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Respect in a Muslim Home


“Those who respect the symbols of Allah Ta’ala, verily it (this respect) stems from the piety of the heart.” (Al-Qur’aan S22:V32).

The Qur’aan-al-Kareem and Ahaadith strongly emphasise the lesson of RESPECT. Every household should endeavour that the inmates of the house display a high level of respect in everything that they say or do. If you show respect, you will earn respect.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) also stressed the lesson of respect upon the Sahaaba (RA) at every occasion. A Hadith clearly proclaims: “He who does not respect the elders amongst us and is not merciful upon the young, is not one of us.” Another Hadith states: “Verily it is from the dictates of the respect for Allah Ta’ala to respect a Muslim of advanced age, to respect a Haafiz of the Qur’aan who does neither exceed its bounds nor does he disregard it and to respect a just ruler.”

Among the numerous instances of emphasising respect, some of them are: Giving preference to the one who knows more Qur’aan, standing to welcome an elder, allowing the older person to speak first, respecting an Aalim of Deen, respecting a person whose hair has turned white, etc. The following Arabic saying very concisely describes the importance of respect in a person: “An Orphan is not one who has no parents; Verily he is an orphan who is deprived of knowledge and adab (respect/etiquette).”

There is a famous urdu saying that goes, “Baa adab baa naseeb, Be adab, be naseeb.” One who has respect is a fortunate person and the one that has no respect is unfortunate.

Experience has proven that, in any field of life, only those have excelled who were respectful to their teachers and seniors. Experience has also repeatedly proven that those who were devoid of respect, despite tremendous ability and potential, were largely unsuccessful. Hadhrat Imaam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatulahi Alay), who was endowed with an unimaginable sense of respect states: “I never stretched my legs in the direction of the house of my Ustaad (Imaam Hammaad) out of respect for him, though there were seven roads between my house and his (i.e. his house was seven blocks away)”

Just as respect is very important, the consequences of disrespect are dire. To disregard even a grain of food or a drop of water is very detrimental. It could result in one being deprived of the many bounties of Allah Ta’ala.

The following are some of the important aspects that have to be respected in a Muslim home;

Respect for one’s parents
While respect for elders is fast decreasing in general, shocking incidents regularly come to light indicating the level to which respect for parents has fallen. The Qur’aan declares: “Do not even say oof to them (parents).” The word “oof” in the Arabic language is to denote the slightest degree of displeasure. How can it ever be permissible to talk harshly to one’s parents or to argue with them? Yet, parents are physically abused by their children. May Allah Ta’ala save us. Such treatment towards parents will only invite calamity upon oneself.

Respect for the Qur’aan
The Book of Allah Ta’ala deserves the greatest honour and respect. Among the dictates of the honour and respect of the Qur’aan is that the Qur’aan should be learnt, recited regularly, acted upon and also handled correctly. The Qur’aan should always be kept with respect and be carried with respect. Children should never carry their Qur’aans to school in their school bags slung behind their backs or swinging on their sides. The Qur’aan must always be covered properly and carried in the right hand close to one’s heart. Never carry the Qur’aan in the left hand and swing it on one’s side. The disrespect to the word of Allah Ta’ala is the cause for many of our difficulties and hardships. It is necessary that we always handle the Qur’aan with the greatest respect and stress the same upon our children. Have a special place in our homes where the Qur’aans will be kept respectfully.

The same applies to Islamic literature. Many pamphlets, magazines and newspapers contain the name of Allah Ta’ala, Rasulullah b and aayaat of the Holy Qur’aan. These should never be disposed off. Rather a special box (an A4 paper box is a good idea) should be kept at home where these papers and magazines could be kept respectfully. When the box is full, it should be burnt, buried respectfully or deposited into the literature disposal boxes that are available in our masaajid. Bishr Haafi (Rahmatulahi Alay), a great saint, was blessed with wilaayat (sainthood) on account of him showing respect to a small piece of paper that contained the name of Allah Ta’ala.

Respect for the adhaan
When the adhaan is called out, all the members of the home should stop whatever they are doing and listen attentively to the adhaan. Everyone should reply to the words of the adhaan and recite the masnoon dua at the completion of the adhaan. It is makrooh and disrespectful to talk worldly things and engage in our mundane duties whilst the adhaan is called out. Many people attained lofty positions in the hereafter on account of showing respect to the adhaan.

Respect for the domestic workers
The domestic servants in our homes are also worthy of respect. Among the last advices of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to the ummat was to be kind to our servants. Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (Rahmatulahi Alay) used to say that we may have bought their time and service but we have not purchased their respect. Our children must be taught to address the servants respectfully. At times little children call them by their first names which is highly disrespectful. They should rather address them as uncle or aunty, as this displays more respect. At times, the children even speak to them harshly. The children as well as the adults must at all times display respect even to the workers at home.

Respect for the neighbour
Experience has proven that life becomes extremely enjoyable if neighbours respect each other’s rights. There are numerous Ahaadith that explain the rights of the neighbour which have already been discussed previously.

Respect for food
Among the great bounties that Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with is food and water. Thousands of people all over the world do not even have basic food requirements. Al-hamdulillah, Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with abundance in food and drink yet, at times, Allah forbid, we disrespect the food. Hadhrat Munshie Saahib (Rahmatulahi Alay), a great saint of our country, used to say that a nation that does not respect food and water can never progress in life. Unfortunately, on many occasions food is wasted and thrown away into dustbins. Thousands of litres of water is just wasted on account of not closing taps after use. In the recent past it was common for people to collect even the crumbs that fell onto the tablecloth and feed it to the ants. Food that is wasted or cannot be consumed for some reason could easily be stored away in a packet in the freezer and at some later stage fed to animals or even the fish in a river or the sea rather than throwing it away into the dustbin. Even the birds will eat our leftover food if it is kept somewhere in the garden instead of it being thrown away. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam has taught us that even if a morsel of food falls onto the ground, it should be picked up and eaten. It must not be thrown away.

Reason for loss of respect
Among the main reasons for the loss of respect is the constant exposure to Western culture through the media. The T.V., DVD’s, magazines, cell phones, comics and computer games, slowly erode the respect of our children. It is therefore necessary that we remove these influences from their lives and introduce them to the life of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, the Sahaaba (Radialahu Anhum) and the Akaabir (pious predecessors). If our children lose respect, Allah forbid, we too could become helpless victims of their gross disrespect. It will then be difficult to reverse the situation.

May Allah Ta’ala bless us all with this great quality of respect. Aameen.

– Talimi Board KZN

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