10 Etiquettes towards Elderly in Islam and Hadith
There is nothing else that is more important to be respected other than The Prophet Muhammad and our parents. The Messenger of Allah never fails to remind us to pay our respect and devotion to those who are older than us, whether it is our own parents or another elderly. Therefore, there are some etiquettes towards parents that The Prophet has manifested for us:
1. Don’t glare at them
As someone far younger, we are advised to never stare at someone older than us with a death glare and displeasedly. Stare warmly and gently while engaging with the elderly.
As how Bukhari (2731-2732) narrated, on which The Prophet companions always stare at him with respect while being on his side.
2. Don’t cut their words
The next etiquette is by letting them finish first. Let the elderly to speak first to make them feel comfortable and delighted.
Ibn Umar radhiyallahu ‘anhuma narrated:
كُنَّا عِنْدَ النَّبِىِّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – فَأُتِىَ بِجُمَّارٍ فَقَالَ « إِنَّ مِنَ الشَّجَرِ شَجَرَةً مَثَلُهَا كَمَثَلِ الْمُسْلِمِ » . فَأَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَقُولَ هِىَ النَّخْلَةُ ، فَإِذَا أَنَا أَصْغَرُ الْقَوْمِ فَسَكَتُّ ، قَالَ النَّبِىُّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – « هِىَ النَّخْلَةُ »
There is a tree amongst trees, the leaves of which do not wither and that is like a Muslim; tell me which that (tree) can be? The people began to think of the trees of the forest. Abdullah said: I thought that it could be the date-palm tree, but I felt hesitant (to say that). They (the Companions) then said: Allah’s Messenger, (kindly) tell us which that can be? Thereupon he said: It is the date-palm tree. (Hadith Muslim, 2811)
3. Speak softly
As someone younger, we ought to speak softly and compassionately. Never raise our voice furthermore scolding or screaming at them.
Al-Musawwir radhiallahu’anhu narrated the way how The Prophet companions speak (to him),
وإذا تكَلَّمَ خَفَضُوا أصواتَهم عندَه ، وما يُحِدُّون إليه النظرَ؛ تعظيمًا له
“If the companions speak to The Messenger of Allah, they lowered their voice and never glare at him as a form of worship to him” (Hadith Al-Bukhari, 2731)
4. Not to sit down while the Elder standing
If the elder is on their feet, then it is advised to us to stand on our feet too instead of sitting down in front of them. This is to shun the infidels custom to sit while the elderly stands which are unpolite in Islam.”
Jabir Abdillah narrated:
اشتكى رسولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فصلينا وراءَه وهو قاعدٌ, وأبو بكرٍ يُسْمِعُ الناسَ تكبيرَه, فالتفتَ إلينا فرآنا قيامًا فأشار إلينا فقعدنا, فصلينا بصلاتِه قعودًا. فلما سلَّمَ قال: إن كدتُم آنفًا لتفعلون فعلَ فارسَ والرومِ, يقومون على ملوكِهم وهم قعودٌ. فلا تفعلوا. ائتموا بأئمَّتِكم. إن صلى قائمًا فصلوا قيامًا وإن صلى قاعدًا فصلوا قعودًا
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was ill and we said prayer behind him and he was sitting. And Abu Bakr was making audible to the people his takbir. As he paid his attention towards us he saw us standing and (directed us to sit down) with a gesture. So we sat down and said our prayer with his prayer in a sitting posture. After uttering salutation he said: You were at this time about to do an act like that of the Persians and the Romans. They stand before their kings while they sit, so don’t do that; follow your Imams. If they say prayer standing, you should also do so, and if they say prayer sitting, you should also say prayer sitting.”
5. Elderly first, us later
As to how The Prophet told us about three lad trapped in a cave. One of them prayed to Allah where in that pray he showed that he always precedes to give milk to his parents before his children. (Bukhari, 5974, Muslim, 2743)
6. Ask for their forgiveness
As a child, it is advised for us to ask for our parent’s forgiveness if we did wrong. As to how manifested by Yusuf’s AS, they asked forgiveness to their parents when they did wrong.
يَا أَبَانَا اسْتَغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا خَاطِئِينَ
“They said, “O our father, ask for us forgiveness of our sins; indeed, we have been sinners.”
7. Always utter kind words
Although the elderly scold or told us curses, it is advised to reply with kind words. For Allah SWT has commandment to us:
فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ
“say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.”
8. Sustain their livelihood
If our parent asked for something to us and is not against the law of Islam, then grant it to them. Never be afraid to lose your wealth for it is one of the etiquette towards parents in devotion.
From Jabir Abdillah narrated:
“O Messenger of Allah, I have wealth and a son, and my father wants to take all my wealth.” He said: “You and your wealth belong to your father.” (Hadith Ibn Majah)
9. Send them prayers
As a child, it is mandatory for us to always offer our parents prayers, as for how the Quran has taught us:
وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ إِلَّا عَنْ مَوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَا إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِلَّهِ تَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لَأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ
“And the request of forgiveness of Abraham for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became apparent to Abraham that his father was an enemy to Allah, he disassociated himself from him. Indeed was Abraham compassionate and patient.”
10. Visit them
Although we have grown up to have our own family, as a child, it is mandatory for us to keep our relationship with our parents flourishing. Asma bint Abi Bakr narrated:
“My mother came to me during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle (SAW) and she was a Mushrikah (polytheist, pagan, idolatress). I said to Allah’s Apostle (SAW) (seeking his verdict), “My mother has come to me and she desires to receive a reward from me, shall I keep good relations with her?” The Prophet (SAW) said, “Yes, keep good relation with her.”
Those are 10 etiquettes towards Parents in Islam and Hadith, that we have to manifest in our lives. Wishing all of us to be given chances to be a devoted child to our parents in this mortal world. Aamiin.