Message No : 123Sr.No : 199/725
Question By : nilofer

How did people address their own elder brothers & sisters during the time of Prophet Muhammad (sallal- laho-alehi - wasallam)? Here we add 'Bhayya'& 'Apa'
after the names. A lady wishes to know who lives abroad that addressing names only is also right, as long as she is giving due respect to the elder. Please comment.


Reply By : Mohd. Shihabuddin Qasmi
Designation : Mufti, ODI, MMERC, Mumbai 

In the name of Allah, All Gracious, All Merciful
Assalamo Alaikum
Dear Sister in Islam,
The answer to your question is as follows:

Islam lays great emphasis on respecting elder and showing love and affection towards younger. The Prophet of Islam (SAW) is reported as having said, ¡°He is not of us who is not affectionate to those who are younger to him in age and respectful to those who are older¡±. (Tirmizi & Abu Dawood)

It is amongst the respect of the elders not to take their names without any necessity. They should be addressed with their titles or the words used for respect. Therefore, it is Makrooh (not appropriate) for a child to take the name of his/her parents. Similarly, a wife should not take the name of her husband except the case of necessity. (Shami, Kitabul-Hazri Wa-Ibahah, Faslun Fil-Bai¡¯ 5: 297)

There are some particular words in every language, which are used for addressing elders and senior ones. Such as Syyeed, Syeedah, Shaikh and so on in Arabic language, Janab, Hazrat, Muhtaram, Muhtaramah, Huzoor Wala and similar words in Urdu language. And Honourable, Respected, Sir, Mr, Miss, Madam, Brother, Sister etc in English language. In short, people of every community address their elders with the words used for respect amongst themselves. And this has been the conduct of every civilized society to address their elders. Hazrat Yusuf (AS) addressed his father in the same style while explaining his dream. He said, ¡°O, my father! I have seen eleven stars and the sun and the moon prostrating before me¡±. (Suratu Yusuf 53: 4) And this was, also, the manner of addressing elders during the period of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The book of Ahadeeth abound with the examples in regard. Many narrators report the Hadeeth from their father and grandfather without taking the names.

And Allah knows the best,

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