A Reported Picture of the Prophet & Abu Bakr from Judaeo-Christian Times

It is reported from the Companion Jubayr b. Muṭʿim – Allāh be pleased with him – that he said:

I once travelled to Shām for trade. When I reached lower Shām a man from the People of the Book met me and asked me, “Is there amongst you a man who is a Prophet?” I replied, “Yes.” He then asked, Would you recognise his image if you saw it?” I replied, “Yes.” He then admitted me into a house in which there were images, but I did not see an image of the Prophet ﷺ. While I was there, another man from them entered upon us and asked us “What are you doing?” So we informed him. He then took us to his home, and as soon as I entered I saw the image of the Prophet ﷺ and it showed a man holding on to the heel of the Prophet ﷺ. I asked, “Who is this man holding his heel?” He replied, “There was no prophet except that after him came another prophet, except this prophet, for there is no prophet after him. And this is the khalīfah after him.” And I saw that it looked like Abū Bakr – Allāh be pleased with him.

Ibn Kathīr, Al-Tafsīr, in the commentary of 7:157:

Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.

Meaning of Al-Aʿrāf: 157.

Not Speaking in Front of Elders

Samurah b. Jundub – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

I was young during the time of Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ and I had memorised things he had said; nothing stopped me from speaking except for the fact that there were amongst us men who were older than me.

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Kitāb Al-Janāʾiz #964.

Al-Ḥasan b. ʿUtaybah reports:

Sufyān Al-Thawrī said to Sufyān b. ʿUyainah, “Why do you not speak (narrate)?” He replied, “While you are alive, no way.”

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baġdādī, Al-Jāmiʿ li Akhlāq Al-Rāwī #698.

Ḥusayn b. Al-Walīd Al-Naysābūrī said: a reliable person informed me:

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (Al-ʿUmarī, great-great grandson of ʿUmar) was once asked about something to do with ḥadīth, so he replied, “As long as Abū ʿUthmān (his older brother) is alive, then no.”

Op. cit. #699.

It is reported that ʿĀṣim said:

Zirr (Ibn Ḥubaysh) was older than Abū Wāʾil (Shaqīq b. Salamah); so if they ever sat together [in a gathering] Abū Wāʾil would not speak with Zirr (out of respect).

Op. cit. #702.

It is also reported that:

When Ibrāhīm and Al-Shaʿbī were together, Ibrāhīm would not speak about anything, because of his age.

Op. cit. #703.

It is reported from Abū ʿAbdillāh Al-Muʿayṭī that he said:

I saw Abū Bakr b. ʿAyyāsh in Makkah. Sufyān b. ʿUyainah came to him and knelt in front of him. Abū Bakr asked him, “How are you Sufyān? Sufyān, how is your father’s family?” Then a man came and asked Sufyān about a ḥadīth, so Sufyān said, “Do not ask me as long as this Shaykh is sitting here.”

Op. cit. #705.

It is reported from Al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī Al-Khallāl that he said:

We were once with Muʿtamir b. Sulaymān while he was speaking to us, when Ibn Al-Mubārak approached. Muʿtamir cut short his speech. It was said to him, “Speak (or narrate) to us.” He replied, “We do not speak in front of our seniors.”

Op. cit. #706.

And it is reported that ʿAbdullāh b. Al-Mubārak was once asked about an issue in the presence of Sufyān b. ʿUyainah, so he replied, “We have been forbidden from speaking in front of our seniors.”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 8:420.

The Reality of Dhikr and Fear of Allah

It is reported that Saʿīd b. Jubayr – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Verily, fear (al-khashyah) is that you fear Allāh such that your fear comes between you and your disobedience (of Allāh). That is khashyah. And dhikr (remembrance) is obedience to Allāh: whoever obeys Allāh has remembered Him; and whoever does not obey Him is not a rememberer of Him, even if he says a lot of tasbīḥ and recites a lot of Qurān.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 4:326.

Letting Elders Enter First

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī has mentioned this heading and quotes the following general aḥādīth. He then reports narrations from some of the Salaf about letting elders enter first.

From Ibn ʿAbbās, that the Prophet ﷺ said:

Blessings are with your seniors.

Ibn Ḥibbān et al. Graded ṣaḥīh by Al-Albānī and others. See Al-Ṣaḥīḥah no. 1778.

From Ibn ʿUmar, from Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ that he said:

Jibrīl told me to give precedence to those who are older.

Recorded by Abū Bakr Al-Shāfiʿī in Al-Fawāʾid, and graded authentic by Al-Albānī in Al-Ṣaḥīḥah no. 1555.

It is reported that Mālik b. Mighwal said:

I was once walking with Ṭalḥah b. Muṣarrif when we came to a narrow (entrance). He went in front of me, then said, “If I knew that you were older than me even by a day, I would have never preceded you.”

Al-Khaṭīb, Al-Jāmiʿ li Akhlāq Al-Rāwī #248.

It is reported from Al-Faḍl b. Mūsā that he said:

ʿAbdullāh b. Al-Mubārak and I once came to a bridge, so I said to him, “Go ahead”, and he said, “Go ahead.” So we calculated [the age difference], and it turned out I was two years older than him.

Op. cit. #249.

Al-Khaṭīb mentions after these and other narrations, “And if the elder gives precedence to someone more knowledgeable than himself, this is allowed, and it is good.”

He then reports that Al-Ḥusayn b. Manṣūr said:

One day, I was with Yaḥyā b. Yaḥyā and Isḥāq (Ibn Rāhuwayh) visiting a sick person. When we all came to the door (next to each other), Isḥāq stepped back and said to Yaḥyā, “Go ahead.” Yaḥyā said to Isḥāq, “You go ahead.” He replied, “O Abū Zakarīyah, you are older than me.” Yaḥyā replied, “Yes, I am older than you, but you are more knowledgeable than me.” So Isḥāq went ahead.

Op. cit. #252.

Getting Ahead of Yourself

It is reported that Sufyān Al-Thawrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whoever takes leadership quickly (too early) will harm a lot of [his] knowledge (will not learn what he needs); and whoever does not take leadership can continue to seek knowledge until he reaches [where he needs to be].

Al-Dārimī, Al-Sunan #554.