How to Respect Your Elders

“O Allah, teach us manners! O Allah, teach us manners! One person is sitting next to his father, one leg on the other, sitting with his feet facing his father! Why?By Allah, one of our teachers in the Islamic Movement in Jordan entered a gathering and saw one of the youth sitting back, one leg over the other. He said to him: “Why are you sitting like this? Is this the Sunnah?”Does it make sense that Islam tells you to do this? Is it possible? It is reported in the ‘Sahihayn’ that when Fatimah would enter the dwelling of the Messenger of Allah, he would get up for her, hug her, and spread a mat on the ground for her to sit on. Fatimah was a fourteen year-old girl!

Because of this, I wish that we and our youth would read the fatawa. Whatever Ibn Taymiyyah says, we accept. Ibn Taymiyyah is the Shaykh of the Salafiyyin; we accept whatever he says. Ibn Taymiyyah says: “It is allowed to stand up out of respect for those who are people of position and righteousness.” Likewise, an-Nawawi wrote a book on this topic, titled ‘at-Tarkhis bil-Qiyam,’ (The Allowance of Standing) which is a full book in which he brought many authentic ahadith, and said that this is what such-and-such scholars agreed on – including Ahmad bin Hambal and Malik – that they would stand up in such situations.

So, gatherings require an attitude of respect. One of our brothers said to me: “I never in my life relaxed in the presence of my father, because I consider this to be bad manners in respecting the parents. If he would order me to do something, or speak to me about anything, I would stand between his hands until he would finish what he wanted to say. Then, I would wait either for he or my mother to allow me to leave.”

Manners! O Allah, teach us manners!”

[‘Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah’; p. 79]

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