The Practices of the Prophet (UWBP) are courtesy. There is no matter among them beneath which a light, and courtesy, is not found. God’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: “My Sustainer taught me good conduct, and how well he taught me.”1 Yes, anyone who studies his biography and is acquainted with his practices will certainly understand that Almighty God brought together in His Beloved every sort of courtesy and good conduct. So if anyone gives up the practices, he abandons courtesy. He exemplifies the rule, “The ill-mannered person is deprived of divine favour,” and is discourteous in a way that causes him loss.
Q u e s t i o n : How can there be courtesy in the face of the Knower of All Things, who sees and knows everything and from whom nothing can be hidden? Situations which cause shame or embarrasment cannot be concealed from Him. One sort of courtesy is covering the necessary members and veiling distasteful situations. But nothing can be hidden from the sight of the Knower of All Things.
T h e A n s w e r : Firstly: Giving it the greatest importance, the Glorious Creator wants to show that His art is beautiful; He veils detestable things; He attracts attention to His bounties by decorating them. So too, He wants to show to conscious beings that His creatures and servants are beautiful. Their appearing in ugly situations is a sort of rebellion against His names of Beauteous, Adorner, Subtle, and Wise, and is contrary to courtesy. Thus, the courtesy of the Prophet’s (UWBP) practices means assuming a stance of pure courtesy within the bounds of the Glorious Maker’s names.
Secondly: Professionally, a doctor may examine the private member of someone who is canonically a stranger to him, and if necessary it may be shown to him and this cannot be said to be discourteous. Indeed, it may be said that the conduct of medicine requires it. But the same doctor may not examine the member as a man, or as a preacher or teacher, and courtesy cannot issue a fatwa permitting it to be shown. To do so would be shameless.
In just the same way, the Glorious Maker has numerous names and each has a different manifestation. For example, just as the name of Oft-Forgiving requires the existence of sins and Veiler, the existence of faults, so the name of Beauteous does not wish to see ugliness. Names pertaining to divine beauty and perfection like Subtle, Munificent, All-Wise, and All-Compassionate require that beings be in the most beautiful form and best possible situations. Such names want to display their beauties in the view
al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, i, 224; Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu’ Fatawa, xviii, 375; al-‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’, i, 70.