When it is Awkward Not to Show Manners – Omar Suleiman The basic courtesies that we show to one another, in front of each other, and when we’re entering and exiting a room. How you enter a room, how you exit a room.
Everyone says, “(تفضل).” “You go first.” The younger person takes to one side, and tries to let the elder enter in first. A person says, “You’re on the right side, and the Sunnah is, that you should go first.
” One person holds the door for the others, and says, “Go on out.” And there is a beautiful emphasis on akhlaq, on character, and on traits, and qualities. And some of these cultures in particular where, it’s almost a point that it’s overboard.
Now you get into your cars, and you start to drive out of the Masjid. And you are back on your way, and you’re driving in the neighborhoods, driving on the highways. And that same person, that if they were right in front of you, you would have held the door for, you would have said, “(تفضل عمي),” to the elder person go in front of me.
You would have humbled yourself, and express just such as a high level of manners and etiquette. Now that you’re driving next to them, you’re trying to run them off of the road, you’re cutting them off.
People are screaming at each other, and cursing each other out. People exchange nasty facial expressions and more. And all this happens, and it’s the same people that were just sitting together in the same room.
But, now everyone hates each other, and is cursing each other out, and is showing absolutely no courtesy, to one another. Now this is not, specific to a country or cultural context. It’s actually indicative of a human problem, which is, that, we tend to put on our best display of human manners, when it’s awkward, not to show manners, when it’s awkward, not to show a courtesy.
And it’s less about the person in front of you, as much as it is about you not being perceived in a certain way. It’s not necessarily that you’re honoring the grey hairs of the person that’s next to you.
Or that you’re trying to honor the Sunnah, because there’s a Sunnah of that we can apply when we drive too, and when we interact with each other on the road too. It’s that, I don’t want to be perceived as a person of no manners.
And I’m following basic cultural etiquette. And so I want to make sure, that I don’t cut someone off, I want to make sure this person goes ahead of me. And, I sit in the gathering, and I might uphold these high level of etiquette.
It’s about the way that I carry myself. But then, once you’re disconnected from that person, in a meaningful way, and that person, no longer is a human being, but just another car on the road. Then suddenly, all of that goes out the window.
And something else happens to you, something else takes over you.