What is the meaning of courtesy and good word?
The fourth moral quality in the context of discarding evil is courtesy or a good word. The natural impulse which is at the root of this moral quality is cheerfulness. Before an infant is able to express itself in words it displays cheerfulness as a substitute for courtesy and good talk. That shows that the root of courtesy is cheerfulness which is a natural faculty and is converted into the moral quality of courtesy by being used on its proper occasion. The Divine teaching in this context is:
Say to people that which is good (2:84). Let not one people deride another people, haply they may be better than themselves; nor let one group of women deride another, haply the last may be better than the first. Defame not your people nor call them names (49:12). Eschew too much suspicion; Also spy not, nor backbite one another (49:13). Do not charge anyone with anything of which you have no proof, and remember that the ear and the eye and the heart will all be called to account (17:37).
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