Our entire life is in submission to the way of Islam. One of the most brilliant aspects of the Islamic moral system is that it does not neglect a single aspect of our life without setting out the laws for it. Even how we sit and how we sit among our brethren. Islam is a complete and perfect religion because this entire system was created by the One Who is our Supreme Lord and Creator, the One Who knows us far better than anyone else and He also knows what is best for us. The two basic sources, Quran and Sunnah tell us how to behave in interactions with others. They also inform us how to conduct our gatherings.
Generally, there are two types of gatherings that we usually conduct, public or private. The public gatherings are basically and usually attended without invitations and they are held in mosques and big halls, but private gatherings are held for certain people and they are invited to these gatherings.
It is too important for us to know the actual manners and etiquette for joining such gatherings and we should adhere to the following manners when sitting and being in a gathering:
1). Asking For Permission
Before entering any place or any private gathering at a home, or private space, such as one’s room, one should ask for permission. Allah (SWT) says:
“O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome.” (An-Nur 24:27).
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Permission should asked for three times; if you were given permission (then enter). Otherwise, go back.” (Musnad Ahamad 19175).
2). Greeting Those Who Are In The Gathering While Entering And Leaving
Allah (SWT) says:
“O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants.” (An-Nur 24:27).
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“When one of you comes to a gathering, let him say Salam (greetings), and when he wants to leave let him say Salam, for the former is not more of a duty than the latter.” (Abu Dawud 2508).
It means that Salam should be said both when joining and leaving a gathering and meeting, both are important and essential; it has reward and righteousness and also the supplication for good and peace.
3). Making Room for One Another
Allah (SWT) tells us that we should make room for others. He (SWT) instructs us in the following verse:
“O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room. Allah will give you (ample) room (from His Mercy).” (Al-Mujadilah 58:11).
4). Asking Someone to Give Up His Place
It is not right to ask someone to give up his space and place for you or for anyone else. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“If one of you gets up from his spot and then comes back to it, he has more right to it.” (Muslim 2179).
5). Newcomers to Sit At the First Place Available
It is the right manner for gathering in Islam to a newcomer to sit in the first place available to him. Jabir bin Samurah (RA) said:
“When we came to the Prophet (PBUH), one of us would sit wherever there was room.” (Abu Dauwd 4825).
6). It Is Not Permissible For Anyone to Sit Between Two People Who Are Sitting Side By Side without Their Permission
Sitting between two people who are already sitting close to each other is not proper, except if they allow and make room for the newcomer. Similarly, sowing a seed of discord among two Muslim brothers is a major sin. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“It is not permissible for a man to come between two others, except with their permission.” (Abu Dauwd 4845).
7). Not to Sit In The Middle Of A Circle
Hudhaifah (RA) said that:
“Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) cursed the one who sits in the middle of the circle.” (Abu Dauwd 4856).
8). Not to Talk Secretively In The Presence Of a Third Person
When two individuals talk to each other while ignoring the third person in their company, it causes him to worry, and creates sorrow and grief; he thinks they do not trust him and they are hiding the matter from him considering him unreliable. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“When there are three of you, then let two not converse in exclusion of their companion or the third, for indeed that will worry him.” (At-Tirmidhi 2852).
9). Mentioning The Name Of Allah In All Gatherings In Islam (Remembering Allah)
An assembly or gathering in Islam of people where there is neither remembrance of Allah nor sending of peace and blessings upon the Prophet (PBUH), remains without the mercy of Allah. Such gatherings are harmful and they harden the hearts. Carelessness and negligence from the remembrance of Allah bring misfortune and afflictions. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“No group gathers in a sitting in which they do not remember Allah, nor send peace and blessings upon their Prophet (PBUH), except it will be a source of remorse for them. If He Wills, He will punish them, and if He Wills, He will forgive them.” (At-Tirmidhi 3380).
10). Say The Specified Supplication When The Gathering Is Over
When a person sits in a sitting, usually he engages in empty and meaningless speech, and he talks about useless and vulgar topics that are below the dignity of a Muslim and are liable to accountability, so the Prophet (PBUH) taught this supplication which is expiation for such empty and meaningless speech. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever sits in a sitting and engages in much empty, meaningless speech and then says before getting up from that sitting of his: ‘Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise, I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except You, I seek Your forgiveness, and I repent to You,’ whatever occurred in that sitting would be forgiven to him.” (At-Tirmidhi 3433).
11). Attend Gatherings As Clean As Possible
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever eats from these vegetables” – meaning garlic, and on one occasion he said: “Whoever eats garlic, onions or leeks – let him not come near our Masjid, for the Angels are offended by the same things that offend the sons of Adam.” (Muslim 564).
12). Forbidding Evil
One must forbid every evil that he witnesses in front of him. This is because stopping evil, like ordering what is good, is a responsibility upon every Muslim. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said:
“Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand (by taking action); if he cannot, then with his tongue (by speaking out); and if he cannot, then with his heart (by hating it and feeling it is wrong), and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim 49).
13). Refrain From Sitting In The Pathways:
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Beware! Avoid sitting on the roads (ways).” (Al-Bukhari 2465).
To sum up what has gone in the textual evidence of this topic, one should remember Allah on all occasions. This will establish and strengthen his relationship with Allah, removing heedlessness from his heart and mind. It is heedlessness that prompts man to trespass Divine rules and limits, whereas the remembrance of Allah prevents him from indulging in backbiting and passing slanderous remarks against people in their absence or reproaching and belittling someone at meetings and gatherings. Unfortunately, such petty and negative remarks are relished at chat sessions in our society. This generates grudge, ill-will, and hostility in hearts and splits up social cohesion and Islamic solidarity. Every Muslim should, therefore, take care to avoid such gatherings.