15 Nov Practicing Good Conduct in the Family.Part2
The dictionary definition of “respect” includes:
- “the feeling that arises from holding someone in high esteem which inspires conduct that shows the person they are valued”;
- “valuing someone and desiring not to disappoint them”;
- “a type of love which causes one to act with care and propriety around someone, and treat them with altruism.”
Thus, the meaning of respect is connected with love, which explains why the most common word occurring alongside “respect” is “love.” The bonds of brotherhood between members of a community are strengthened by love and respect. The secret of success also lies in loving and respecting others.
It is a sign of respect to the Creator when we respect and love other people simply because they are human. To love only those who think as we do is not sincere love for humankind; it is selfserving, and can even be a form of idolatry of the self. Likewise, it is not true respect to show deference to people only according to their rank or position. One who does not love everyone does not deserve to be loved; if one is constantly reviling the poor and unfortunate, they will lose the right to expect love and respect from others. According to a narration from Abu Musa, the Prophet said,
“To show respect to an old Muslim with white hair, to a hafiz (a person who has memorized the Qur’an) as long as they recite and live by the Qur’an, or to a righteous ruler all manifest true respect for God.”
It is part of adab to let older people speak before young people in daily conversations or situations. The following hadith exemplifies this tradition. Abu Yahya of the Ansar related,
“Abdur Rahman ibn Sahl went with Muhayyisa ibn Mas’ud to Haybar. They separated from one another to take care of their individual business. Then they came to Medina. Abdur Rahman and Muhayyisa, the sons of Mas’ud, went into the Prophet’s presence. When Abdur Rahman wanted to talk, God’s Messenger told him, ‘Let older people speak.’ For Abdur Rahman was the youngest of the brothers.”
Therefore it is important to give elders the chance to speak first, out of respect for their experience and wisdom. Younger people should speak when spoken to or when asked a question, instead of monopolizing the conversation.
Lastly, Samura ibn Jundab, a Companion who was a child during the Prophet’s life, recalls the following:
“I was a child during the time of the Prophet and I memorized whatever I heard when he was teaching. The only thing that kept me from speaking in the gatherings was that there were older people there.”
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