The Elderly

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

XVIII. The Elderly

163. The excellence of the older person

353. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who does not show mercy to our children nor acknowledge the right of our old people is not one of us."

354. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As reported that it reached him that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who does not show mercy to our children nor acknowledge the right of our old people is not one of us."

355. The same from 'Amr ibn Shu'ayb.

356. The same from Abu Umama.

164. Respect for the Old

357. Al-Ash'ari said, "Part of respect for Allah is to show respect to an old Muslim and to someone who knows the Qur'an, as long as he does not go to excess in it nor turn away from it, and to respect a just ruler."

358. Same as 354.

165. The old person should be the first to speak and ask

359. Rafi' ibn Khudayj and Sahl ibn Abi Hathama reported that 'Abdullah ibn Sahl and Muhayyisa ibn Mas'ud came to Khaybar and parted when they were among the palm trees. 'Abdullah ibn Sahl was murdered. 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Sahl and Huwayyisa and Muhayyisa, the sons of Mas'ud came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and spoke to him about their (murdered) companion. 'Abdu'r-Rahman, the youngest of those present, began to speak, but the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Let the oldest speak first." (or "Exalt the eldest.") They spoke about their companion and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked, "Will fifty of you take an oath that you are entitled to the blood-money of your murdered man?" They replied, "Messenger of Allah, this is something which we did not see." He said, "Then will the Jews exonerate themselves by the oaths of fifty of them?" They protested, "Messenger of Allah, they are unbelievers!" So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself paid his blood money."

166. When an older person does not speak, can the youngest speak then?

360. Ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Tell me which tree is like the Muslim? It gives fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord and its leaves do not fall.' It occurred to me that it was the palm tree, but I did not want to speak as Abu Bakr and 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, were both present. When they did not speak, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'It is the palm tree.' When I left with my father, I said, 'Father, I thought that it was the palm,.' He asked, 'What kept you from saying that? If you had said so, I would have preferred that to such-and-such.' I said, 'What kept me from doing so was that I did not see you or Abu Bakr speak, so I did not like to speak out.'"

167. Making the old leaders

361. Hakim ibn Qays ibn 'Asim reported that then his father was dying. he enjoined his sons: "Fear Allah and make the oldest among you your leaders. When people make the oldest among them their leaders, they follow their fathers. When they make the youngest among them their leaders, that lowers them in the sight of their peers. You must have wealth and use it well. It is an impetus for the generous and it will make you independent of critics. Beware of asking people. It is a man's last source of earning. When I die, do not wail. There was no wailing for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. When I die, bury me in land where the Bakr ibn Wa'il will not know where I am died. I used to waylay on the roads in the time of the Jahiliyya."