15 Polite Ways How to Treat Elders in Islam
Islam has ruled relationship between people to coexisting happily in the world. Therefore, we must act and apply a good akhlaq to achieve that purpose. One of a good deed we ought to do is about our treatment to the elders.
Certainly, elder has some rights that we have to do. Islam give several privileges to the elders which we need to know about that. It is an Islamic way of honoring and respecting him throughout his life in the world.
Here we present 15 how to treat elders in Islam:
- Honouring the elders
Elder has lived in this world for a long time. We are younger than him and don’t have enough experience compared to him. We should respect him in every occassion. Regardless his wealth, character, and habit we should not belittle him.
- Glorify the elders
The meaning of glorify here is we need to talk well and courteously to them, soften our voice and do a good deed. It’s part of apply sunnah and glorify Allah. Our Prophet said,
“Truly belonging to glorifying God is to glorify an aged Muslim”. (Abu Dawud)
Also read Rights of Elders in Islam
- Greeting the elders first
If we meet elder in the road, we should greet him first. Do not wait until they speak or smile to us. It’s our obligation as the younger to greet him first. Rasulullah said
“The younger ones greet the older, and the person who uses the vehicle greets the walking”. (Bukhari)
- Pray for the elders
We pray for them to live longer in obedience to Allah, do a good deed, have a healthy body, and always under the auspices of Allah. Rasulullah said
“The best people is the longevity and always do a good deed” (Ahmad)
There is a short story about Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik meet an elder inside the mosque, then he asked him
“O, Fulan. Now you have aged, do you want to end your life?”.
The elder answered,
“Why?”, asked Sulaiman.
“My younger days has gone and the badness in it, and come of old age and goodness, if I want to get up from my seat, I say Bismillah, if I sit down I say Alhamdulillah, then I prefer circumstances like this”.
Also read How to Get Prayers Answered in Islam
- Take care of the elders
An elder has a weak body, bad vision, and poor hearing. So, it is our task to take care of him. Because the next day, we will become like him and we did not want to be ignored by the younger. Allah said,
“Allah, He Who created you from a weak state, then He made (you) after the weak state became strong, then He made (you) after it was strong it was weak (back) and gray. He creates what He will and He is the Knower, the Almighty.” (Ar- Rum : 54)
- Let the elders speaking first
It is one of good deed to let the elders speak first in communication. It is their right and we need to listen them carefully.
Narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, that Abdurahman bin Sahl and Muhiyisoh and Huwayisoh went to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then after arriving at the Prophet, speak the youngest among them namely Abdurahman bin Sahl, then the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu’ alayhi wa sallam cut off his saying saying, “the old man used to who speaks “, it means Muhiyisoh and Huwayisoh.Jika engkau berbicara kepadanya maka panggilah dengan panggilan yang lembut.
- Called the elders nicely
Called them with the tittle nicely, like Mister, Mrs., grandpa, grandma to honor them. Narrated from Abi Umamah bin Sahl, he said, “We once prayed dhuhur with Umar bin Abdul Aziz then we went out, then we went back into the mosque, then we saw Anas bin Malik in prayer asar, so I said,
“Uncle, what prayer do you do?”, He said, “Prayer Asar, and this is the prayer of the Messenger of Allah that we used to pray with him”. (HR. Bukhari)
- Give seat to the elders in Islamic assembly
Narrated by Anas bin Malik radhiyallahu ‘anhu, in which there is a story that an elderly person wants to meet the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam, but the friends at that time seemed slow in giving the vastness of the place for him, so the Prophet sallallaahu’ alaihi wasallam said:
“It is not of us who disrespects the old, and not the younger ones.” (Tirmdizi)
- Give the food to the elders first
This happens while eating together. We as younger are encouraged to let the older take the food first. This is to show our respect to them. After they finish eating, then it is our turn to take the rice and the side dishes. Berusaha tidak duduk di tempat yang lebih tinggi daripada tempat duduknya.
Also read Importance of Foods in Islam
- Do not sit upper than the elders
Ya’qub bin Sufyan rahimahullah told the story:
“It has come to me that Al Hassan and Ali, his son Salih, are two twins; Al Hasan was born before Ali. It is not Al Hasan and Ali sitting together in an assembly unless Ali sits lower than Al Hasan; and it is not Ali speaking when Al-Hasan speaks when both are in one assembly” (Narrated by Al-Khathiib Al Baghdaady in Al Jaami’ li Akhlaaqi Ar Raawii wa Aadaabi As Saami’, no: 252)
- Treat the elders like we want to be treated by others
“Anyone who likes (wants) to be kept away from hell and put into heaven should let him fetch him while he is in a state of faith in God and the last day, and he treats others with something (adab) that he is pleased when he is treated so “ (Muslim)
Also read Rights of Siblings in Islam
- Listen to what they say
It has become the habit of older people to advise younger ones. We must hear his words carefully and not interrupt him. If the advice is good, we must do it. Because after all they live longer than us and have a richer experience than us.
- Welcome the elders with the nice words
While attending an event, welcome the elders with kind and friendly words. Talk to them and do not leave them alone.
Also read Importance of Silence in Islam
- Do not act silly to the elders
As young people, we like to joke and act foolishly with our friends. But when we meet an elder, we must behave and act appropriately. This is our way of honoring an older person.
- Lastly, our treatment to the parents
No one can repay his kindness, the Messenger of Allah (saws) said,
“It will not be able to repay a parent’s children unless he finds a parent to be a slave and then accuses him.”
Also the story of Ibn Umar there is someone tawaf around the Ka’bah while holding his mother, then the man said,
“O Ibn Umar, Do you see what I do? So have I replied to her? “.
Ibn Umar replied,
“No, though one breath of his breath“.
That is the morality that we must emphasize in mu’amalah with the elder. Treat the elderly well to apply the Sunnah of the Prophet