Books will always be judged by their covers! Let that sink in for a moment. Human beings will always draw conclusions based upon what they see and experience, both superficially and at face value. This is why it is paramount that we as individuals and institutions understand that like it or not, inherently we are all brand ambassadors. Every time we interact with somebody be it physically or virtually, we are communicating what we stand for and what we believe. Our brand represents our families, our religion, our education, circle of friends, mentors and experiences in life. It is no longer useful for society to discuss value systems. To be effective, we have to reflect what we stand for through positive interactions with others. How we treat ourselves and how we treat people around us will ultimately define who we are in the eyes of society and beyond.
“I have only been sent to perfect good moral character.” – Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
The Islamic tradition boasts a very rich culture that defines both good and bad Adab – Manners, etiquette or moral character. The epitome of this knowledge is orbits the teachings and traditions of the prophetic character himself.
“Verily you have in the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, an excellent model…” – The Holy Qur’an, 33:22
So we begin our understanding of the word Adab directly from the root source itself – Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. It is impractical to even begin defining the boundaries that would encapsulate his character and all of the excellent attributes of his persona. Many great scholars over time have produced wonderful treasures of literary works that praise his excellent form. Some of these works noteworthy of mention include: Kitab Ash-Shifa bi Ta’rif Huquq Al-Mustafa (The Book of Healing by the Recognition of the Rights of or News of the Chosen One) by Qadi Iyad, The Shama’il (The Appearance of the Prophet ﷺ) of Imam Tirmidhi, the Qasidah-Al-Burdah (Poem of the Cloak) of Imam Busiri. Regardless of the source, the material will always focus on his excellence of moral character applied to the people around him.
He has been given the title: “Rahmathul-lil-‘Alameen” (Mercy to the worlds). The key word to focus on when dealing with others is the word mercy. As a father, husband, son, neighbor, friend, associate, advisor, judge, arbitrator, leader and servant, the Prophet ﷺ displayed the highest level of adab in a variety of different scenarios.
The key take-away from this reference needs to be the acknowledgement that we will most certainly encounter the same circumstances that he faced during his lifetime ﷺ. Our job is to extract the wisdom from a model that is consensually proven to be successful. Sounds easy enough! Why then do we constantly find ourselves in a state of deficit in our dealings with others, our Lord and even ourselves? The simple answer is that we create our own set of values that inevitably work against us and those that we encounter, which can be defined better as bad Adab. There are thousands of examples of bad etiquette solely designed to fulfill ones desires at the expense of somebody else’s loss and pain. Bad adab also forces you to live life in a state of dichotomy, two or more sets of values to be applied to fulfill one’s advantage.
In any case there will always be a group of people who spread negativity in any given situation they’re in. The only way to review that is by creating a good experience through excellent manners. It then becomes the job of those with proper etiquette to encourage change. Those that truly understand the worth of excellent manners will go out of their way to incorporate a wholesome set of values into the fabric of their daily lives. Even corporations understand the importance of “good culture” and that it will vary from business to business and from village to country. Executives go out of their way to understand the proper etiquette that must be displayed in order to foster and build quality relationships. Integrity is a highly sought attribute that human resources look for when hiring a professional for their organization and at the high level, we will find that those that are successful actually serve themselves through serving other people.
Some simple action items that will help make you a brand ambassador of your deen :
- Smile at others when you are the first one to enter a room 
- Give up your seat for an elder or a child when on a bus or any other social setting 
- When you see an elderly person carrying heavy things, take it from their hands 
- Open the door for people who are walking right behind you
- Never refuse somebody who is in need of your financial resources 
- Always give your full attention to someone who is addressing you or vice versa
- Whenever you speak, speak a good word 
- Be the first to run towards criticism and not away from it
- Position your thinking in such a way to empathize with every human being
- See the faults in yourself before you see them in others
Islam teaches us to be humble, tolerant and position ourselves to be the servants of humanity. There is serenity and bliss in this simplicity. Simplicity in good manners is the way of the Prophet ﷺ and the pleasure of the heavens.
 The Prophet ﷺ said: “When you smile to your brother’s face, it is charity.” Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1879)
 The Prophet ﷺ said: “He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly” Sunan al-Tirmidhî
 The Prophet ﷺ did not refuse to give anything which he had to someone if he asked for it.’ Sahih Bukhari (5687)
 The Prophet ﷺ said: “God has sent me to perfect good manners and to do good deeds.” Bukhari & Ahmed
Jameel A. Syed, (“The Muaddhin”) is a Muaddhin, author, traveler, national speaker and marketing executive based out of Auburn Hills, Michigan. On May 8th 2015, Syed became the 1st person in the history of the world to make the call to prayer across all 50 states in America within a record span of 35 days while reciting the last sermon of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Currently he is traveling across the United States and abroad engaged in the “50 Mosque Man Tour” – A visual and interactive keynote presentation of his historic journey across America. To learn more about his tour or to book a speaking engagement, please send an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @TheMuaddhin. #JameelSyed #TheMuaddhin #50MosqueMan