In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Abu Dardaa [radiyallaahu anhu] reported that the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, “The heaviest [deed] on the scale [i.e. the scale of good deeds on yawmul qiyaamah] is good manners [or good character]”.
This hadeeth contains proof regarding the virtue of good manners and that it is obligated [on a person] to be good mannered. The knowledge of the Sharee’ah is the basis [or foundation] of [good] manners and it is the means to [acquiring it]. If Allaah favours a person with knowledge of the Sharee’ah, then indeed it will lead him to good manners, and thus a Muslim slave of Allaah becomes well-mannered towards people through good dealings – helpful to the weak, honours guests, greets people with the Salaam, teach [others], command good and forbid evil. All these deeds are fruitful outcomes of good manners.
A person cannot be well-mannered until he is from those who are obedient to Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] and distances himself from acts of disobedience to Allaah- meaning that his manners should be in conformity with what the Sharee’ah has obligated. He fulfils Allaah’s commands and feels shy – in the presence of Allaah – to fall short in that which Allaah has commanded him. He abandons acts of disobedience, forbidden deeds and evil doing out of shyness in the presence of Allaah, and out of being merciful to himself because these acts are a cause of punishment in this life and the next. Also, this is what he does in relation to everything that Allaah has obligated on him [i.e. obedience to Allaah] and he distances himself from what Allaah forbids and hates. And Allaah knows best.
Being well mannered includes:
Being well-mannered In The Presence of Allaah by fulfilling the rights of Allaah in the most perfect manner – neither being negligent nor going beyond the legislated boundaries of the sharee’ah.
Being Well-mannered Towards Family; first and foremost – towards one’s wife, son, daughter and others in the family, so that harmony, mutual co-operation and a good feeling towards one another exits between everyone, and there exist neither splitting nor separation. Being Well-mannered Towards Parents; to be dutiful to them and refrain from being undutiful; merciful towards them and supplicate for them; treat them kindly – whether they are alive or have passed away- by supplicating for them, giving charity on their behalf and mentioning them in a good manner. Being Well-mannered Towards Extended Blood Relatives – those who are related to you from your father’s side and mother’s side.
Being Well-mannered Towards Neighbours: Even if the neighbour is a disbeliever, he has rights. And if he is a Muslim, he has the rights of a Muslim and a neighbour. And if he is a relative, he has three rights – the rights of a Muslim, the rights of a neighbour and the rights of a relative.
Being Well-mannered Towards One’s Companions by speaking to them in a pleasant manner and fulfilling the rights of companionship. Being Well-mannered Towards One’s Shuyookh – those Shuyookh of Ahlus Sunnah from whom you seek knowledge – by honouring them, dealing with them in a good manner and always supplicating for them, because a teacher provides tremendous good to his students. As for ahlul bidah wad-dalaal [the people of bidah and misguidance], even if some of them study from others, there is no benefit in their instructions and learning. Good Manners Between Fellow Students, whether they are together in the schools, specific gatherings, a specific lesson in the Masjid or a specific place designated for that purpose. A person should be well-mannered, and this should be manifested in good speech, good deeds, good dealings and being truthful in one’s promises; loving one another based on that love legislated in the Sharee’ah and loving one another for the sake of Allaah. This is why the virtue of this lofty deed [i.e. good manners (or good character)] has been mentioned, just as it has been stated in the hadeeth: “The heaviest thing on the scales [i.e. on yawmul qiyaamah] is good manners” – meaning the heaviest deed on the scale of good deeds is good manners, because it leads to every virtuous deed and opposes all different types of evil. And Allaah knows best.
An Excerpt from ‘At-ta’leeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah’- By Shaikh Zayd Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah]. Pages 38-39. Slightly paraphrased