On Kneeling and Prostrating Before Elders

Saturday 02-May-2020, 8:36AM / 327

Bismillaah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem 

Assalaam alaykum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh

We promised to revisit this issue after it was asked by one of the sisters on this platform.

All praise to Allaah the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship but Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

To proceed,

Kneeling or prostrating before elders is a practice which Islam prohibits.

It is haram in one case, and shirk in the other case. The thin line between the two is the intention of the doer. If a person kneels down before the other person to greet, that form of greeting is haram though it has an ingredient of shir'k which is an act of rukoo to other than Allaah. But if one kneels to praise and extol another person, that is shir'k, and it is even shir'k akbar.

Wallaahul musta'aan.

Allaah the Mighty said in Surah Jinn v.18

وأن المساجد لله فلا تدعوا مع الله أحدا
'The places of worship are for Allaah, never call other than Allâh with Him.'

Some Mufassirun, say the word masaajid in the verse can be a plural of masjad , the limb used in kneeling and prostrating to Allaah subhaanahu wa ta'alaa, as said by Ibn Ataa in Tafseer Ibn Atiyyah; also Saeed bn Jubayr in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, etc.

Aaishah - radiyallaahu anha - reported from the Messenger of Allaah - sallaallahu alahyi wa sallam - that he said

لو أمرت أحدا أن يسجد لأحد لأمرت المرأة أن تسجد لزوجها
'If I am to command anyone to prostrate before the other person, I will command a woman to do so to her husband.'

Recorded by Al-Imaam Ibn Maajah in his Sunan. Ash-Shaykh Shuayb al-Ar'naoot classed it as saheeh in his checking of Sunan Ibn Maajah, so also al-Imaam Al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah; he classed it saheeh. (See Saheeh Al-Jaami {4796)

The report is also in Musannaf Ibn Abee Shaybah (8788), Al-Mu'jam al-Kabeer of At-Tabaraanee (7142), Mustadrak Al-Haakim (7325), Shar'h Sunnah of al-Baghawee (2329).

The reason the Messenger of Allaah - sallaallahu alahyi wa sallam - made the statement was recorded in Al-Mu'jam al-Kabeer, Shar'h Sunnah and al-Mustadrak that Mu'aadh bn Jabal was sent on a military expedition to Syria, when he got there he saw the Christians kneeling before their pastors, and Jews kneeling before their rabbis. He asked them he was told that was the greeting handed down by their Prophets. When he came back to Madeenah and informed the Messenger of Allaah - sallaallahu alahyi wa sallam - he belied them and made the statement that, 'If I am to command...'

Another hadeeth forbidding genuflecting as a form of acceptable mode of greeting is the hadeeth of Anas bn Maalik in Sunan at-Tirimidhee (2728) that he reported that a man asked the Messenger of Allaah - sallaallahu alahyi wa sallam, if one can genuflect, or hold and kiss, his brother and friend when they meet, he said no, they should rather shake hands.

Lastly, the Permanent Committee on Ifta, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was asked:

 Can a child kneel (or prostrate) before the elders as a sign of respect and honour in greeting?

It answered:

'All the people of knowledge agree that kneeling before others is not permissible with respect to any of the creatures, as a form of greeting, it can't be to other than Allaah the Mighty...'

(Members of the committee: Bakr Abu Zayd, Saalih Fawzaan, Abdulazeez Aal Shaykh. Headed by Bn Baz.

Fatwa no 18184.

We should therefore fear Allaah alone in this matter and remain steadfast on the path.

Once again remember the word of the Messenger of Allaah - sallaallahu alahyi wa sallam -

لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق

'There is no obedience to any creature in disobedience to the Creator.'

Classed Saheeh by Ash-Shaykh Al-Albaanee in Saheeh al-Jaami (7520).

 {Compilation of Aboo Aamir, Ishaaq b. AbdirRaheem. 8th Ramadan, 1441AH}

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