The Official Site of Shaykh Abdul Raheem (hafizahullah)

Q744: Touching the feet of elders when doing Salam to them.

Question

Salam sheikh!

Can u do salam to your elders by bowing down nd toching the feet then your heart i thought that was shirk? Bcoz it cme from hindu traditions and u can only bow down to Allah tala.

Answer

Walaikumussalam w w

You are right. There is no basis in shariat for this practice. And since there is tashabbuh with the Hindus it will not be permissible.

Whoever does it should be adviced to refrain from it. It is widespread in some cultures.

It in itself is not an act of shirk, because it’s not done to a ma’bood, nor is there any intention to worship the elders. So don’t call such a person a mushrik.

Wassalam

2 Responses

  1. Pabel

    Salaam ‘aleikum Mufti sab. I pray that you are well. Can you please explain the ahadeeth mentioned in this article regarding this issue. The link is here: http://www.islamiccentre.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=633:touching-feet-of-elders-allowed-in-islam-&catid=74:sufism-faq&Itemid=88 jazakAllah khair.

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    Walaikumussalam w w

    Jazakallah for the link. I have read it and found two Hadith in there regarding kissing the feet. I am also aware of the Bangladeshi culture in this regard.

    While writing the answer to the original question, I had the Hadith of the two Jews kissing Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s feet in mind. But I did not know the Hadith of ibn umar from musnad Ahmed.

    This is why I said at the end that don’t call such a person a mushrik.

    The thing is, that there are two different scenarios here. One is when an elder person is sitting on the floor, maybe cross-legged. After some conversation the other person who is also sitting on the floor gets emotional and kisses the foot of the elder. This is what is mentioned in the Hadith.

    The other is when someone is standing straight and the greeter bows down and gets close to the position of prostration and touches their feet or even kisses them. Similarly, when a person is sitting on a chair, and the other person prostrates to him/her and kisses their feet.

    This is called sajsdae tahiyyah. It was allowed in the previous shariahs, as mentioned in surah yusuf “و خروا له سجدا” ie “and they fell into prostration for him” This type of sajdah has been made haram in our shariah. There are numerous Ahadeeth for that.

    Secondly, there is the issue tashabbuh here. Because this is a well known custom of Hindus that they do these actions with the intention of worshipping their parents. This is because they worship anything and everything.

    This is why we say that this type of action should not be allowed. However, we stop from labelling it shirk, simply because shirk depends upon the niyyat of worshipping the parent, and this we don’t know. Also because shirk has never been allowed in the previous ummats.

    The questioner seems to be asking about this second Scenario.

  2. Pabel

    Salaam ‘aleikum. shukran katheera wa jazakAllah khair Mufti sab. I hope tht I am not being annoying, but you cleared a lot of the issues up. I just have 2 more questions: How is the kissing when the elder is sitting on the floor to be done? Also, what should a young Bangladeshi like myself do when parents and elders expect tht we bend over and do the foot touching salaam during Eid and weddings?

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    Walaikumussalam w w

    Education is of fundamental importance. Educate the elders and then they themselves will tell you not to do it in future.

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