Seeking Permission and the Etiquette of entering Houses

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَدۡخُلُواْ بُيُوتًا غَيۡرَ بُيُوتِڪُمۡ حَتَّىٰ تَسۡتَأۡنِسُواْ وَتُسَلِّمُواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهَا‌ۚ ذَٲلِكُمۡ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُونَ (٢٧) فَإِن لَّمۡ تَجِدُواْ فِيهَآ أَحَدً۬ا فَلَا تَدۡخُلُوهَا حَتَّىٰ يُؤۡذَنَ لَكُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمُ ٱرۡجِعُواْ فَٱرۡجِعُواْ‌ۖ هُوَ أَزۡكَىٰ لَكُمۡ‌ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ۬ (٢٨) لَّيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَدۡخُلُواْ بُيُوتًا غَيۡرَ مَسۡكُونَةٍ۬ فِيہَا مَتَـٰعٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ‌ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا تَكۡتُمُونَ (٢٩

27. O ye who believe! enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those In them: that is best for you, In order that ye may heed (what is seemly).

28. If ye find no one In the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and Allah knows well all that ye do.

29. It is no fault on your part to enter houses not used for Living in, which serve some (other) use for you: and Allah has knowledge of what ye reveal and what ye conceal.

Seeking Permission and the Etiquette of entering Houses

This is the Islamic etiquette. Allah taught these manners (of seeking permission) to His believing servants and commanded them not to enter houses other than their own until they had asked permission, i.e., to ask for permission before entering and to give the greeting of Salam after asking. One should seek permission three times, and if permission is given, (he may enter), otherwise he should go away.It was reported in the Sahih that when Abu Musa asked `Umar three times for permission to enter and he did not give him permission, he went away. Then `Umar said, “Did I not hear the voice of `Abdullah bin Qays asking for permission to enter Let him come in.” So they looked for him, but found that he had gone. When he came later on, `Umar said, “Why did you go away” He said, “I asked for permission to enter three times, but permission was not given to me, and I heard the Prophet say,

«إِذَا اسْتَأْذَنَ أَحَدُكُمْ ثَلَاثًا فَلَمْ يُؤْذَنْ لَهُ فَلْيَنْصَرِفْ»

(If any one of you asks for permission three times and it is not given, then let him go away.)” `Umar said, “You should certainly bring me evidence for this or I shall beat you!” So he went to a group of the Ansar and told them what `Umar said. They said, “No one will give testimony for you but the youngest of us.” So Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri went with him and told `Umar about that. `Umar said, “What kept me from learning that was my being busy in the marketplace.” Imam Ahmad recorded a narration stating that Anas or someone else said that the Messenger of Allah asked for permission to enter upon Sa`d bin `Ubadah. He said:

«السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ»

(As-Salamu `Alayka wa Rahmatullah) Sa`d said, “Wa `Alaykas-Salam Wa Rahmatullah,” but the Prophet did not hear the returned greeting until he had given the greeting three times and Sa`d had returned the greeting three times, but he did not let him hear him [i.e., Sa`d responded in a low voice]. So the Prophet went back, and Sa`d followed him and said,”O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransomed for you! You did not give any greeting but I responded to you, but I did not let you hear me. I wanted to get more of your Salams and blessings.” Then he admitted him to his house and offered him some raisins. The Prophet ate, and when he finished, he said,

«أَكَلَ طَعَامَكُمُ الْأَبْرَارُ، وَصَلَّتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ، وَأَفْطَرَ عِنْدَكُمُ الصَّائِمُونَ»

(May the righteous eat your food, may the angels send blessings upon you and may those who are fasting break their fast with you.) It should also be known that the one who is seeking permission to enter should not stand directly in front of the door; he should have the door on his right or left, because of the Hadith recorded by Abu Dawud from `Abdullah bin Busr, who said, “When the Messenger of Allah came to someone’s door, he would never stand directly in front of it, but to the right or left, and he would say,

«السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ، السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ»

(As-Salamu `Alaykum, As-Salamu `Alaykum.) That was because at that time the houses had no covers or curtains over their doorways.” This report was recorded by Abu Dawud only. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said:

«لَوْ أَنَّ امْرَءًا اطَّلَعَ عَلَيْكَ بِغَيْرِ إِذْنٍ فَخَذَفْتَهُ بِحَصَاةٍ فَفَقَأْتَ عَيْنَهُ، مَا كَانَ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ جُنَاحٍ»

(If a person looks into your house without your permission, and you throw a stone at him and it puts his eye out, there will be no blame on you.) The Group recorded that Jabir said, “I came to the Prophet with something that was owed by my father and knocked at the door. He said,

«مَنْ ذَا؟»

(Who is that) I said, “I am!” He said,

«أَنَا أَنَا»

(I I) as if he disliked it.” He did not like it because this word tells you nothing about who is saying it, unless he clearly states his name or the name by which he is known, (nickname) otherwise everyone could call himself “Me”, and it does not fulfill the purpose of asking permission to enter, which is to put people at their ease, as commanded in the Ayah. Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas, “Putting people at ease means seeking permission to enter.” This was also the view of others. Imam Ahmad recorded from Kaladah bin Al-Hanbal that at the time of the Conquest (of Makkah), Safwan bin Umayyah sent him with milk, a small gazelle, and small cucumbers when the Prophet was at the top of the valley. He said, “I entered upon the Prophet and I did not give the greeting of Salam nor ask for permission to enter. The Prophet said,

«ارْجِعْ فَقُلْ: السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَأَدْخُلُ؟»

(Go back and say: “As-Salamu `Alaykum, may I enter”) This was after Safwan had become Muslim.” This was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib.” Ibn Jurayj said that he heard `Ata’ bin Abi Rabah narrating that Ibn `Abbas, may Alah be pleased with him, said, “There are three Ayat whose rulings people neglect. Allah says,

[إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عَندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَـكُمْ]

(Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who has the most Taqwa) [49:13], But (now) they say that the most honorable of them with Allah is the one who has the biggest house. As for seeking permission, the people have forgotten all about it.” I said, “Should I seek permission to enter upon my orphan sisters who are living with me in one house” He said, “Yes.” I asked him to make allowances for me but he refused and said, “Do you want to see them naked” I said, “No.” He said, “Then ask for permission to enter.” I asked him again and he said, “Do you want to obey Allah” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Then ask for permission.” Ibn Jurayj said, “Ibn Tawus told me that his father said, `There are no women whom I hate to see naked more than those who are my Mahrams.’ He was very strict on this point.” Ibn Jurayj narrated that Az-Zuhri said, “I heard Huzayl bin Shurahbil Al-Awdi Al-A`ma (say that) he heard Ibn Mas`ud say, `You have to seek permission to enter upon your mothers.”’ Ibn Jurayj said, “I said to `Ata’: `Does a man have to seek permission to enter upon his wife’ He said, `No, it can be understood that this is not obligatory, but it is better for him to let her know that he is coming in so as not to startle her, because she may be in a state where she does not want him to see her. ”’ Abu Ja`far bin Jarir narrated from the nephew of Zaynab — the wife of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud — that Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “When `Abdullah came back from some errand and reached the door, he would clear his throat and spit, because he did not want to come suddenly and find us in a state he disliked.” Its chain of narration is Sahih.

[يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتاً غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُواْ وَتُسَلِّمُواْ عَلَى أَهْلِهَا]

(O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them;) Muqatil bin Hayyan said: “During the Jahiliyyah, when a man met his friend, he would not greet him with Salam; rather he would say “Huyyita Sabahan” or “Huyyita Masa’an” [equivalent to “Good morning” or “Good evening”]. This was the greeting among the people at that time. They did not seek permission to enter one another’s houses; a man might walk straight in and say, “I have come in,” and so on. This was difficult for a man to bear, as he might be with his wife. So Allah changed all that by enjoining covering and chastity, making it pure and free of any sin or impropriety. So Allah said:

[يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتاً غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُواْ وَتُسَلِّمُواْ عَلَى أَهْلِهَا]

(O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them…) What Muqatil said is good. Allah said:

[ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ]

(that is better for you,) meaning, seeking permission to enter in is better for you because it is better for both parties, the one who is seeking permission to enter and the people inside the house.

[لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ]

(in order that you may remember.)

[فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُواْ فِيهَآ أَحَداً فَلاَ تَدْخُلُوهَا حَتَّى يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمُ]

(And if you find no one therein, still enter not until permission has been given.) This has to do with the way in which one deals with other people’s property without their permission. If he wants to, he can give permission, and if he wants to he can refrain from giving permission.

[وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمْ ارْجِعُواْ فَارْجِعُواْ هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ]

(And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you.) means, if you are turned away at the door, before or after permission has been given,

[فَارْجِعُواْ هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ]

(go back, for it is purer for you.) means, going back is purer and better for you.

[وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ]

(And Allah is All-Knower of what you do.) Qatadah said that one of the emigrants said: “All my life I tried to follow this Ayah, but if I asked for permission to enter upon one of my brothers and he asked me to go back, I could not do so happily, although Allah says,

[وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمْ ارْجِعُواْ فَارْجِعُواْ هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ]

(And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you. And Allah is All-Knower of what you do.)”

[وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمْ ارْجِعُواْ فَارْجِعُواْ]

(And if you are asked to go back, go back….) Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “This means, do not stand at people’s doors.”

[لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتاً غَيْرَ مَسْكُونَةٍ]

(There is no sin on you that you enter houses uninhabited,) This Ayah is more specific than the one that comes before it, because it states that it is permissible to enter houses where there is nobody, if one has a reason for doing so, such as houses that are prepared for guests — if he has been given permission once, then this is sufficient. Ibn Jurayj said, “Ibn `Abbas said:

[لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتاً غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ]

(Enter not houses other than your own, ) then this was abrogated and an exception was made, and Allah said:

[لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتاً غَيْرَ مَسْكُونَةٍ فِيهَا مَتَاعٌ لَّكُمْ]

(There is no sin on you that you enter houses uninhabited, (when) you have any interest in them.) This was also narrated from `Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Stay In Touch

If you cannot visit your relatives, friends or acquaintances, you should still keep in touch by calling them or sending them a letter. This will leave them with a deep amicable impression and will keep the relationship alive. Al-Fadhl ibn Marwan, the vizier of the Abbasid Khalifah al-Mu’tasim said, “Inquiring about friends is (like) meeting them.”

In this regard, I would like to quote two poems:

If dear friends missed meeting each other
Then, the best meeting is a letter

I will be grateful every day
To a friend sending greetings while far away

Keeping appointments, delays and cancellation

In the first verse of Surat Al-Mai’da, Allah called upon the believers ‘O you the Believers, fulfill your promises.’ In Surat Maryam, Allah also praised Prophet Ismail (PBUH) saying “He was true to his promise. He was a Messenger and a Prophet.”

To keep an appointment is vital to our lives, since time is the most precious commodity, once wasted it could not be replaced. If you made an appointment, whether to a friend, colleague or for business you should do your utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other person who gave you part of their time and may have declined other appointments. Not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have marred your image and personality. If your punctuality becomes lousy you will lose people’s respect. You should keep all your appointments whether it was with an important person a close friend or someone else. You will be responding to the call of Allah in Surat al-Israa: “And keep your promises. The promise is a responsibility.”

It is enough to know that our kind Prophet S.A.W.S. gave an appointment to one of his companions. The companion came three days later. The Prophet S.A.W.S. gently reprimanded him “You have caused me some trouble. I have been waiting expecting you since three days.” The companion probably hand an excuse for this delay. Then, he has no means to inform the Prophet S.A.W.S about his inability to meet the appointment.

Today, fast and reliable communication means are available everywhere. As soon as you realize you will not be able to keep an appointment, you should inform the other to enable them to utilize their time. Do not be careless or irresponsible. Do not think that the appointment is so unimportant tat it does not merit a notice or an apology. This is totally irrelevant. Regardless of its importance an appointment is a commitment. It must be kept or canceled properly in advance.

Never make a promise while you do not intend to keep it or fulfill it. This is forbidden as it falls within lying and hypocrisy. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet S.A.W.S said: “Three traits single out hypocrites, even if he prayed and/or fast and claimed to be Muslim: if he talks, he lies. If he promised, he does not keep it. If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.”

Imam Ghazali in Al-Ihya said that this Hadith fits those who promise while intending not to fulfill it, or those who, without excuse, decide later not to fulfill a promise. Those who promise but could not fulfill their promise due to a proper excuse are not hypocrites. But we should be careful not to create excuses that are not valid. Allah knows our inner thoughts and intentions.

Control Your Eyes

When seeking permission to enter the home of someone, avoid glancing at its interior or within its privacy. This is shameful and detrimental.

Sayyiduná Sa’d Ibn ‘Ubádah [Radiallahu anhu] said, “A man came to seek permission to enter the door of Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] while facing the door way. Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, ‘Turn this way.” Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] then turned him away and ordered him to move further away from the door, saying, “The act of seeking permission has actually been ordained to prevent intrusion.” [Sunan Abí Dáwud and Tabaráni]

Sayyiduná Thaubán [Radiallahu anhu] recounted that Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “A person is not allowed to look inside a house without being permitted. If he does so (looks inside without being permitted), it is as though he has entered (intruded),  which is forbidden.” [Al-Adabul Mufrad]

Sayyiduná Abu Hurairah [Radiallahu anhu] reports that Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “Once the gaze enters (the home), there remains no use for permission thereafter.” (Al-Adabul Mufrad, Sunan Tirmidhí & Sunan Abí Dáwud]

‘Ammar Ibn Sa’id Al-Tujíbí [Rahimahullah] stated that Sayyiduná ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattáb [Radiallahu anhu] said, “Whoever fills his eyes with the sight of the interior of a house, before being permitted, is a wrongdoer.” [Al-Adabul Mufrad]

Sayyiduná Sahl Ibn Sa’d [Radiallahu anhu] said that a man peeped through a hole into the room of Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] while he was scratching his head with a small comb. When Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] saw the intruder, he told him, “Had I known you were looking, I would have poked your eyes with this. Seeking permission was actually prescribed to prevent intrusion.” [Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]

Answering: ‘Who Is It?’

When you knock at the door of your brother and you are asked, “Who is it?” then identify yourself, by stating your known name. Do not say “me”, “someone” or “somebody” for these words do not inform him as to who is at the door. It is incorrect for you to expect your voice be known to the person whom you are visiting since voices and tones resemble each other and can be confusing. Also, not every person in the home you are visiting may be able to recognise your voice.

Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] discouraged the one knocking at the door from saying, “It’s me” since this does not give a full meaning.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim [Rahimahumullah] reported that Sayyiduná Jábir Ibn ‘Abdullah [Radiallahu anhu] said, “I came to Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] and knocked on his door. He asked, “Who is it?” I answered, “It’s me.” Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] disapprovingly said, “Is it me? Is it me?!” It is for this reason that Sahabah [Radiallahu anhum] used to mention their names whenever they are asked, “Who is it?”

Sayyiduná Abu Dhar [Radiallahu anhu] said, “While walking out one night, I saw Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] walking by himself. I opted to walk in the shade of the moon, but he turned around and saw me. He then asked, “Who is there?” I replied, “It’s Abu Dhar.”

Sayyidatuná Ummu Hani [Radiallahu anha], a cousin of Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] and the sister of Sayyiduná Ali ibn Abí Talib [Radiallahu anhu] said, “I came to see Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam]. He was taking a bath and his daughter Sayyidatuná Fathima [Radiallahu anha] was screening him. He asked, “Who is this?” I replied, “I am Ummu Hani.”  (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

When you visit a friend of yours with or without an appointment, and he appologises for not being able to receive you, accept his apology. His personal affairs and condition of his house is best known to him. It is possible that something may have come up or that his personal circumstances does not allow him to receive you at that moment. He has the right to ask to be excused.

The famous Tábi’í, Qatadah Ibn Di’ámah as Sadúsí [Rahimahullah] said, “Do not remain at the door of those who decline your visit. You do have other needs to attend to whilst they are already occupied, therefore they deserve to be excused.”

Imam Malik [Rahimahullah] used to say, “Not all people can disclose their reasons.”

In this light, when it came to visiting, our pious predecessors used to say to their hosts, “Perhaps you are pre-occupied and cannot attend to us,” thus making them feel at ease in case they wanted to be excused.

Due to the importance of this etiquette, Allah says, whilst mentioning the etiquette of visiting and seeking permission:

“If you are asked to go back, go back, that makes greater purity.” (Surah An-Nur: 28)

Many hosts become compelled and disturbed by the visit of someone whom they did not want to attend to under the circumstances, and may resort to lying. Not only do their children learn bad manners, but such behaviour may lead to ill feeling and hatred in the hearts.

The Quránic etiquette provides a better alternative to such unpleasantness and protects us from lying. It allows the host to kindly present a reason to visitors and asks that they accept it in good faith.

“If you are asked to go back, go back, that makes greater purity.”

Knocking and Ringing

When you are at the door of your brother, friend, associate or someone you wish to visit, knock at the door in a pleasant way which is sufficient to make your presence known. Do not unethically knock loudly or violently as a thug or an oppressor would do, thereby frightening its occupants.

A woman came to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal [Rahimahullah] seeking his opinion on a religious matter. She knocked at his door loudly. He came out saying, “This is the banging of Policeman!” (In other words, it is not befitting to knock in this manner).

Imam Bukhari [Rahimahullah] reported in his ‘Al-Adabul Al-Mufrad’ that the Sahabah [Radiallahu anhum] used to knock on the door of Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] with the tips of their nails (out of respect for him).

This soft and gentle knocking is appropriate when the inmates of the home are close to the door. As for those who are further away from the door, it is appropriate to knock on their door, or ring the bell loud enough to enable them to hear it, without banging. In this regard, the following hadith was mentioned earlier, “Gentleness adorns every act and its absence tarnishes it.”

In addition, Imam Muslim [Rahimahullah] reported that Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] also said, “Whoever is deprived of kindness is deprived of all good things.”

One should allow sufficient time between two knocks, to enable those making wudhu, performing Saláh or eating, to finish without rushing. Some ‘ulama have suggested that this interval be equal to the duration of fout rakaáts of saláh since it is possible that a person may have just commence the saláh before you knocked on the door.

If after three intervalled knocks, you feel that if the person you came to see was not busy, he would have answered you, then leave for Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] has said, “When any of you seeks permission thrice, and he is not granted permission, then he should leave.” [Sunan Abi Dawúd]

While waiting for permission, do not stand infront of the door. Rather, stand to the right or to the left.

When Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] would come to someone’s door, he would avoid facing the door directly. Instead, he would stand to the right or to the left of the entrance. [Sunan Abi Dawúd]

Be Quiet While Others Are Asleep

If you enter a place where people are asleep, whether at night or during the day, be quiet and gentle. Be considerate. Do not cause any undue noise when entering or exiting. Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “Whoever is deprived of gentleness is deprived of all sorts of goodness.”

Sayyiduná Al-Miqdad Ibn Al-Aswad [Radiallahu anhu] said, “We used to keep aside the Prophet’s [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] share of the milk and when he came back at night, he would greet us with a voice loud enough for those who are awake to hear, without disturbing those who were asleep.” [Sahih Muslim and Sunan Tirmidhi]

In addition, whenever Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] used to offer Sálah at night, he would recite the Qur’án with a voice that pleased those who were awake, without disturbing those who were asleep.

Seeking Permission to Enter

If family members are resting in their rooms, and you intend to enter that room, seek permission to enter, otherwise you may see them in a condition that you or they, for that matter may dislike. This applies to your entire houshold; your immediate family members (mahrams like your parents or children) and others (non-mahrams) as well.

Imam Malik [Rahimahullah] has recorded in his Muwatta that Sayyiduná ‘Ata Ibn Yasar [Rahimahullah] that a man asked Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] the following, “Should I seek permission to enter my mother’s room?” “Yes” answered Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam]. “But we live together in the same house,” said the man. Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “Seek permission to go to her.” “But I am her servant,” replied the man. Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] repeated, “Seek permission! Would you like to see her naked?” “No,” replied the man. “Then seek permission when entering,” said Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam].

A man came to Sayyiduná ‘Abdullah Ibn Masud [Radiallahu anhu] and asked, “Should I seek permission to enter my mother’s room?” He answered,”There are certain conditions in which you would rather not see her.”

Sayyidatuná Zaynab, the wife of ‘Abdullah Ibn Masud [Radiallahu anhuma] said that upon reaching the door, ‘Abdullah [Radiallahu anhu] would cough (according to a narration in Ibn Majah, he used to make some noise), fearing that he might surprise us and encounter an embarrassing situation.

A man asked Sayyiduná Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Yamán [Radiallahu anhu], “Should I ask permission to enter my mother’s room?”  Sayyiduná Hudhaifah  [Radiallahu anhu] replied,”Yes, if you do not seek her permission, you may see what you dislike.”

Sayyiduná Musa [Radiallahu anhu], the son of Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaidillah [Radiallahu anhu] said,” My father went to my mother’s room. I followed him as he entered. He turned towards me and pushed my chest, causing me to sit on the ground. Then he reprimanded me saying, “How dare you enter without permission!”

Sayyiduná Nafi [Rahimahullah], the freed slave of Sayyiduná Ábdullah Ibn Umar [Radiallahu anhu] said, “When any of Ibn ‘Umar’s [Radiallahu anhu] children would come of age, Ibn ‘Umar [Radiallahu anhu] would assign him or her to another room. He would also not allow any of them to enter his room without permission.”

Sayyidduná ‘Atá Ibn Abí Rabáh [Rahimahullah] asked Sayyiduná Ibn ‘Abbas [Radiallahu anhuma], “Should I seek permission when entering the room of my two sisters?” “Yes,” replied Sayyiduná Ibn ‘Abbas [Radiallahu anhuma].  He said, “But they are in my foster care, I support and provide for them.”  Ibn ‘Abbas [Radiallahu anhuma] asked, “Would you be pleased to see them naked?” He then read the Quránic verse:

“And when the children among you come of age, let them seek permission, as those senior to them in age do” (Surah an-Nur)

Sayyiduná Ibn ‘Abbas [Radiallahu anhuma] concluded, “Seeking permission is obligatory for all people.”

Sayyiduná Ibn Mas’úd [Radiallahu anhu] said, “A person shoudl seek permission when entering the room of his father, mother, brother and sister.”

Sayyiduná Jabir [Radiallahu anhu] also said, “A person should seek permission when entering the room of his children, brother, sister, father or mother, even if she is old.”

Most of this narrations have been recorded by Imam Bukhari [Rahimahullah] in his book, ‘Al- Adabul Mufrad’ while some of them have been quoted by Ibn Kathír [Rahimahullah] under the above mentioned verse.

Anouncing Your Presence

When entering your house, make your presence known to those inside before approaching them, so that they may not be startled by your sudden appearance. Do not appear like one who is searching for fault in them.

Sayyiduná Abú ‘Ubaidah ‘Ámir Ibn Ábdullah Ibn Masood [Radiallahu anhu] said, “When my father Ábdullah Ibn Masood [Radiallahu anhu] used to enter the home, he would make his presence known by speaking and raising his voice (so that they may become aware).”

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal [Rahimahullah] said,” When a person enters his house, it is recommended that he coughs or taps his shoes.” His son ‘Abdullah [Rahimahullah] said,” When returning home from the masjid, my father used to announce his arrival before entering by tapping his shoes. At times, he would do so by coughing.”

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim [Rahimahumullah] have recorded from Sayyiduná Jabir [Radiallahu anhu] that Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] prohibited a person from unexpectedly surprising his family at night, whether returning from travel or otherwise, as though he mistrusts them or is merely searching for a fault in them.

Greeting

When entering or leaving your house, acknowledge those inside. Use the greeting that is unique to Muslims and which is the label of Islam:

Assalámu’alaikum wa rahmatulláhi wa barakátuhu

“May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you”

Do not forego this Islamic greeting by replacing it with something else such as “Good Morning” or “Hello” etc. This will lead to the “Salám” eventually being totally abandoned. This greeting is the salient feature of Islam. It is the label of Muslims which Nabi [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] prescribed by his actions and it is that which he taught his attendant, Sayyiduná Anas Ibn Malik [Radiallahu anhu] when he [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said to him: “O my son, greet your family when you enter (your home) for that is a blessing for you and your family.” [Sunan Tirmidhi]

Imam Qatadah [Rahimahullah], a prominent Tábií said, “Say Salaam to your family when you enter your house, for they are the most worthy of your Salaam.”

Imam Tirmidhi [Rahimahullah] recorded from Sayyiduná Abu Hurairah [Radiallahu anhu] that Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “When any of you joins  a gathering, he should say Salaam and when he intends to leave, then too, he should say Salaam. The first (the greeting of arrival) is no less important than the second (the greeting when parting).”

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