(1) When you are in the company of an elder, do not embark on any activity without his consent.
(2) When a senior makes a request, execute it and also inform him when the task has been accomplished.
(3) When having any work or any request for a senior, approach him directly. Do not forward your request via an intermediary.
(4) Do not extract any service from your seniors (be it your Shaikh, Ustadh or other relatives).
(5) When inviting your Shaikh or Ustadh (for meals) and it is your intention to invite his associates as well, then do not invite them via your Shaikh/Ustadh. Do not tell him to bring along so and so. Do the inviting yourself directly to those whom you intend to call. However, take his permission before inviting his associates. The associate who is invited should seek the consent of the Shaikh/Ustadh before accepting such an invitation (i.e. where the Shaikh has been invited too.)
(6) Listen to their talk attentively.
(7) In the Hadith it is said:
“Whoever does not honour our elders is not of us.”
Hence, exercise particular care in this regard. Never be disrespectful to seniors. Since juniors no longer respect their seniors, goodness and blessings have become effaced. Bounties come in the wake of respect.
(8) Disrespect is more harmful than sinning.
(9) True adab (respect) and ta’zeem (honour) are related to love and obedience. A mere external display of etiquette and service is not of much worth.
(10) Do not offer such forms of respect which are irksome and hurtful to others.
(11) Juniors should at all times keep in mind the seniority of elders. Do not regard yourself to be equal to seniors.
(12) Juniors should not have the desire that seniors should address them by their titles. They should cherish simplicity and be happy to be called by their names.
(13) In respect and honour offered to elders, keep in mind the respective ranks of the various elders, e.g. a father’s right has priority over the rank of the Shaikh (spiritual mentor).
(14) One’s Ustaadh and Shaikh hold great rights over one, hence obey them as far as possible. Keep them happy in all ways. They are the guides who guide one out of the darkness and into the light. They set one on the course leading to the True Beloved, viz. Allah Ta’ala. What greater act of kindness can there be than this?
MALFOOZAAT PERTAINING TO ELDERS:
(1) A village-dweller while speaking to Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) was at times making disrespectful remarks. Someone in the majlis (gathering) sought to prevent him by making a sign. Hadhrat Thaanvi, observing this, commented: “What right have you to prevent him? You desire to awe people. You wish to make my gathering like the gathering of Fir’oun. If it is said that he (the village-dweller) was being disrespectful, then understand
that Allah Ta’ala has given me a tongue to prevent disrespect. Why do you intrude?”
After this reprimand, Hadhrat said to the village-dweller: “Whatever you wish to say, do so with liberty.”
(2) Hadhrat Thaanvi said:
“Annihilation and submission are best in front of seniors. In their presence abandon your opinion, intelligence, experience and rank. Annihilation means to consider oneself as one of no significance. This is, in fact, adab (respect).
(3) “Disrespect is the effect of pride and arrogance. The wrath of Allah descends because of pride. Juniors should keep in mind the rank of elders. They should not hold any opinion of their own greatness or rank. Self-esteem is the greatest proof of defective intellect, more so when seniors are present.”
(4) “It is not sufficient to merely refrain from thinking highly of yourself. Do not ever regard yourself on par with seniors. The image of a junior who
equates himself with a senior will commence declining even though he may be having some rank. His fall will continue. Therefore, it is imperative that he considers himself as being of no significance. He must always bear in mind his insignificance.
(5) “One can only regard oneself to be insignificant if the respect, honour and Iqve of seniors are embedded in the heart. Thus, a person who has such love and respect in his heart will not be neglectful. Neglect and a careless attitude indicate lack of love or respect. If one lacks both love and respect then employ intelligence. Ponder before acting. In this way one will be able to observe the aadaab and huqooq (rights) and abstain from causing hurt and inconvenience to seniors.”
(6) “It is lamentable that nowadays the degree of respect shown to spiritual mentors is not offered to parents despite the fact that respect and obedience to parents are Quranic injunctions. If one’s father requests one to rub his feet and one’s Shaikh (spiritual mentor) orders one to engage in the performance of Nafl Salaat, then according to the Shariah it is waajib (obligatory) to obey the father. He who disobeys his father’s request and engages in Nafl Salaat in sinful. The relationship of the Shaikh with one is of a lesser degree than that of one’s father. It is possible to sever links with the spiritual mentor if for example his instructions conflict with the Shariah. But, it is not possible to sever ties with one’s father. His respect is always compulsory on the son.”
(7) “In Islah-e-Inqilaab I have proved that the rights of parents come first. After parents come the Ustadh then the Shaikh. But people do the opposite. They accord priority to the rights of the peer (spiritual mentor). After the peer they consider the rights of the Ustadh and only then do they consider the rights of parents.”
(8) “Some people say that they have no feeling of affection in their hearts for their parents. This indeed is a great weakness and a spiritual disease. The remedy for this malady is to serve them much. By serving them, love for them will be engendered.”
(9) “Appreciate, value and remember the Deeni favours which your parents have bestowed to you. Appreciate especially the Deeni education which they have arranged for you. It is necessary to always bring this to mind. Four words of the Deen taught by parents are superior to four whole villages left by them for you.”
(10) “If sometimes parents act unjustly, bear their injustice with patience. Reflect on the suffering and hardship which they had to bear since your infancy”.
(11) “When the need arises to say something because of some wrong or sinful action of parents, then speak to them tenderly, politely and respecffully. Adopt a soft tone and beautiful terms. Do not adopt a harsh tone and an independent stance nor speak to them by way of raising objections.”
(12) “Never hurt their (parents’) feelings by any deed or word. This can be ensured by thinking before speaking or acting. Alas! nowadays careless and neglect have become rampant. This is precisely the reason for the abundance of errors which people commit. If one reflects before speaking or acting, errors may then also be committed, but will be very less. Errors committed seldom do not weigh heavily on the heart and mind. By virtue of the habit of pondering, the heart overcomes the slight adverse effect produced by occasional errors. This is the difference between errors in the state of fikr (to be concerned) and errors committed as a result of carelessness.”
(13) “Do not enter into the private quarters of your parents without their permission.” Hadhrat Ataa Bin Yasaar (radhiallahu anhu) narrates that someone asked Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam):
“Should I obtain permission from my mother before approaching her?”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied in the affirmative. The Sahaabi said:
“I live together with my mother in the same house.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
The Sahaabi said: ‘I have to serve her.’
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied:
‘Then too obtain consent. Would you like to see your mother naked?’
The Sahaabi replied: ‘No’.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “Then obtain permission“.
There are various ways of obtaining permission. It will suffice to notify of one’s presence in any way.