Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rabi-Ul-Awwal \ Rabi-Ul-Akhir 1424 H
June 2003
Volume 16-06 No : 198
Camps \ Workshops

News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Mission and Machines Insights Community Series People Investigation Islam & Economy Muslim Perspective Book review The Other View Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Reflection Religion Guide Lines Islamic History Living Islam Islam and Astronomy Archives-Talks Journey To Islam Miscellany Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Now you can pay your subscriptions online

Hadith


Identify Yourself Clearly-It's Islamic Manners!


Identify Yourself Clearly-It's Islamic Manners!

The Prophet(Pbuh) did not like that a visitor should not identify himself properly. Jabir ibn Abdullah reports that he went to see the Prophet concerning a debt that his father left outstanding. "I knocked at the door, and he said: 'Who is it?' I said: 'It is I.' He said: 'It is I. It is I.' He sounded as though he disliked my reply."
(Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Commentary by Adil Salahi


In Islam, it is proper manners to seek permission before entering someone else’s home or room and it is necessary to start with a greeting of peace. This is the normal Islamic greeting of assalamu alaikum, which means “peace be to you.” One follows that with seeking permission to enter. This is confirmed in the following Hadith reported by Abdullah ibn Abbas: “Umar sought permission to enter the home of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), saying: ‘Peace be to God’s messenger. Peace be to you all. May Umar enter?’” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

This is the perfect example of seeking permission to enter a place. Umar, a very close companion of the Prophet, was always highly respectful of God’s messenger. To him, no one including himself could be of equal status to the Prophet. Hence, when he greeted the people inside, after knocking at the door, he offered the first greeting to the Prophet personally, before extending a similar greeting to whoever was inside the Prophet’s home. He then announced himself by name seeking entry. Thus, he does not leave the people inside in any doubt about the identity of their visitor. This enables them to decide immediately what to say. If the visitor could be admitted without difficulty or embarrassment, then they would say so. Otherwise, they would let him know that the timing of the visit is inconvenient.

Today this sort of guidance is particularly relevant. If someone is visiting a friend and rings the bell, it is important to announce oneself properly. Suppose the building has an intercom system, when we ring the bell, the hosts would want to establish the identity of the person at the door. It is important that we begin by offering the greeting of peace, or salam. The host is certain to reply, returning our greeting. We should then identify ourselves. We may also state the purpose of our visit if this is suitable, particularly if we are visiting someone with whom we do not have a close relationship.

The Prophet did not like that a visitor should not identify himself properly. Jabir ibn Abdullah reports that he went to see the Prophet concerning a debt that his father left outstanding. “I knocked at the door, and he said: ‘Who is it?’ I said: ‘It is I.’ He said: ‘It is I. It is I.’ He sounded as though he disliked my reply.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

In this instance, Jabir does not mention his name, trusting that the Prophet would recognize his voice. But this is not easy all the time. A person may think that his voice is easily recognizable, but the other person may be busy, attended by some people or there may be some background noise around him. All these situations, and others too, may interfere with his attention and he may not recognize the person on the other side of the door. Hence, the Prophet’s answer was to repeat Jabir’s reply, implying that he did not like that answer. It is far better to announce oneself by name.

We note here that Jabir states the purpose of his visit to the Prophet. His father died in the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind one son and seven daughters. He apparently left an outstanding debt. Jabir did not have the means to repay his father’s debt. Therefore, he went to the Prophet seeking either advice or assistance in settling this debt. Assistance could be either by seeking some arrangement with the creditors to make settlement easier, or by direct help in repayment. When any of his companions died, the Prophet used to ask whether he left behind some outstanding debt. If he was told that this was the case, the Prophet would instruct his companions to offer the janazah prayer for the deceased, but he would indicate that he would not be leading the prayer. This worked well, because some relatives of the deceased, or a rich person among his companions, would undertake the settlement of that debt. In this case, the Prophet would lead the prayer. Later on, when the Muslim state was richer, if the Prophet was told that a deceased person left some outstanding debt, he would undertake to pay it himself. He took this action as a head of state, indicating that this is the proper thing to do in a Muslim state, so that people would not be reluctant to help each other in their hour of need.

Personal identification is required in any situation when a person is requested to do so. The Prophet entered the mosque one day when Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari was reciting the Qur’an. He inquired: “Who is this?” Abu Musa said: “I am Buraydah! I lay down my life for you.” The Prophet said: “This man has been given one of the Psalms of David.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Muslim and Al-Hakim).

This Hadith is related in this section because of the point concerning identifying oneself properly when asked. It is also entered under other headings, such as that of expressing one’s respect by stating willingness to sacrifice oneself for the sake of someone who is dearly loved. It is also noteworthy how the Prophet encouraged his companions to recite the Qur’an properly. In this case, Abu Musa, whose recitation of the Qur’an was one of the best among the Prophet’s companions, is described as having been given a psalm like those of the Prophet David (peace be upon him). When David praised God, the valleys and mountains echoed his glorifications, and birds sang with him in a superb and most inspiring type of music. The Prophet likens Abu Musa’s recitation to those Psalms of David. That is great praise indeed.

Top



News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Mission and Machines Insights Community Series People Investigation Islam & Economy Muslim Perspective Book review The Other View Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Reflection Religion Guide Lines Islamic History Living Islam Islam and Astronomy Archives-Talks Journey To Islam Miscellany Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Al-Nasr Exports