ISLAMIC MANNERS-12
Social Manners with the Elderly

5.1 RESPECT AND FAVOUR THE ELDERLY
Recognize the status of the elderly and give them due respect. When walking with them, walk slightly behind, to their right. Let them enter and exit first. If you meet them, greet them properly and respectfully. If 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 kind-hearted and you should lower your voice. Never forget to remain respectful.
Let me review with you some of the Prophet’s sayings and traditions that uphold these polite manners. Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Abdullah bin Sahl made a trip with Mahisa bin Masoud in Zayed to Khaibar. When they were to about to return, Mahisa found Abdullah had been murdered. He went to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم with his older brother, Howaisa and the victim’s brother, Abdul Rahman bin Sahl. Mahisa who witnessed the incident started to talk, but the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, ‘the elder, the elder.’ At that, Howaisa spoke and then Mahisa.

Another story emphasizes this behaviour further. When he was young, Abdullah bin Omar was at a gathering of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his senior companions like Abu Bakr and his father. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked his companions, ‘Tell what is the tree that does not shed its leaves and which is like the Muslim.’ The companions started suggesting names of desert trees. Abdullah bin Omar thought it was the date-palm. Since he was the youngest, and seeing Abu Bakr and Omar silent, he shied away and said nothing. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told his companions: ‘It is the palm tree’. Later, Abdullah told his father that he knew the right answer but shied away. Omar said to his son ‘For you to have said it right then, would have been worth a lot to me.’

Imam Ahmad, Al-Hakim and Al-Tabarani reported that ‘Ubada bin Al-Samit stated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘Whoever does not respect our elders is not one of us.’ Another version reported: ‘Whoever does not respect our elders, is not compassionate to our youth, and does not give our scholars due honour, he is not one of us.’

This should not be taken to belittle the youth or look down on them. Imam Bukhari reported that Ibn Abbas narrated that Omar was allowing him to attend his court with seniors who attended Badr. Some of them felt uneasy and asked, ‘Why are you permitting him to attend when he is as young as our children?’ Omar replied, ‘He is [knowledgeable] as you well know.’ Another version elaborates that Omar asked the seniors to explain Sura Al-Fatiha and only Abdullah in Abbas explained it correctly. Ibn Abbas said, ‘I thought he asked the question just to demonstrate my knowledge to them.’

5.2 THE ELDERLY ARE TO LEAD PRAYERS
The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught the youth the manners of companionship and the custom of giving precedence to elders. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that the honoured companion Malik bin Al-Hwaireth (RA) said: ‘I was with a youth group that visited the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم inMadina for twenty nights. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was very kind and compassionate. He sensed that we might have missed our families back home and he asked us about whom we had left behind. When we informed him, he said: ‘Go back to your families, live with them, teach them Islam and tell them of the good deeds. At the times of prayer, let one of you call the Azan, and have your eldest lead the prayer.’ ‘

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) specified in this particular case that the eldest should lead the prayers since they were equal in their knowledge and learning. Being older in such a case merits leading the prayers. If a person is more knowledgeable, then he should lead the prayer since knowledge is an honor higher than age as could be seen in the Hadiths on this subject.

If the prayers were offered at a house, the host is entitled to lead it. Out of respect, he may request a person who is more knowledgeable, older or more prominent. If the guest declines, the host should not hesitate to lead the prayers. Imam Ahmad reported in his Musnad that Abdullah ibn Masoud visited Abu Musa Al-Ashari. When it was time to pray, Abu Musa asked Ibn Masoud, ‘Please lead the prayers since you are older and have more knowledge.’ Ibn Masoud said, ‘ No, you lead the prayer. This is your house and praying area. You should lead the prayer.’ Abu Musa did lead the prayer then.
Engr.Sulthan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: