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The Manners of Relations With Elders

Relations with elders - whether they are our parents or teachers and scholars - have their own special manner. Islam enjoins Muslim youth to respect them. It is reported in a hadith that: "Among the respect of the Almighty Allah is respecting elders" If an elder is from the people of merit (respected family), he has two kinds of respect; respect for his age and respect for his merit.

As relations with children requires mercy, educating them, forgiveness and patience, likewise, relations with elders has its own basis:

A- Do not argue with them, nor repay their wrong doing with wrong doing. Direct his attention to his mistakes in a better way as Imam Hasan and Husain did, when they drew the attention (when they were children) to an old man who didn't know how to perform ablution. When they requested him to judge among them as to who knows how to perform ablution correctly, the old man realized that they were right and that it was he who was not performing ablution correctly.

B- Do not proceed an elder while moving, and do not sit down before he sits. You should give him a place in a meeting; and you must respect him wherever he may be.

C- Redeem him by assessing his favour to you and the greatness of his good to you which requires sacrifice and respect. We should protect them, especially parents "And We have enjoined on man goodness unto his parents." Holy Qur'an (29: 8) and likewise, our teacher being our second father or mother. Indeed, our teachers deserve respect both orally and practically.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Sitting down with learned religious men is an honor both in this world and in the hereafter." Prophet Luqman (a.s.) told his son: "Oh my son! Sit down with scholars, disturb them with your knee, because the Almighty Allah revives hearts with the light of wisdom, as He revives the earth with the heavy rain of the sky". It is also good to assess their services, as well as, follow their advice and protect them.

Adapted from the book: "The Art of Social Relations" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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