Praise be to Allah, The Exalted. May peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah his family, Companions, and whoever follows his example.
It is becoming of a Muslim to adhere to all that adorns him of noble traits and shun all that disgraces and discredits him.
One of the noble traits that are befitting of a Muslim is Waqar (dignity). We can (fairly) say that dignity is a moral attribute generated by the adherence to a number of noble morals, such as forbearance, serenity, composure gentleness, and steadfastness. This is why it was defined as: “Deliberateness towards the realization of wants.”
Al-Jahith defined it as follows: “Refraining from idle talk, futility, unnecessary gesturing and movement, keeping anger in check, listening attentively before asking questions, deliberateness in giving answers, guarding against haste, and promptness with regard to all matters.”
The pure Islamic Sharee‘ah (legal system) was keen on adorning the believers with dignity. With regard to establishing one of the key obligations in Islam, the Prophet urged the Muslims to adhere to dignity. He said: “If you hear the Iqamah (second call to prayer), walk to the prayer with tranquility and dignity, and do not hasten your pace (to join the congregational prayer). Perform of the prayer what you catch up with (i.e. with the Imam) and complete what you missed.”
If lay-Muslims are required to adhere to dignity, then the scholars and devout Muslims are required to adhere to it with greater reason. Such was the practice of the scholars of the righteous predecessors. An example is Imam Maaik ; whenever he related Hadeeth to his students, he would clean himself, wear perfume, comb his beard, and put on his best apparel. Allah, The Exalted, bestowed upon him a great share of dignity, so much so that the following verses of poetry were composed about him: “He would at times not answer the questions directed to him, and the questioners would not dare to remind him out of awe of him, and they would keep their heads down. He was endowed with the light of dignity and the honor of piety; revered like a king without being one.” (Translation of the poetry)
Adhering to dignity was the advice that Ibn Mas‘ood gave to those who are devoted to the Quran. He said: “The one who memorizes the Quran should be oft-weeping, sad, wise, forbearing, and serene. He should not be harsh, heedless, slugabed (lazy), loud, or rough.”
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “A man would pursue knowledge, and soon it would show in his earnest fear of Allah, decorum, sayings, gazes, and righteousness.”
When a person’s heart is alive and his face is adorned with bashfulness, he is prompted to adhere to dignity. He reveres other people, and they revere him in return, and he becomes characterized by dignity.
The more a person venerates and glorifies his Lord, the more people revere him. Whoever glorifies and venerates Allah, The Exalted, He will instill the love and reverence for him in the hearts of people.
On the other hand, the one who takes the Rights of Allah lightly, and the reverence for his Lord weakens in his heart, thus emboldening him to commit sins and transgress against His Limits and neglect His Commands and Obligations, Allah, The Exalted, will not cast reverence for him or awe of him into people’s hearts. Even if some people revere him to avoid his evil, it is a false reverence that is founded on hatred rather than love or admiration.
Finally, let us ponder over these beautiful verses composed by an Arab poet. And the meaning of the poem is: “Speak the truth, refrain from vain and idle talk, and do not use vulgar language or promote suspicions. Be dignified; speak less and think more. When you speak, do not give prolonged speeches; do not hasten to answer a question without deliberation, and do not answer a question that was not directed to you.”
We ask Allah, The Exalted, to adorn us with faith and bless us with dignity.