Tuesday 21 November 2023

Etiquettes in Islam: Make room for others in gatherings - Allah will bestow amplitude on you

Qur'an is a book of guidance that present a complete code of life for the guidance of its followers. While there are many cautions and warnings to avoid evil, there are many aspects of social life that are taught to respect and look after the interests of others. These also include etiquettes that one should adhere to when in the company of people. Even otherwise, one must show extreme courtesy to others which may facilitate their life.

Today we share the 11th verse of Surah 58. Al Mujadila that is about etiquette of attending gatherings and specially the one's which are also attended by men of letter and respect.

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا قِيۡلَ لَـكُمۡ تَفَسَّحُوۡا فِى الۡمَجٰلِسِ فَافۡسَحُوۡا يَفۡسَحِ اللّٰهُ لَـكُمۡ​ ۚ وَاِذَا قِيۡلَ انْشُزُوۡا فَانْشُزُوۡا يَرۡفَعِ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مِنۡكُمۡ ۙ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡعِلۡمَ دَرَجٰتٍ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ خَبِيۡرٌ‏ 
(58:11) Believers, when you are told: “Make room for one another in your assemblies,” then make room; Allah will bestow amplitude on you. And when it is said: “Rise up,” then rise up; Allah will raise to high ranks those of you who believe and are endowed with knowledge. Allah is well aware of all that you do.
Some commentators regard this Command as restricted to the assemblies of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace). But as pointed out by Imam Malik, the correct view is that this is a general instruction for the assemblies held by the Muslims. One of the rules of etiquette taught by Allah and His Messenger to the Muslims is that when they are sitting in an assembly and some more people arrive, they should have the courtesy to accommodate the new-comers and should squeeze in together as far as possible to make room for them to sit. The newcomers also should have the courtesy not to press in forcibly and make others rise up in order to take their place. In the Hadith Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Umar and Hadrat Abu Hurairah have reported that the Holy Prophet said: Nobody should make another person rise up so as to take his place, but you should yourself make room for others. " (Musnad Ahmad Bukhari Muslim). And Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Amr bin 'As reports that the Holy Prophet said: "It is not lawful for a person that he should forcibly press in between two men except by their leave." (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da 'ud, Tirmidhi).

'Abdur Rahman bin Zaid bin Aslam stated that the people used to prolong their sitting in the Holy Prophet's assemblies and tried to sit till the end. This caused him inconvenience and discomfort as well as hindrance in his daily chores. At this Allah sent down this Command, teaching the people the etiquette: `When you are told to rise up froth the assembly, you should rise up and disperse." (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). 

(Allah will raise to high ranks) That is, "You should not think that if in the Holy Prophet's assembly, you had to sit a little farther away from him for the sake of making room for others, you would be reduced in rank or if you were asked to rise up and disperse from the assembly, you were disgraced. The real means of exaltation of ranks is faith and knowledge, and not an opportunity to sit nearest to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) in his assembly and sit the longest. If a person happened to sit nearer to him, it does not mean that he became exalted in rank, for the high ranks belong only to those who have attained the wealth of knowledge and faith. Likewise, the person who prolonged his sitting with the Holy Prophet only to cause him inconvenience and discomfort, in fact, displayed a lack of good manners. His sitting near him for a long time will not exalt him in rank in any way. Far higher and exalted in rank in the sight of Allah is he who attained to taste faith and knowledge and imbibed the morals that should belong to a believer. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
(O YOU who have attained faith! When you are told, "Make room for one another in your collective life",) Lit., "in the assemblies (al-majalis)". Although it is frequently assumed that this refers to the assemblies held by the Prophet, when his followers would throng around him in their eagerness the better to hear what he had to say, or - more generally - to congregations in mosques, etc., in later times, I am (with Razi) of the opinion that the plural noun majalis is used here in a tropical or metaphorical sense, denoting the totality of men's social life. Taken in this sense, "making room for one another" implies the mutual providing of opportunities for a decent life to all - and especially to the needy or handicapped - members of the community. See also the next note.

(Do make room: [and in return,] God will make room for you [in His grace].) Commenting on this passage, Razi says: "This verse indicates that if one widens the means (abwab) of happiness and well-being of God's creatures ('ibad), God will widen for him all that is good in this life and in the hereafter. Hence, no reasonable person (al-'aqil) could ever restrict [the purport of] this verse to merely making room for one another in an [actual] assembly."

(And whenever you are told, "Rise up [for a good deed]", do rise up;) The interpretation implied in the words "for a good deed" interpolated by me above is analogous to that offered by most of the classical commentators, and most explicitly by Tabari; in the words of Qatadah (ibid.), "Whenever you are called upon to do a good deed, respond to this call."

([and] God will exalt by [many] degrees those of you who have attained to faith and, [above all,] such as have been vouchsafed [true] knowledge:) Cf. the saying of the Prophet: "The superiority of a learned man ('alim) over a [mere] worshipper ('abid) is like the superiority of the moon on the night when it is full over all other stars" (Ibn Hanbal, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Darimi).

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Even when a great man or a Leader comes into an Assembly, we are not to press forward without discipline, as it causes inconvenience to him and detriment to public business. Nor are we to shut out other people who have equal rights to be in the Assembly. We must spread out, for Allah's earth is spacious, and so are our opportunities.

"Rise up" here may imply: 'when the Assembly is dismissed, do not loiter about'.

Faith makes all people equal in the Kingdom of Allah, as regards the essentials of citizenship in the Kingdom. But there is leadership, and rank and degree, joined with greater or less responsibility, and that depends on true knowledge and insight.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
(make room in the gatherings of the Prophet when you are bidden to do so; ) This has been said to curb the mischief worked by the Hypocrites in the gatherings of the Prophet (sws) through their whispering, gesturing, veiled references and sarcastic remarks. When people are told on behalf of the Prophet (sws) that they should not sit in groups but sit with spaces between them, then this directive should be obeyed without any reluctance. 

(God will make room for you.) Ie., God will create room and space for them in Paradise ahead. However, there are some insinuations in this for this world as well. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:

… The apparent sense of these words is that the Almighty will create room for them in Paradise; however, the truth of the matter is that for the person who widens his heart for others, the Almighty widens the hearts of others for him. Every deed of a person, whether apparent or hidden, good or evil has a natural impact; its true manifestation will take place in the Hereafter yet its consequences are also seen in this world as well, provided a person has eyes to see them. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 262) 

(And when it is said: “Get up,” then you should get up.) The implication is that if the whole gathering is disbanded or if a person is told individually to change his place or leave the gathering, then he should do so without any objection or hesitation and obey the Prophet (sws) whole-heartedly.

(God will elevate to high ranks those among you who have accepted faith and who are given knowledge.) These words are very meaningful. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:

… The implication is that the Hypocrites who have infiltrated in the ranks of the Muslims will definitely raise objections against such a directive; they will regard giving space to others by getting up as tantamount to disgracing them. Some of them would even think that they are inferior to others with regard to knowledge and deeds because of which they have been given preference over them; however, men of knowledge and the faithful who whole-heartedly obey this directive will be greatly rewarded in the Hereafter by the Almighty. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 263)

In light of the above quoted verse and its explanation thereof by some of the eminent scholars, we should try to learn the etiquettes of a gathering and should not violate these as these are Divine commandments, not to be set aside or ignored. Verily, Allah is well aware of all that you do.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Social Relations and Etiquettes 

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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