Rules of a Muslim Home (#12) – Respect (Part One)
The Quraan Majeed and ahaadeeth strongly emphasise the lesson of respect. Every household should endeavour that the inmates of the house display a high level of respect in everything that they say or do. If you show respect, you will earn respect.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also stressed the lesson of respect upon the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) at every occasion. A hadeeth clearly proclaims: “He who does not respect the elders amongst us and is not merciful upon the young, is not one of us.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4943) Another hadeeth states: “Verily it is from the dictates of the respect for Allah Ta‘ala to respect a Muslim of advanced age, to respect a haafiz of the Quraan who does neither exceed its bounds nor does he disregard it and to respect a just ruler.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4843)
Among the numerous instances of emphasising respect, some of them are: Giving preference to the one who knows more Quraan Majeed, standing to welcome an elder, allowing the older person to speak first, respecting an ‘aalim of deen, respecting a person whose hair has turned white, etc. The following Arabic saying very concisely describes the importance of respect in a person: “An orphan is not one who has no parents; verily he is an orphan who is deprived of knowledge and adab (respect/etiquette).” There is a famous urdu saying that goes, “Baa adab baa naseeb, be adab be naseeb” – One who has respect is a fortunate person and the one that has no respect is unfortunate.
Experience has proven that, in any field of life, only those have excelled who were respectful to their teachers and seniors. Experience has also repeatedly proven that those who were devoid of respect, despite tremendous ability and potential, were largely unsuccessful. Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), who was endowed with an unimaginable sense of respect states: “I never stretched my legs in the direction of the house of my ustaaz (Imaam Hammaad rahimahullah) out of respect for him, though there were seven roads between my house and his (i.e. his house was seven blocks away)”. (Risaalatul Mustarshideen pg. 203)
Just as respect is extremely important, the consequences of disrespect are dire. To disregard even a grain of food or a drop of water is very detrimental. It could result in one being deprived of many bounties of Allah Ta‘ala.