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The Importance Of Politeness, Manners And Etiquette In Islam

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Politeness is sometimes a reflection of our own personality. The word ‘politeness’ originated from the simple word polite, which is showing good manners toward others through our behaviour and speech. Politeness could also be defined as the application of good manners or etiquette towards other people no matter familiar or unfamiliar. Politeness is also a culturally defined phenomenon. Thus, sometimes what is considered as polite in one culture can be interpreted as quite rude or simply eccentric in another cultural context. Politeness is without doubt an important aspect of human interaction. However, it is a topic that is rarely mentioned in debates on metapragmatics in contemporary societies. More precisely, according to Mills and Kádár (2011), “if politeness is discussed at all outside academia, it is most often referred to as a phenomenon in decline across modern societies’’.

On the other side, Islam strongly emphasized on politeness among its believers towards all creatures and not only towards human being as required by our creator, Allah SWT. It is known to all Muslim that a person can’t be a true Muslim if he does all the required ‘ibadat’ ,as in prayer five time a day, fasting, zakat and pilgrimage, but neglects an important side of his worship, which is ‘adab’ or good manners. For example, a person who offers his daily prayers in mosque timely and in proper way, but when dealing with other people in his daily life is the worst person, even his farthest neighbour cannot be considered as a true Muslim.

It is said in Hadith 6018 of The Book of Al-Adab (Good Manners) by Sahih Al Bukhari that whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour and anybody. “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk).” (Sahih Al Bukhari 1: Chapter 79, Hadith 6018)

In this research, we aim to study the level of awareness on politeness among the students at Kulliyyah of Language and Management (KLM) and how far they apply the concept of politeness in their daily life. We could see its results based on the results of questionnaires through Google Form that we had already distributed to all students in KLM.

Politeness can be said as behaviour that is socially correct and shows understanding of and care for the other people’s feeling. Politeness also is the practical application of good manners or etiquette so as not to offend others. Next, theory of politeness formulated in 1978 and revised in 1978 by Brown and Levinson. Politeness theory can be defined as using communicative strategies to create and maintain social harmony. (Oxford Learners Dictionary).” Face is the public self-image that every member wants to claim for themselves.” (Brown and Levinson. 1987) – Face- Threatening Act (FTA) Positive and Negative.

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First and foremost, one influential model of politeness is based on the notion of face (Brown and Levinson 1987). “Face” refers to a speaker’s sense of linguistic and social identity. There are two kinds of “face”. First, a negative face is your desire to be unimpeded in your action. Second, a positive face is your desire for identification with the community. Brown and Levinson’s Politeness Theory said that the use of politeness is seen as deliberate and free decision of the individual based on consideration of context and the face wants of involved participants.

In addition, Robin Lakoff (1973) Language and woman’s Place pointed out three maxims that are conventionally followed. Together they make up the politeness principle such as don’t impose, give options and make your receiver feel good. These maxims can explain why many utterances carry no information but have the function of facilitating social interaction. Lakoff also ranks among the earliest scholars who dealt with the concept of politeness in relation to pragmatics. Based on Grice’s maxims distinguishes three types of politeness from a behavioural point of view. First, polite behavior which is clear when interlocutors follow the politeness rules, whether or not expected. Second, non-polited behaviour which does not conform with politeness rules, where conformity is not expected. Thirdly, rudeness, where politeness is not transformed, although expected.

Next, Leech’s Politeness Principles. It is also based on Grice’s maxims. Leech’s Politeness Principles concerned with absolutes politeness, indicating that speech acts are either inherently polite or impolite, based on their illocutionary force, where order is inherently less polite than request. Leech (1996:82) states that his general politeness principle is basically used to maintain social equilibrium which may be harmed by some speech acts. Leech’s Politeness Principles propose four main ‘illocutionary functions’, namely, competitive, convivial, collaborative, and conflictive in correlation with social goal stressing that the first two types.

Politeness exists in human behaviour as a means to bypass or decrease the likelihood of conflict with another. It creates a set of rules or conduct codes that guide and at times dictate human behaviour. Based on (Frindlund,1991), interaction partners’ smiles may lead receivers to anticipate positive social outcomes whereas frowns suggest otherwise. For example, begin with smiles as it makes it easier to leave a good impression in social or professional settings. Someone who speaks to others in a courteous manner is more likely to leave a good impression than someone who has bad manners. Being polite is especially important when communicating with customers and colleagues.

Second, Palmer (1981: 62-63), during the conversation, the ability to speak which is to identify the person to whom he is speaking. It can be said that a polite person always shows the best ways to speak with be careful in choosing words. If we are positive, we will get positive outcomes such as everyone loves to hear good and respectful words. These are some of the good habits that make our life meaningful. There are some magic words which really reflect politeness in our behaviour. Some of them are: ‘sorry,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. If we break something or hurt someone, we should apologise by saying sorry.

Lastly, Gleason & Ratner (1998:286) perceive that politeness means acting so as to take care of the feelings of others. Being polite means being aware of and respecting the feelings of other people. Politeness can and will improve your relationship with others which means always praise or congratulate others on their achievements. It must also need to be seen as genuine from your heart. This action makes a polite person will always please others by his polite behaviour and good manners. In conclusion, politeness means consideration for the feelings of others. A polite man always puts the feelings of others first. He will not say things that will hurt them; he will never speak in a rude way that will offend them.

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The Importance Of Politeness, Manners And Etiquette In Islam. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
“The Importance Of Politeness, Manners And Etiquette In Islam.” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
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