humbleness

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.

From the Fruits of Sincerely Seeking Knowledge

It is reported that Ibrāhīm b. Adham – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whoever seeks knowledge sincerely, for the servants of Allāh to benefit by and to benefit himself, then being hidden (from fame) is more beloved to him than seeking loftiness. He is the one who becomes more lowly to himself, strives more in worship, fears Allāh more, yearns for Allāh more, and becomes more humble amongst people. He cares not what he has of this dunyā night or day.

Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān article 1653.

How to Look at Yourself and Others

It is reported that Bakr b. ʿAbdillāh Al-Muzanī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

When you see someone older than you, say: he has preceded me in īmān and righteous actions so he is better than me; and when you see someone younger than you, say: I have preceded him in sinning and disobedience so he is better than me. And when you see your brothers honouring and revering you, say: this is a virtue they have attained; and when you see them falling short (in their treatment of you) say: this is [because of] a sin I committed.

Ibn Al-Jawzī, Ṣifatu Al-Ṣafwah, article 505: Bakr b. ʿAbdillāh Al-Muzanī.

Lofty Manners & Conduct of the Salaf [Examples]

Miscellaneous Examples

It is reported that Jābir b. ʿAbdillāh – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Have taqwā of Allāh and behave modestly (with a sense of shame), and cover yourselves; let not any of you bathe except behind a covering.

Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān #7398.

It is reported that Mujāhid – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is disliked for a man to stare at his brother or follow him with his gaze when he gets up, or to ask him where he has come from.

Op. cit. #9580.

It is reported that ʿAṭā b. Abī Rabāḥ – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Sometimes a man narrates a ḥadīth to me, so I remain quiet as if I am listening carefully, although I had heard the ḥadīth before he had even been born.

Al-Ḏahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 5:87.

It is reported that Al-Aḥnaf b. Qays – Allāh have mercy on him – would try to make space whenever a man came to him, and if there was no space, he would make it appear that he was trying to make space for him.
Op. cit. 4:94

Muḥammad b. Abī Ḥātim reports:

I heard Al-Buḵārī say, “I have never eaten leek.” So I asked, “And why is that?” He replied, “I hate to annoy anyone with its foul smell.”
Op. cit. 12:445

It is reported that ʿAbdullāh b. Al-Mubārak was asked about an issue in the presence of Sufyān b. ʿUyaynah, so he said, “We have been forbidden to talk in front of our seniors.”
Op. cit. 8:420

It is reported from Al-Ḵalīl b. Aḥmad – Allāh have mercy on him – that if he ever benefitted someone with something, he would never make out that he had benefitted him, but if he ever benefitted from someone, he would show him that he had benefitted from him.
Op. cit. 7:431

It is reported that Al-Layth [b. Saʿd] – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I used to walk with Ṭalḥah, and he [once] said, “If I knew that you were older than me by even one night, I would never walk in front of you.”

Abū Nuʿaym, Ḥilyatu Al-Awliyāʾ 5:17.

Runaway Scholars

It is reported that Al-Fuḍayl b. ʿAyyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It has reached me that the scholars of old would practice what they learned when they learned it, and through practicing they would become occupied, and because of being occupied, they would be missed, and when they were missed they were sought after, and when they were sought after they would flee.

Al-Dhahabi, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 8:439,440