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Obeying

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwaa.com
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Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

1) What does elderly mean? Is it anyone who is just older than you or old people with gray hair?
2) To what extent should you respect your older brothers or sisters. e.g. Do you have to get up for them so that they can sit? If they spill something themselves, can they force you to clean it up?

jazakallahu khairan

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Islam encourages us to respect those who are elder than us, and to have mercy on those who are younger than us. In a narration of Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates:

جاء شيخ يريد النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فأبطأ القوم عنه أن يوسعوا له فقال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ليس منا من لم يرحم صغيرنا ويوقر كبيرنا (سنن الترمذي – 4/ 321)

“That person is not from amongst us who is not merciful to the young, and does not respect those who are older.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 4 / 321)

Therefore, we should try to respect and obey all those who are elder than us, even if it is by a year or two. This is as long as their command does not contradict Shari’ah, and it is within reason. The context should also be noted. There is a difference between a mere request and suggestion, and between a strong commandment.

You should give your elder siblings the same honour and respect which you give to your parents. If, in your locality, it is the custom to stand for ones parents, then you should do the same for your elder brother and sister.

The elder siblings should note abuse this privalge which Allah has given to them. They cannot bully you. However, if they really need you to clean something and they request, then you should obey them.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best

Wassalaam,

Ismail Moosa (Mufti)

References

ويعطى الكبير حقه من الشرف والتوقير ، قال الحافظ العراقي : فيه التوسعة للقادم على أهل المجلس إذا أمكن توسعهم له سيما إن كان ممن أمر بإكرامه من الشيوخ شيبا أو علما أو كونه كبير قوم كما في حديث جرير المار إذا أتاكم كريم قوم فأكرموه. (فيض القدير – 5/ 494)

ويُنَزّلِ العَمّ، والأخُ الأكبر، والخال، منزلةَ الوالد، وتُنَزّل الأخت الكبيرة، والخالةُ والعمّة، منزلةَ الأم، وذلك في التوقير، والاحترام، والخدمة، والطاعة (الدرر المباحة للنحلاوي – ص: 293)

This answer was collected from Fatwaa.com which is an excellent Q&A site managed by Mufti Ismail Moosa from South Africa. .

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