truth firmly. Nobody believed Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) in the beginning but slowly his words got firm ground.

Always say what is just and fair. Speak your mind during critical situations. Be soft-spoken and avoid sharp, harsh and teasing remarks.

Women should talk sweetly because they are naturally loving. But when strangers meet, they should be straight, clear and a little firm. Never smile in front of strangers.

When people indulge in loose talk, say Salaam and leave them. Avoid unnecessary arguments.

Keep quiet when the other person is angry. But speak the truth when you get a chance to speak. Make him understand important things.

Keep in view the mental level and outlook of the persons you are talking to. You do not need to show your knowledge. You need to make them understand.  

Always be brief and to the point in your talk.

If you decide to spread the teaching of Islam, be careful, be polite, be simple in language. Adopt a heart-warming style. Flowery language, difficult examples, criticism of other religions, jokes on others and desire to get popularity lead to failure.

Never indulge in flattery. Avoid anything below dignity. Appreciate good qualities of others in a truthful manner.

Do not interrupt and interfere conversation without the other person’s permission. If, however, you must speak, do so with the permission of others. Speak politely. Do not hurt.

When you talk to someone, give due regard to his age, status and his relationship to you.

Say salaam when you meet someone. Then start your conversation. Remember Allah listens to you.

The author is a social worker based in Surat, Gujarat