Answered by: Shaykh Ahmed bin Mohamed Umarji
Do Muslim royals curtsey/bow to each other?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Bowing or prostrating to other than Allah Ta’ala is impermissible regardless of the bowing or prostration being done as worship or out of respect (royal/courtesy bow)
Mufti Shafi Rahimullah explains the verse in surah Yusuf:
وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّوا لَهُ سُجَّدًا ۖ
And he raised his parents upon the throne, and they bowed to him in prostration.
After that it was said: وَخَرُّوا لَهُ سُجَّدًا (and they all fell before him in prostration), that is, the parents and all brothers did sajdah before Sayyidna Yusuf I. Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) has said that this prostration of gratitude was for Allah Ta` ala, and not for Sayyidna Yusuf (علیہ السلام). Others have said that a Sajdah or Sujud (prostration) as part of ` Ibadah (worship), when done for anyone other than Allah, has always been forbidden in the Shari’ah of every prophet. But, the Sajdah of Ta` zim (veneration) was permissible in the religious codes of past proph¬ets – which has been prohibited in the Shari’ ah of Islam on the basis that it is a source of Shirk. This is confirmed by Hadith reports from Al-Bukhari and Muslims that Sajdah (prostration) for anyone other than Allah is not Halal.1
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Ahmed bin Mohamed Umarji
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 Ma’ariful Qur’an, Page 157, Volume 5, Maktaba-e-Darul-‘Uloom