Respect for people of knowledge, the great and people of importance, and putting them ahead of others, raising where they sit and showing their rank

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

44. Chapter: Respect for people of knowledge, the great and people of importance, and putting them ahead of others, raising where they sit and showing their rank

Allah Almighty said, "Are they the same ­ those who know and those who do not know? It is only people of intelligence who pay heed." (W39:10; H39:9)

348. Abu Mas'ud 'Uqba ibn 'Amr al-Badri al-Ansari said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The people should take as Imam the one among them who knows the most of the Book of Allah. If they are equal in respect of recitation, then the one among them who has the most knowledge of the Sunna. If they are equal in respect of the Sunna, the one who made hijra earlier. If they they are equal in respect of hijra, then the oldest of them in respect of age. A man should not lead a man in the prayer in his own house nor sit in his house in his special place without his permission.'" [Muslim]

In one variant of his, "The oldest of them in respect of Islam" instead of "age".

In one variant, "The people should take as Imam the one of them who knows the most of the Book of Allah and the most experienced of them in respect of recitation. If their recitation is the same, then the oldest of them in respect of emigration. If they are equal in respect of emigration, then the oldest in respect of age should lead them in the prayer."

349. Abu Mas'ud 'Uqba ibn 'Amr al-Badari al-Ansari said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to touch our shoulders in the prayer and say, 'Stand in line and do not be uneven causing your hearts to differ. The nearest of you to me should be those who have reached maturity and have intelligence, and then those who are next to them." [Muslim]

350. 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The nearest of you to me should be those who have reached maturity and have intelligence, and then those who are next to them," three times. "Beware of the turmoil of the markets." [Muslim]

351. Abu Yahya, and it is said Abu Muhammad, Sahl ibn Hathma al-Ansari said, "'Abdullah ibn Sahl and Muhayyisa ibn Mas'ud went to Khaybar at a time when there was a truce. They parted and then Muhayyisa came upon 'Abdullah ibn Sahl, murdered and covered in blood. He buried him and then went to Madina. Then 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Sahl, and Muhayyisa and Huwayyisa, the sons of Mas'ud, went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and 'Abdu'r-Rahman began to speak. He said, 'The eldest, the eldest.' for he was the youngest of the people there. So he was silent, and the two of them spoke. He said, 'Do you swear (to this) and demand your right from the murderer?'" and he completed the hadith. [Agreed upon]

352. Jabir said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, put together in one grave two men among those who were killed at Uhud and said, 'Which of them knew more Qur'an?' When one of them was pointed out, he put him in the grave first." [al-Bukhari]

353. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I was shown in a dream that I was using a siwak when two men came to me. One of them was older than the other. I handed the siwak to the younger and was told, 'To the elder.' So I gave it to the elder of the two." [Muslim]

354. Abu Musa said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Part of showing respect for the majesty of Allah Almighty is to honour Muslims with white hair and those who know the Qur'an by heart without either being excessive in respect of it or abandoning it, and to honour a just Sultan." [Abu Dawud]

355. 'Amr ibn Shu'ayb's grandfather said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Anyone who does not show mercy to our young people nor honour our old people is not one of us." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

In the variant of Abu Dawud, "...respect the rights of our old."

356. Maymun ibn Abi Shabib reported that one day a beggar passed by 'A'isha and she gave him a piece of bread, and then a man wearing a fine garment appeared and passed by her and she asked him to sit and he ate. She was asked about that and said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Give people their proper place." [Abu Dawud]

Muslim mentioned it at the beginning of his Sahih without any isnad, and said that it is mentioned that 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded us to give people their proper place."

357. Ibn 'Abbas said, "'Uyayna ibn Hisn came and stayed with al-Hurr ibn Qays, who was one of the group whom 'Umar brought near to him. The reciters were the people of the assembly and council of 'Umar, no matter whether they were mature men or young men. 'Uyayna said to his nephew, 'Nephew, you have access to this amir, so ask him for permission for me to see him.' He asked permission and 'Umar gave permission. When he entered, he said, 'O Ibn al-Khattab! By Allah, it is that you do not give enough to us and you do not judge justly between us.' 'Umar was so angry that he wanted to punish him. Al-Hurr said to him, 'Amir al-Mu'minin, Allah Almighty said to His Prophet, "Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant." (7:199) This is one of the ignorant.' By Allah, 'Umar did not do less than that when he recited it. He acted in accordance with the Book of Allah Almighty." [al-Bukhari]

358. Abu Sa'id Samura ibn Jundub said, "I was a boy in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I used to memorise things from him. I am only prevented from speaking because there are men who are older than me." [Agreed upon]

359. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No young man honours an old man on account of his age without Allah decreeing for him one who will honour him in his old age." [at-Tirmidhi]