Communication is the glue that binds people together
As humans we depend on effective communication with others for our relationships, networks, social bonding, and work. Without good communication, life as we know it would be impossible.
The area of interpersonal communication is as vast as it is important. There are different types of communication which we all use in our everyday interactions, and which all have their specific rules. Broadly, these categories are written communication, verbal communication (what we say and how we say it), non-verbal communication ( communication excluding the verbal, such as eye contact, body language, facial expressions), spatial communication (how our environment and we are positioned physically in relation to others) and haptic communication (communication involving touch).
It is no surprise that Islam has not left such an important aspect of our life to chance. In the Quran and Sunnah, we find excellent directive and examples to cultivate the type of communication skills which will enhance and enrich our lives.
- Greeting in the Islamic manner of peace: Assalam alaikum
Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said “Smiling in the face of your brother is charity”.
- Using soft voice and intonation
The Quran directs us to be measured and soft in speech, “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys” (Chapter 31 Verse 19).
- Using non-confrontational words and gestures
Minimizing difference between others and oneself often prevents confrontation and argument. Establish cordial relationships at every possibility. The Quran tells us, “And obey Allah and His messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed Allah is with the patient. (Chapter 8 Verse 46).
- Using direct and simple language excluding double-meanings and sarcasm
Using sarcastic, indirect or double-meaning language is strongly discouraged, as is using a person as the target of jokes or criticism.
- Inquiring about others
Inquiring about family and friends creates warmth in relationships and connects people together.
Create empathy by putting yourself in the position of the person you are communicating with to understand their perspective, issues and communication style.
Giving and receiving of gifts was a practice of our beloved prophet (peace be upon him). Gifts should be given and received as a means of practicing this sunnah and to establish positive relationships, not as a means competition or display of wealth.
- Shaking hands and embracing according to gender and relationship
Shaking hands and embracing are a part of sunnah. However there are specific rules about this as people of the same gender, or those who are ‘mahram’ can touch each other.
- Staying away from backbiting and creating factions
Creating rift and division by speaking ill about someone, backbiting, insulting or being involved in conspiracies are the evils of the tongue which lead to sinfulness and ultimately to jahannum or hell. These are considered to be very grave sins and we need to monitor our communication to guard against them.
- Ending a meeting with warmth and greetings of peace: Assalam alaikum