IslamQA

Standing up for others out of Respect

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

Someone has asked me the question on the permissibility of standing up for shaykhs, and said that it is not permissible and against the Sunnah and claims that the sahabah did not stand for the prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace). He goes on to say the prophet-saw himself said that he did not want people to stand in his presence and give him excess regard – ”as the Romans do for their kings.”

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The issue of standing up for an individual out of love and respect is something that was discussed in length and detail by the early scholars (salaf). They thoroughly studied the various evidences found in the Sunnah, thus based their opinion in accordance with these evidences.

In the Sunnah literature, we find two types of evidences. Some imply the impermissibility of standing up, whilst others indicate that it is permissible, rather recommended. One may use either of the two to back up one’s view. However, the more precautious way is to rely upon what the early scholars understood from the various narrations of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).

Narrations that indicate the impermissibility of standing:

1) Abu Mijlaz (Allah be pleased with him) reports that, “(once) Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufyan entered upon Ibn Zubair and Ibn Amir (Allah be pleased with them both). Ibn Amir stood up whilst Ibn Zubair remained seated. Mu’awiya (Allah be pleased with him) said to Ibn Amir: “Remain seated, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say: “Whosoever likes people to stand up for him should take his abode in the Fire (of Hell).” (Sunan Abu Dawud, No. 5186, Sunan Tirmidhi, No. 5067 & Musnad Ahmad)

2) Sayyiduna Abu Umamah (Allah be pleased with him) reports: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) (once) came out on us and he was leaning upon a stick (asa). We stood up for him and he said: “Do not stand up as the non-Arabs do, they adulate one another.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, No. 5187 & Musnad Ahmad)

3) Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) reports: “No one was dearer to them (the Companions, Allah be pleased with them all) than the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) yet when they saw him they did not stand up for him, for they knew of his dislike for it.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Tirmidhi & Musnad Ahmad)

Narrations that indicate the desirability of standing:

1) Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reports: “When the tribe of Banu Quraiza was ready to accept Sa’d’s (Allah be pleased with him) judgment, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) sent for Sa’d. He came, riding a donkey and when he came near, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to the Ansar: “Stand up for your leader”. Then Sa’d came and sat beside the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace)…..” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud & Musnad Ahmad)

2) Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reports: “I have never encountered anyone that resembled the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) more than Fatima (Allah be pleased with her) in manner, likeness and speech. When she (Fatima) came to visit him (the Messenger of Allah) he stood up (to welcome her), took her by the hand, kissed her and made her sit in his place. And when he (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to visit her, she would stand up, take him by the hand, kiss him, and make him sit where she was sitting.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 5175 & al-Bukhari, Adab al-Mufrad)

3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was speaking to them (in the Masjid). When he rose to depart, we all stood up with him and remained standing until he entered his house.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

We can see from the foregoing that there are (apparently) conflicting narrations with regards to standing up for others out of love and respect. However, if one was to look deeply into these narrations, it would become clear that in reality there is no contradiction.

The Hadith where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) ordered the Ansar to stand up for their leader, is quite clear in that one should stand up for an esteemed person. The word “your leader” clearly indicates that this standing up was to show respect as he was their leader, and not to assist him, as some wrongfully claim.

The Hadith where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) stood up for Sayyida Fatima (Allah be pleased with her) and vice versa, also shows the desirability of standing up for a beloved, such as parents, relatives, etc.

As for the narration of Mu’awiya (Allah be pleased with him), it does not prohibit the act of standing up. It merely prohibits that one should like people to stand up for him when he meets with or passes by them. This is something that we also are in full agreement with. It is surely improper for one to desire that people stand up for him, thus the warning in the Hadith is quite clear. However, standing up for others is perfectly permissible.

The narration of Abu Umamah where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) prevented the Companions from standing up in the manner that the non-Arabs did refers to the situation where one person sits whilst the others remain standing. This was the normal practice of the non-Arabs (ajam) as it has been proven by history.

The narration of Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) expressed his dislike for people to stand up for him was due to his humility and humbleness. The Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) at times refrained from standing up for him giving preference to his wish and desire over their love, but at times the love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would overcome his command (for it was out of humbleness) and they would stand up for him, as we have witnessed in the Hadith of Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him).

There are also other narrations where the permissibility or desirability of standing up has been mentioned. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would stand up for his uncle Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), kiss him between his eyes and seat him on his right (al-Bukhari, Adab al-Mufrad). The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also stood up for Ikrima ibn Abi Jahl (leader of the Quraish) and Adi Ibn Hatim (leader of the tribe of Banu Tay) before they had accepted Islam.

In view of the numerous evidences found in the Sunnah on the permissibility of standing up, the great Hadith scholar and Shafi’i jurist (faqih), Imam al-Nawawi (Allah be pleased with him) compiled a whole treatise on this subject titled ‘al-Rukhsa bi al-Qiyam’ wherein he demonstrated that there is nothing wrong in standing up for a person whom one loves and respects. He interpreted the above narrations in the manner explained above.

He also states in his monumental commentary of Sahih Muslim explaining the Hadith where the Ansar were ordered by the Messenger of Allah to stand up for their leader S’ad:

“This Hadith implies the desirability of respecting people of virtue (ahl al-fadhl) and standing up for them when they arrive. This is how the majority of the scholars establish the desirability (istihbab) of standing up. Qadhi Iyadh said: “This standing up is not from that which is prohibited. The prohibition is when one is seated whilst the rest remain standing throughout the period he is sitting”. I (Nawawi) say: “Standing up when a person of virtue enters is desirable (mustahab), for it has been proven by many narrations, and there is no clear and authentic narration that prohibits it. I have gathered all of the relevant evidences with the statements of the Ulama in a short compilation and analysed the narrations that (apparently) indicate its impermissibility and Allah knows best.” (al-Minhaj Sharh Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj)

The great Hanafi jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It is permissible rather recommended to stand up out of reverence for a person that enters. It is also permissible to stand, even for the one who is reciting the Qur’an, for a knowledgeable scholar.”

Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) commentates on the above statement of al-Haskafi by stating:

“Meaning when one is entitled to respect. It is stated in al-Qunya (m, name of a book) that to stand up in the Masjid out of respect for the one who enters and standing of a person engaged in the recitation of the Qur’an for a person out of respect is not disliked (makruh) if the one whom one is standing for is entitled to be shown respect. In Mushkil al-A’thar (m, name of a book) it is stated that standing up for another person is not disliked in itself, however what is disliked is that the one whom one stands up for desires people to stand up for him…Ibn Wahban said: “In our times it would be desirable (mustahab) to stand up, for not standing up may create enmity, hatred and hostility among people, especially in a place where people are accustomed to standing up.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 6/384)

In view of all of the abovementioned, we may conclude and summarise our discussion in the following points:

1) It is permissible, rather recommended, to stand up out of respect for the people of virtue, such as a teacher, leader, religious scholars and the pious servants of Allah, as the Hadith of Sa’d indicates.

2) It is also recommended to stand up out of love for a beloved, such as one’s parents, children, as we have seen in the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and Sayyida Fatima (Allah be pleased with her).

3) It will also be permissible to stand up if one is in the Masjid or engaged in some commendable act, such as the recitation of the Qur’an.

4) It is impermissible to stand up out of reverence (from the heart) for a non-Muslim or a person who is not entitled to be shown respect.

5) It would be permissible to stand up for a person who is not entitled to be shown respect or a non-Muslim without having respect for him in the heart, and that this is done for some strategic reason, such as the hope of one accepting Islam or preventing enmity and hatred, as the standing of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) for Ikrima ibn Abi Jahl and Adi Ibn Hatim entails.

6) It is unlawful for one to like and desire people standing up for him, as the warning of the fire of hell is quite clear in the Hadith.

7) It is also impermissible for an individual to sit whilst other people remain standing in a continuous way, as has been implied in the narration of Abu Umamah.

8) If the one for whom one desires to stand up dislikes people standing up for him, then one may not stand up in conformance with his wish, although it is also permissible to stand up, for he dislikes it due to humbleness and humility.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

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This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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