Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was sent as a messenger to humanity as a model human being. Malik, Mawatta, Ahmed, Musnad, and Mishkat al-Masabih report one of his sayings: “God has sent me as an apostle so that I may demonstrate perfection of character, refinement of manners, and superiority in behavior."
He was so concerned about treating the people around him in the best possible way that he used to pray, "O God! I am but a man. If I hurt anyone in any manner, then forgive me and do not punish me." (Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 6 pg. 103)
Following are five pieces of advice from the Prophet ﷺ about the importance of good character.
1. Hadith 285
... Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, said, "If one has good manners, one may attain the same level of merit as those who spend their nights in prayer."
2. Hadith 286
... Abu Hurayrah said, "I heard Abu al Qasim (the Prophet), upon him be peace, say, 'The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding."
3. Hadith 289
... 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amr said, "There are four characteristics that, if you possess them, will prevent you from being affected if you are deprived of certain worldly benefits. They are good character, chaste outlook, honesty, and trustworthiness."
4. Hadith 291
... Umm Darda reported that Abu Darda got up one night to pray and began to cry, saying, "O Allah, You created me with a good nature. Now, give me good manners." He repeated this prayer all night long. In the morning I said to him, "O Abu Darda, why did 'you spend the entire night repeatedly praying for good manners?" He said to me, "O Umm Darda, a believer will spend his time improving his manners so that, by means of them, he may enter Paradise. If he neglects his manners, they will lead him to the Fire. Moreover, a good Muslim will be forgiven even while he sleeps." When I asked him how that was possible, he replied, "His brother will get up at night and pray to Allah, and Allah will answer his prayers. He will pray for his brother, and Allah will answer his prayer for him as well.”
5. Hadith 296
... Nawas ibn Sam'an reported that the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, was asked about doing good and evil. He replied, "Doing good is having good manners. Doing evil is what troubles you inside and what you would not like others to know about."
May God help us be of the best character and manners for our families, friends and all people around us.
Reference: Imam Bukhari’s Book of Muslim Morals and Manners. Translated by Yusuf Talal-DeLorenzo. Published by Al-Saadawi Publications