Respect One of the Foundations of Faith in Islam
To treat someone with respect means to treat them with high regard, with honour. In Islam, respect is one of the foundations of faith, and one of the pillar stones of Akhlaq.
Respect should be given to everything, because everything has been created for a purpose, and it is that purpose we should respect.
Once Allah asked one of the Prophets to go around the lands and find the worst, most useless creature in existence. The prophet went around looking. He saw many things, then at last he saw a dog. The dog was old and crippled, had fleas and was in a terrible state. He looked at the dog and answered to Allah, Oh Allah, I have wandered around and have seen many sights which I thought were terrible, but this dog is the worst. Oh Allah, but even after seeing this dog, I still can not do what you have asked me, because how can I call useless anything which You have created?
Allah told him that this was the lesson that He wanted the Prophet to learn.
There are many kinds of respect e.g. to parents, elders, neighbours etc.. The foremost respect goes to our Creator Allah.
Respect to (and Duties Towards) Allah:
Allah is our Creator and our Sustainer (he keeps us alive). In Qur'an, Allah says in Surah 11 verse 6:
And there is no animal on the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it and He knows its resting place and its depository (place of safe keeping); all (things) are in manifest (truth) book.
From the above verse, we can say that He, our Lord should be respected most as He gives us that life force that allows us to breathe, to make our heart beat, to think, to LIVE.
How should we respect Allah ?
We should respect Allah by obeying all his compulsory acts laid down in the Holy Qur'an for our benefit and to thank Him for everything He has blessed us with.
Respect to (and Duties Towards) the Ahlul Bayt
The Ahlul Bayt are those people who have been sent down by Allah, pure and free from all sin. They are guardians of Islam and guides sent by Allah to mankind, to help us stay on the right path. They should be respected as a gift from Allah, and also because of the sacrifices they made so that the truth should reach us. We should respect our last Prophet, Muhammad (S) as he is the seal of the Prophethood.
We should also respect Imams (A) as they interpret most of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) into details. We should respect all of them, especially the TWELFTH IMAM (A), not because he is greater or different from the other Imams (A), but because he is the Imam (A) of our time.
So next time we recite salaam or ziyarat, spare a thought as to what we are saying, and to whom we are saying it.
Respect to Majalis, Qur'an and Adhaan.
The Holy Qur'an contains all the teachings of the three other books, Tawrat, Zabur and Injeel. Allah says about the Qur'an in 6:92 that
"This is a book we have revealed, blessed, Verifying that which is before it, and that you may warn the metropolis (Chief city of a county), and those who believe in the hereafter believe in it and they attend their prayers constantly."
We should always keep quiet when it is being recited, keep it on top of the other books and do wudhu before touching or reciting it.
Respect to Adhaan has the same respect as that given to Qur'an. It has been reported that talking during Adhaan or when Qur'an is being recited us equivalent to wasting the Thawaab (blessings) of SEVENTY YEARS.
Respect to MAJALIS means to pay attention when a religious speech is being delivered by an Aalim (a learned person). It is a bad habit to talk while Majalis is being recited. If it is being recited in another language you should try and listen, if you cannot do that, than you should bring a book and read, and when you go home ask your parents to explain you what was recited at the majalis.
Respect to (and Duties Towards) Elders & Neighbours
Respect to elders is a very important concept. We are always told that respect to elders is a good thing. One of the ways to respect your elders is to greet them when you see them. Do not wait for them to say salaam to you first, but say to them
SALAAMUN ALAYKUM WA RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKAATUH.
You should always try to greet people first, since according to the Prophet (S), 90% of the Thawaab goes to the one who offers salaam, and 10% of the Thawaab goes to the one who replies.
Prophet Muhammad (S) has told us to respect our elders because they have had more time to do good than us, to respect our youngsters since they have had less time to do evil than us, and people our own age because you do not know what sins they have committed, but you know your own sins.
The other ways is to obey elders.
Allah tells us that the best ornaments of a community are its elderly people. They are the cause of so many blessings that if the younger people knew how much Allah loves the elderly, they would never leave them alone for even a moment.
Respect to Neighbours does not necessarily mean only those people living next door, but all the people in the area close around you (meaning 40 houses). We should have consideration towards our neighbours and try not to do things which will cause inconvenience to them. We should also help them in all ways i.e. sacrificing time and if need be, helping them financially.
Prophet Muhammad (S) was so polite to his neighbours and did so many things for them that the Muslims of the time were worried that it would become wajib upon them to include the neighbours in their will !! (i.e. inheritance).
Respect to (and Duties Towards) Holy Places (i.e. Graves of Ma'sumeen)
Respect to the holy places i.e. graves of Ma'sumeen are the best places to visit for your du'as to be accepted. The reason for this, is that if you go to the grave of an Imam (A), you start thinking about the Imam (A), and his sacrifice to Allah. As a result you think more about Allah, and thus your du'as are said with more sincerity, and are therefore more likely to be accepted. For example, the Madressa children who have gone for Ziyarat (i.e. visiting the Graves of Ma'sumeen) for two weeks. The only major reason why they have gone there is that they know that they are visiting such places where all (halal) wishes are accepted by the Power of Almighty Allah. The duties which we have are as follows:
1. To visit them regularly if possible.
2. To protect them if necessary.
Respect to (and Duties Towards) Dead Body.
Respect towards a dead body is an obligation for every Muslim, whether the one who died was a Muslim or not. If the body is that of a Muslim, there are certain acts which must be performed before it is buried such as ghusl, shrouding, the prayer of Mayyit. The body must be handled very carefully, as the soul can still feel the pain. The Mayyit has a right, that no one should there should be some simple anchoring hadith for this topics, something to focus the paragraph about.speak ill about it, as this is back-biting. If you see a dead body with any marks upon it, you should not tell others otherwise you are disrespecting the body.
You should visit the grave yard often, and recite salaam to the dead buried there. You should recite Qur'an, du'as and prayers for them, and do good deeds on their behalf.
Respect to (and Duties Towards) other Religions and Islamic Shari'a.
Respect to other religions is one of the duties a Muslim must perform. It is not good to put down other religions, but instead we should convince others to understand Islam so that they may also become Muslims. We should never insult other religions. All the major religions come from Allah, as there is only one God. But these have been changed by people over the years to suit themselves. We should be able to see the truth in most religions, and explain all true followers about Islam.
We should never insult other religions, since they then might turn around and insult us. Qur'an explains,
6:108: Do not revile those whom they call upon besides God, lest they out of spite revile God in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did.
The Islamic Shari'a are the rules and regulations governing the Islamic way of life for a person. One of the duties of a Muslim is to respect and observe these rules and try very hard to understand them.
If there is a rule that we do not understand, instead of ridiculing or insulting it, we should try to think and look deeper into its meaning and significance.
Respect to (and Duties Towards) the Disabled
The disabled are those people who have some physical defect in their bodies which do not allow them to perform as well as others in certain aspects of life. Respect for the disabled means to treat them as normal offer them affection and help before they even from us.
The duties towards them is to look after them, i.e. provide them with whatever they need and to live as normal a life as is possible, since under the skin, they are no different to the rest of us. One should not pity the disabled, because they do not want pity. They are as good as you and me, and what they need is a bit of extra consideration. If you pity them, then they will feel inferior. We should treat them as equals.
Respect to (and Duties towards) Teachers
The respect towards a teacher is as great as that of a parent. A person who teaches you is giving you something more valuable than any other wealth, because knowledge is the greatest of all treasures. One should never insult a teacher, and should talk little in his or her presence.
All the Prophets (A) and Imams (A) were all teachers and guides. Even your parents are your teachers because they spend so much time bringing you up. You should obey a teacher the way you obey your father and mother.
This respect can be shown by standing in the presence of teachers and by remaining silent while they are speaking. Make best use of your teachers, and ask them questions while they are still around. This applies to all your teachers, whether they are at Madressa, school or elsewhere.
Respect towards the Laws of the Land.
A Muslim must respect the laws of the land in which he lives, whether that land is a Muslim country or not. If you cannot respect the laws of the country, and there is no way of changing them, i.e. through parliament, then you should go to live elsewhere.
This does not mean that we should forget Islamic law, because this law is not confined to any land or boundary, but applies to every Muslim throughout the world.