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Is kneeling in front of someone forbidden?

Question: 223781

I submitted question no. 223373 previously, about the ruling on kneeling to elders, and I was referred to an answer that mentions the permissibility of bowing to elders in Islam. But my question was specifically about the ruling on kneeling because there are some scholars in our area who say that kneeling in front of someone is different from bowing or prostrating. I hope that you can clarify the issue in a manner that will dispel confusion, so that I can tell my family about your fatw, in addition to others who are also concerned about this issue.

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

Firstly:

It is not
permissible to kneel or bow or prostrate to anyone at all, no matter how old
or great he is. The Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)
disliked his Companions even to stand up for him if he passed by them or
entered upon them, even though that was merely standing, with no kneeling,
bowing or prostrating.

Anas ibn Maalik
(may Allah be pleased with him) said: No person was dearer to them than the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), but if they
saw him, they did not stand up for him, because they knew that he disliked
that. Narrated by al-Bukhaari in his book al-Adab al-Mufrad (946);
Ahmad (11895); at-Tirmidhi (2678_. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (358).

The Messenger
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) warned the one who liked people
to stand up for him that by doing so he deserved to enter Hell. He
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever likes that people
should stand up for him, let him take his place in Hell.” Narrated by Abu
Dawood (4552); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth
as-Saheehah (357).

Secondly:

With regard to
bowing to another person, it is not allowed. One of the Companions asked the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): O Messenger
of Allah, if one of us meets his brother or his friend, can he bow to him?
He said: “No.” He said: Can he embrace him and kiss him? He said: “No.” He
said: Can he shake his hand? He said: “Yes.” Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (2652);
classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah
(160).

With regard to
the kneeling that is prohibited, that refers to when a person is standing,
then when someone passes him or enters upon him, he kneels to him.

But if a group
is sitting, and some of them rest on their knees, there is nothing wrong
with that, and this is not the kind of kneeling that the Messenger of Allah
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) forbade, so long as the person he
is kneeling in front of is also sitting and is not standing, and the one who
is kneeling is not doing that by way of veneration or showing  excessive
respect to the one with whom he is sitting.

Some of the
Companions did that in front of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace
of Allah be upon him):

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari
(3611) it says: … until Abu Bakr felt sorry [for ‘Umar, after he had a
disagreement with him and they both came to the Prophet (blessings and peace
of Allah be upon him) to resolve the matter, and his expression showed
displeasure with ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)], and [Abu Bakr]
knelt down and said: O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, I was more unjust to
him (than he was to me)…

And it was
narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger
of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has slaves
who are not Prophets and are not martyrs, but the martyrs and Prophets will
envy them on the Day of Resurrection because of how close they will be to
Allah, may He be exalted.” A Bedouin knelt up and said: O Messenger of
Allah, describe them to us. He said: “They are the best of people, who live
as strangers among other tribes; they befriend one another for the sake of
Allah and love one another for His sake. Allah, may He be glorified and
exalted, will set up thrones of light for them on the Day of Resurrection.
When the people are afraid they do not fear. They are the close friends of
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, on whom there will be no fear nor
shall they grieve.”

Narrated by al-Haakim;
he classed it as saheeh and adh-Dhahabi agreed with him. Classed as saheeh
by al-Albaani in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (3464).

Thirdly:

It is not
correct to say that the fatwa on our website permits bowing to elders.

Please see the
answers to questions no. 164865 and
133487.

And Allah knows
best.

Source

Islam Q&A

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