Good morals are one of the greatest purposes which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sent to promote among people. Allaah sent him to establish the religion of truth and a life of fairness and justice among people, after Allaah looked at the people of this earth and disapproved of them and hated what they were following of shirk, ignorance and bad morals, except for the remnants of the People of the Book.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) expressed this great aim, which was one of the aims of his mission, when he said “I have only been sent …” to give the impression that all beliefs and rulings of Islam are only aimed at achieving that purpose, which is to establish good morals and justice and kindness.
He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have only been sent to complete good morals.”
Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (2/318) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (no. 45).
Undoubtedly one of the greatest problems that some Muslims are suffering from today is the split between worship and morals, whereby the physical practice of acts of worship – in some people – has become like customs or rituals, in which the outward motions are done without any attention to their effect on the heart and soul, even though the four pillars of Islam – which are the most important acts of worship – are aimed at disciplining the soul and improving morals.
For example, concerning prayer Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Recite (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’aan), and perform As‑Salaah (Iqamat‑as‑Salaah). Verily, As‑Salaah (the prayer) prevents from Al‑Fahshaa’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al‑Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed) and the remembering (praising) of (you by) Allaah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising) of Allaah in prayers]. And Allaah knows what you do”
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man said: O Messenger of Allaah, “So and so (a woman) – and he spoke of how much she prayed and fasted and gave charity – but she annoys her neighbours with her (sharp) tongue.” He said: “She will be in Hell.”
He said: “O Messenger of Allaah, So and so (another woman) – and he spoke of how little she fasted and gave charity and prayed – but she gives cheese in charity and she does not annoy her neighbours with her (sharp) tongue.” He said: “She will be in Paradise.”
Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (2/440) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb (3/321) and by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (no. 190).
The same applies to the duty of fasting; the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated that a good attitude is the reward of an accepted fast, and that if a person does not find this benefit, then his fast will not benefit him at all before Allaah.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allaah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1903). Zakaah is also prescribed to purify the soul, and cleanse it of the stain of sin and spiritual maladies. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it”
The same applies to the fifth pillar of Islam, namely Hajj. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihraam), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj”
If we were to discuss the great importance of good morals in Islam. Quoting from the Qur'aan and Sunnah, it would take far too long. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) included a chapter in Madaarij al-Saalikeen (2/307) which he entitled The religion is all morals; whoever has better morals than you is more committed to the religion than you.
But it is sufficient for us to ponder how good morals are among the basic aims behind the prescription of the pillars of Islam. This is indicative of the sublime status of this aim, and the importance of adhering to it, and making it a priority for every Muslim who believes in the Oneness of Allaah (Tawheed).
What you have to do is to remind that person who is mistreating his wife and neighbours to fear Allaah, and tell him that Allaah does not approve of these actions of his, rather He is angered by his annoying his neighbour, wife and relatives. Where are the effects of qiyaam and prayer on his heart, attitude and actions?
But they should be kind towards him when advising him, because his keenness for worship is a sign of goodness, in sha Allaah. Imam Ahmad narrated in al-Musnad that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: So and so prays at night, but in the morning he steals. He said: He will what you mention concerning him will make him give up.
Al-Bayhaqi said in Majma’ al-Zawaa’id (2/261): The men of its isnaad are thiqaat (trustworthy). Shu’ayb al-Arna’oot and ‘Aadil Murshid said in Tahqeeq al-Musnad (15/483): its isnaad is saheeh and its men are thiqaat, the men of the two Shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
And Allaah knows best.