A Righteous Predecessor Advises his Son
Al Khataab ibn al Ma’laa al Makhzumee al Qurashee
Mohammad ibn al Mundhir ibn sa’eed related to me that Abu Hatim Muhammad ibn Idrees al Hanthalee said…that al Khataab ibn al Ma’laa al Makhzumee al Qurashee advised his son saying:
My son, fear Allaah and be obedient to Him. Avoid sinning by following His Sunnah and teachings in order to rectify your faults and attain bliss, indeed nothing whatsoever is hidden from Allaah. I put some directions together and drew out a plan for you. If you memorize, understand and act upon them, you would fill the eyes of kings and even the vagabond would be obedient to you. You would continue to be needed and honoured, people would continue to be in need of what you posses. So obey your father, suffice yourself with his advice and open your mind and heart to it.
Beware of excessive talking, joking, laughing and fooling around with brothers, indeed this removes respect / esteem and causes disputes. It is upon you to be tranquil and calm without having pride, which may be attributed to you, and without being arrogant, which may be said about you. Treat both friends and enemies pleasantly, prevent their harms without putting them down or holding them in high regard.
Take the middle path in all your affairs, for indeed the best affairs are the intermediary ones [i.e. between extremism and excessive lenience]. Speak little, spread the Salaam (Islaamic greeting of peace), and walk firmly and purposefully. Do not stamp your feet, drag your tail [i.e: Isbaal—pants, thawbs, izaar, etc.], raise your neck, robes or be conceited. Do not look around too much, stop at crowds or linger in the market.
Do not debate a lot and do not get into arguments with the foolish. When you speak, keep it short and limit joking. If you sit, cross your legs and avoid interlocking your fingers, playing with your beard, ring or sword handle. Do not clean between your teeth [while sitting in public], pick your nose or busy yourself with chasing flies away. Do not spy on others and so forth, which would cause people to belittle or insult you.
Your gatherings should be calm and your speech should be balanced…