Home | Blog | Islamic Manners-RESPECTING THE ELDERLY


Recognize the status of the elderly and give them due respect. When walking with them, walk slightly behind, to the right. Let them enter and exit first. When you meet them, greet them properly and respectfully.

When you discuss something with them, let them speak first, and listen to them attentively and graciously.
If the conversation involves debate, you should remain polite, calm and gentle. Ensure that you speak to an
elder in a low tone. When you address him, never forget to remain respectful.

Let me review with you some ahādīth of Rasūlullāh that encourage these polite manners.

Two brothers came to Rasūlullāh to discuss a personal matter. The younger brother began to speak.
At this Rasūlullāh remarked, “The elder, the elder,” meaning, give the elder brother his right and allow him
to speak first. (Sahīh Bukhārī and Sahīh Muslim)

Sayyidunā ‘Ubādah Ibn Samit reports that Rasūlullāh said, “Whoever does not respect our elders
is not of us.” Another version reports, “Whoever does not respect our elders, is not compassionate to our
youth, and does not give our scholars due honour is not of us.” (Ahmad, Hākim and Tabarānī)

Observe in the following narration how Rasūlullāh taught the youth the manners of companionship and the habit of giving priority to elders.

Sayyidunā Mālik Ibn Huwairith said, “I was among a group of youth of similar age that visited Rasūlullāh
in Madinah for twenty nights. Rasūlullāh was very kind and compassionate. He sensed that we might have
been longing for our families back home, and enquired about whom we had left behind. When we informed
him, he remarked, “Go back to your families, live with them, teach them Islām and inform them of good deeds.

At the time of prayer, let one of you call out the adhān and let your eldest lead the salāh.” (Sahīh Bukhārī and
Sahīh Muslim)

Hāfidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hambalī has narrated from the Jurist, Imām ‘Alī Ibn Mubārak Al-Karkhī who studied under Imām Qadhī Abū Ya’lā Al–Hambalī, himself a jurist, judge and the chief shaykh of the Hambalī School of Law during his time. Imām Alī Ibn Mubārak
 says, “One day,Qādhī Abū Ya’lā said to me, while walking with him,
“If you had walked with someone you honour, where would you walk?” I replied, “I do not know.” He said, “Walk to
his right. Place him at the position of the imām insalāh,leave his left side clear, in case he needs to spit or get rid of dirt.” [Dhail-Tabaqātul Hanābilah] 

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