Does the statement "Courtesy (adab) comes before deeds" exist in the religious resources; is it significant?

Details of the Question

- Is the statement "Courtesy (adab) comes before deeds" a rumor? Does it exist in the religious resources; is it significant?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- We have not been able to find such a statement in the religious resources that we have examined.

- However, the concept adab (courtesy, good manners) is very important in Islam. It is good manners for a person to act in accordance with the requirements of his belief. It is good manners to avoid disobedience to Allah. It is good manners to act in accordance with Allah’s orders and prohibitions.

In addition, deeds of worship like prayer and fasting have adabs along with fards, wajibs and sunnah.

The most well-known meaning of adab is being modest and solemn.

“The first thing human beings learn from prophets is this: ‘If you do not feel ashamed, do whatever you wish.’(Majmauz-Zawaid, 8/27)

It is possible to understand how important adab is from the hadith above.

It should not be forgotten that each one of the universal ethical values introduced by Islam is an adab. The following statement by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi sheds light on the issue:   

“The Practices (Sunnah) of the Prophet (pbuh) are courtesy. There is no matter among them beneath which a light, and courtesy, is not found! Allah’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: اَدَّبَنِى رَبِّى فَاَحْسَنَ تَاْدِيبِى That is, 'My Sustainer taught me good conduct, and how well he taught me.' Yes, anyone who studies his biography and is acquainted with his practices will certainly understand that Almighty Allah brought together in His Beloved every sort of courtesy and good conduct. So if anyone gives up his practices, he abandons courtesy. He exemplifies the rule,  بِى اَدَبْ مَحْرُومْ بَاشَدْ اَزْ لُطْفِ رَب (The ill-mannered person is deprived of divine favor) and is discourteous in a way that causes him loss.”(Lem'alar, On Birinci Lem'a, Yedinci Nükte).

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