The 10 Commandments of Social Intelligence
Social intelligence is a spirit that runs in the personality to make it close to people, able to communicate with them, understand their feelings and interests, influence them, gain friends and succeed in areas of education, guidance, media, business management, finance, trade ... and within the family, neighbors, relatives and others. It is the ability to successfully build relationships and navigate social environments.
Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said: “The believer is likable, easily approachable, and pleasant when approaching others. And there is no good in one who is difficult to approach and harsh with others. And the best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”
Man is a social creature that cannot live without communication with people around him; and his success in life depends on his success in such communication.
Social intelligence is the ability to understand others, establish close connections with them, influence them, and interact with them.
Like other types of intelligence, social intelligence is influenced by both genetic and social upbringing factors, especially at the early age, as well as acquisition-related factors that one can develop through practice and training.
In this paper, we will focus on factors that can be acquired through practice and training, given that it is the part that we can react with and control.
Following is a set of commandments and procedures that are useful in the development of social intelligence:
1- Accept yourself and accept others, and do not show discontent towards negative qualities that may be found in many people; sometimes you feel unpleased towards some of your physical, and perhaps psychological and mental qualities, or those belonging to others, but don’t be upset. You have to acknowledge that: “That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing”. (Surat Yasin - Verse 38), and that Allah Almighty will ask you about your deeds within the range of your will and ability. Start by acknowledging the existence of these negative qualities, along with other positive qualities, and work on developing and improving them diligently and gently. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) says: “You must be compassionate. Whenever there is compassion in something, it adorns it, and whenever it is removed from something it disgraces it.” And Allah Almighty says: “Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.” (Surat Al-Talaq - Verse 7). Be confident in God's mercy, help, and support; to be granted satisfaction and acceptance; and escape tension and discontent; and spread love around you.
2- Draw a sincere and friendly smile on your face; a smiling face is lovable to all people, and it is an easy-gained charity that you provide to people, and the Prophet (PBUH) says: “Smiling in the face of your brother is charity.”
The sweet smile provides tranquility to the smiling person himself before others, and adds beauty and brilliance to his face that cannot be achieved by a gloomy face. Smiling attract people to you, bridges the gap between those having differing views, and spreads love in society.
3- Show true love to those that you meet. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said: “If one of you loves his brother, let him tell him.”
When you shake hands with someone, do it warmly and affectionately, looking into his eyes while talking to him, which makes him feel your love and care. Also, ask how he and his family members do, and don’t embarrass him with questions about his personal and private affairs.
4- Speak clearly (like the Prophet used to do) in a moderate tone. If your friend fails to grasp the meaning you wanted to express, repeat your talk but using other words. Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet used to talk so clearly that if somebody wanted to count the number of his words, he could do so.”
Among Imam Banna commands, Martyr Imam Hassan al-Banna says: “Do not raise your voice more than what the hearer needs, otherwise it will be cruelty and abuse.”
You should also avoid using offensive words, or language that may be seen by the listener as a kind of arrogance or disdain. Note that the language that can be considered appropriate when you talk to a young man may be inappropriate when you talk to an old man. As Prophet Mohammed instructed us: “Treat people according to their status”, we should show respect to scholars, the elderly, and those of high social status.
5- Be a good listener and listen with interest to the person who is talking to you as you would like him to listen to you. Listen attentively to your interlocutor while looking into his face, and avoid interrupting him unnecessarily. Look for commonalities with him and ask gently about the points of disagreement, suggesting some positive ideas. Avoid addressing personal private affairs, and talk to the point on the topic you are discussing.
6- Be honest and stay away from the allegations that contain lies or exaggeration to avoid the wrath of Allah.
Always remember the Prophet’s Hadith that says: “Hold on to truth, for being truthful leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. Verily, a man will keep saying the truth and striving for truth, until he is written before Allah as very truthful (Siddiq).”
Be fair, acknowledge the virtues of others and their righteousness and achievements. It is honest to keep your behavior in accordance with the views you suggest.
7- Be modest and remember you have your own deficiencies, loopholes and defects, and that you are not necessarily better than others even though they may be younger, weaker, poorer, or of a lower social status than you.
True modesty prevents you from doing things or uttering words that belittle or diminish others.
It is also modest to settle yourself to accept the right even if it comes from your interlocutor. Imam Muhammad bin Idris al-Shafi'i (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “I never debated anyone but that I would love for him to be guided, directed, helped, and for him to be under the care of Allah and his protection. And I never debated with anyone but that I did not mind whether Allah clarified the truth on my tongue or his tongue.”
8- Look for the manifestations of genius, success and right in your companions, and encourage and demonstrate them to be a proof of your sincerity, humility and affection, and in order to boost their successes. On the other hand, pardon their slips, ignore their mistakes, and work to correct them in modesty, and take Prophet Mohammed as your role model in this. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that “when the Prophet (PBUH) was informed of anything of a certain man, he would not say: What is the matter with so and so that he says? But he would say: What is the matter with the people that say such and such?”
9- Check how your friends do, ask about them, visit them from time to time, go to check on the patient, attend their events; and help them with your money, social status, and skills.
10- The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Part of someone’s being a good Muslim, is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.” This is a sensitive issue. Every person has his own privacy that he does not like others to know; so, a good Muslim should not embarrass others by asking about such things. Instead, he would rather seek provision of aid and advice to them.
In conclusion, we should always recall what Allah has said in Surat Al-Aaraf – Verse 196: “For my Protector is Allah, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous.”