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Kissing the feet of elders

Posted by Abd Al Mustafa on Tuesday 5th June, 2007

1bb61c38ef_thumb.gifThis practice is prevalent amongst the Bangladeshi muslims. I haven’t seen it being practiced much among any other communities (not that it isn’t practiced). I once saw a clip on youtube of a mawlid gathering where shaykh hisham bent down and kissed the feet of his shaykh, shaykh nazim haqqani. I thought to myself, if the wobblies see this they will immediately accuse shaykh hisham of worshipping shaykh nazim. How foolish! such accusations would be.

Anyway, amongst the bangladeshis this is practiced frequently (infact an everyday practice) but they no longer kiss the feet directly with their mouths but rather they touch the feet with the hand and then kiss the hand. It is known as QADAM BUSI. This step (not kissing the feet directly) was taken many many years back in order not to give the wobblers an excuse to start any FITNA.

However, the wobblers are still not happy and want it abolished totally. They claim it is un-islamic and is a hindu practice which has crept into Islam and that it is also a practice that has crept into Islam without any sort of proof.

Sadly, the majority of people who practice it know not what it is and why they practice it. Usually it is expected from a new member of the family ie. a daughter-in-law/son-in-law to do this to the parents-in-law. If they don’t, then they are looked at with evil eyes and so many problems are created from it.

Regretfully, this is only due to ignorance and lack of knowledge. It should not become an obligation, even for a short period. It should be practiced out of ones free will. Free willingly expressing love and respect for a certain person.

Some call it salaam at the OR by the feet. Some just think they need to touch the feet to show respect. I doubt if there is any basis for these two things in Islam. There is no such thing as salaam at the feet, salaam should always be offered verbally. And the touching of the feet of anyone without knowing why, what etc is meaningless.

** however, it should be noted that the phrase “salaam by touching the feet” is like a metaphor in bengali, it doesn’t actually mean what it literally sounds like. It’s just become a phrase for describing the touching or kissing of the feet.  for example, the literal understandinging for drinking water would mean eating water but everyone knows the facts but they still continue to use a term which literally means eating water. But then there are those less aware who actually think it is what it literally sounds like. And the wobblers jump on the band wagon to condemn it due to actions of the ignorant/unaware/uneducated masses, and many actually abandon it due to these satanic molvies.**

Qadam Busi – as we call it in bengali culture means to kiss the feet. We should touch the feet with our hands and then kiss that hand out of our free will to express love and respect for our elders, parents, murshids etc etc.

It should NOT be made obligatory upon us nor should we make it an obligation unto others. NOR should it be condemned if one wishes to practice it.

Are there any hadith to back it up? I was shocked once when a bangladeshi molvi from east london who holds the title of professor sometimes DR and sometimes principal, actually stated that he had never come across any hadith that actually showed any signs of this being practiced during the glorious era of the prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم and the blessed sahaba.

I emailed him of course with several hadith, a few of which are seen below:

Riyadh-us-Saliheen,889.
Safwan ibn ‘Assal said, “A Jew said to his companion, ‘Let us go to this Prophet.’ So they went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked him about nine clear signs,” and he mentioned the hadith to its end. “They kissed his hand and feet and said, ‘We testify that you are a Prophet.'” [taken from Tirmidhi]

Imam Bukhari’s Adab Al-Mufrad,975.
Al-Wazi’ ibn ‘Amir said, “We came and were told, ‘That is the Messenger of Allah.’ We took his hands and feet and kissed them.”
Al-Mufrad,976….Suhayb said, “I saw ‘Ali kiss the hands and feet of al-‘Abbas.

Abu Dawud : Book 41 : 5206
Narrated al-Wazi’ ibn Zari':
Umm Aban, daughter of al-Wazi’ ibn Zari’, quoting his grandfather, who was a member of the deputation of AbdulQays, said: When we came to Medina, we raced to be first to dismount and kiss the hand and foot of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him).

Then there are those (including a few of my tablighi mates) who even after being shown certain hadiths, they still can’t accept the fact that in order to kiss someones feet one will need to go into a position which is similar to the sujood position, then how can that not resemble sajdah and thus shirk..?? shaykh gibril gives a clear straight forward & beautiful reply to a question similar to this here; It is difficult to imagine anyone kissing another’s foot other than in a posture seeming to resemble prostration to some, and it would be an outlandish suggestion that imitating the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the great early Muslims could be among the major sins.

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19 Responses to “Kissing the feet of elders”

  1. Muslimah said

    Ya Habibi! Bless me with the chance of kissing your blessed feet!!

  2. hafiz efrizal said

    thank you very much! now I know the dalil of kissing feet is permissible in shariah.

  3. Abdul said

    these are da’eef (weak) hadith. sahih hadith are needed to make it clearer. i doubt you will be able to show me any.
    Allah’s curse be upon the liars. Allah is high above all that is associated with HIM.

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – jazakallah khair for your most respectful comments. BUT make what clearer..?? may be you don’t know the rulings of and behind the use of da’eef hadith. also, simply becoz a certain imam from a minority sect says that a certain hadith is weak doesn’t necessarily make it weak. ** plz note: hadith are never da’eef, it is the chain of narration that is classed as sahih, hasan, da’eef etc etc **

    so, yes! may allah curse and punish the liars and trouble makers.but most of all may allah grant them hidayah, and give them the strength to discuss with others rather than curse them…ameen!

  4. Ubayd said

    Come on people stop following the hindu’s. This is un-islamic and should be avoided. how about answering these: how is it that only bengali people do this? people who loved the prophet most are the close companions of the prophet so if this is islamic then there should be some recording somewhere showing the companions doing this. right? the wives of the prophet (saw) would have done it regularly etc. Surely the arabs would have carried on this even till now but they never heard of it. Our prophet (saw) never mentioned this neither did any close companions.
    if the above evidence is the best you got then you have no hope brother.

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – so, you reject the above mentioned hadith..??? your comments make it clear exactly who it is that has no hope! thanx for the input.

  5. Ubayd said

    Answer the questions please.

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – if you are lookin’ for a debate bruv, then plz start one here: http://www.yanabi.com or here: http://sunniport.com

  6. ilmseeker said

    would you please tell me why can we used those hadiths if its weak? I doubt there is any virtue to kiss someones feet.

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – obviously you choose to be ignorant of all that has been said above. apply a little common sense and all will become clear. And don’t make doubts out of your own petty assumptions. This is islam we are discussing not a football game.

  7. ilmseeker said

    well we dont sit here to make common sense with islam. ali(rd) said : if islam was there to make common sense then we would do masah under the foot sole an not on the feet.

    so back up our practise with authentic evidence and not with common sense.

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – typical literalist comment. the literalists take other peoples words, but most of all quranic verses and hadith texts and interpret it literally and with effect end up spreading misguided views and thus misguiding others. may allah save us from this. what i meant by applying common sense was that if you had properly read the whole post and the comments you would’ve got the jist of the issue. learn your deen before objecting to other peoples actions and words. and NO! true islamic knowledge cannot be learned properly on the net, go and sit with the ulama. go and learn your fiqh. learn about hadith narrations and their history and how one becomes weak and the other sahih. here is a good book for it http://www.aqsapublications.com/TitleDetails.aspx?tID=17

  8. Zain said

    Dear brother Mustafa, Assalamualaikum. Thank you very much for giving some backing with ur answers to the questions above. I was very happy with the way u gave the answers. My question to u is: can kissing the feet be regarded as Sunnah? I heard a maulvi on tv giving similar reason as u did but in the end he called it Sunnah. Is this acceptable? Another thing, it upsets my father very much when i dont touch his feet during eid. Is this going to be looked at as a sin for disrespecting my parent?

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – wa alaikum as salaam, my dear brother i am not a scholar so plz don’t ask me for rulings or fatwas. sunnah is of three types. sunnah taqriri, sunnah feli and sunnah qauli. qauli is where the prophet (saw) told the muslims to do something. the other two i get mixed up as to which one is which by name, but they are as follows: one is where the prophet (saw) did not do something himself but gave permission to others to do & the other is where he (saw) did not tell anyone to do it nor did he do it himself BUT he saw others doing it and he remained silent. meaning he did not prohibit them from doing it nor did he promote the idea. so in a way the ulama have stated that this is silent permission. if the prophet (saw) gives permission or if he sees u doing something and he enjoys it and praises u for it, then these are also sunnah.

    keeping your parents happy is one of the most biggest ibadahs one can do after the ibadah which allah has made fardh upon us. However, from the little knowledge i have, touching the feet has no meaning in islam. i mean what does touching the feet mean.? we touch the feet of our elders with our hands and then kiss those hands which is another way of kisssing the feet. like i said above expecting others to kiss or touch your feet or getting angry or upset if one does not kiss your feet is not of the islamic adaab and definitely not a sunnah of our master sayyidina rasoolallah (saw). make sure when you touch your father’s feet that your kiss the hand with which u touch his feet with & don’t forget your mother. And why only on eid..? do it every day every month.

  9. Meraj said

    Assalamualaikum brother mustafa.

    It is a real good explanation.Let us pray that Allah(SWT) teach all muslims to have extereme respect for our master Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa Sallalahu alai hi wa sallam.

  10. Khuldin said

    Assalamualaykum dear brother in Islam.
    I know of this tradition followed amongst certain muslims…
    but if you happen to go back to Hadiths…and yes…”a literalist comment”…you may call it…
    (But remember brother, we are the people of book…we are supposed to follow the hadiths, and not make common sense and logic out of it….Qur’an and Hadiths themselves teach us common sense)
    So, as I was saying…in one of the Hadiths, it is mentioned that Prophet Muhammed (Sallahu alaihiwassalim) used to wear Imama, but when he saw the jews wearing the same kind of Imama, he went to the Sahaba’s and discouraged them from wearing the Imama the same ways as they used to…he then asked his Sahaba’s to wear the Imama over an “islamic headcover” or a “topi”(in indian context). And he said that when the followings are similar to the disbelievers, stop following it…as you would be counted amonst them. [Abd Al Mustafa - plz quote the theses hadiths with references. i wud like to check them up. thanx! Your comment clearly proves that the prophet (saw) did not instruct the muslims to abandon the practice, rather he (saw) encouraged them to continue to do it but slightly different to the jews........this also proves my point in the article where i stated that certain ways were changed in order to NOT give the opposers any reason to attack the practice....plz remember that at the time of the prophet (saw) there was no need for individual ijtihad etc, when any one wanted to know anything they simply went to the prophet (saw) and asked and got their answer, end of. no one today can give that example and give a ruling in that manner...may allah save us from this].

    Another Hadith..
    Prophet Muhammed discouraged keeping only one fast during the month of Muharram, only because jews used to do the same thing during his time.
    He called upon the Sahaba’s to keep one fast extra, only to keep Islam different from Judaism. [Abd Al Mustafa – again, here the prophet (saw) did not call on the muslims to abandon the practice, rather he (saw) encouraged them to do it, but in a manner much better than the jews were doing it in.
    Infact, going by the contexts of Qur’an and Hadiths, it is wrong to even bow and exchange greetings, even if they are elders. [Abd Al Mustafa - i don't know where u got this bowing from and especially bowing to greet some one. if a person wants to touch or kiss the feet of another, then obviously he will need to bend over or bend down in order to touch or kiss the feet. there is a clear difference between bowing and bending down/over, i suggest u look it up and clarify it to keep ur mind at rest].Parents hold a very high position in a muslims life. It is a sin even to say “uff” to our parents. Respect is the first command for a muslim towards his/her parents. But showing respect by going against Hadiths is a shirk. [Abd Al Mustafa - going against hadith is not automatically shirk, plz have that clarified for yourself. it may be a sin, a major sin, kufr etc but how can it be shirk. shirk involves niyyah, in order for a person to commit shirk one must have a firm intention to go against islamic teachings, rulings etc..a person may go against a hadith due to ignorance, does that mean he is guilty of committing shirk..? a person may go against a hadith due to inner weakness, does that make him/her guilty of committing shirk..?]
    These Hadiths are enough to show us, that touching anybody’s feet, the way hindus do, is wrong. [Abd Al Mustafa - you not wrong there, but have u asked a hindu why and how and with what intention they touch the feet of elders..? have u asked muslims why they do the same..? judgement without facts is misguidance.......and all misguidance is destined for the hell-fire. As for the hadiths u quoted, they do your arguement no justice, they do not prove anything.......wallahu alam bis sawab.......wa billahi tawfiq wa al-hidayah]

    JazakAllah.
    May Allah always guide us on the right path….Ameen.
    -Your sister in Islam

    PS. i have noticed that pious/respectable hindu ladies cover their heads, if they are at home and their head is not covered and suddenly someone enters who is not of the family, they quickly lift up the end of their saree or dupatta and cover their heads. will u stop muslims from doing this too..? (AM)

  11. Abd Al Mustafa said

    May allah grant all those who have commented on this post jazah & khair both in this world and the world after, May Allah also increase their knowledge of the deen and give them a long life, May HE azzawajal give us all the tawfiq to follow the way of the ahlus sunnah and that of the majority of the ulama of the past thousand years and more.Ameen.

    It is perfectly clear that those opposing this blessed act are not actually reading the whole article but rather just seeing the title and ranting away. Islam does not allow rants.

    If read from beginning to end, it would be clear to see that the article is not promoting the practice, nor is it expecting all muslims to act upon it, but rather plainly and simply showing that if anyone wants to do it, it is perfectly ok to do it! that’s all!

    We are in a time where every tom dick and harry wants to give fatwas, we have abandoned learning islam from the teachers of islamic sciences and have started to express our own opinions and even try to impose our own opinions on others. There are those who are on a crusade to extinguish bidah & shirk, yet attack only normal muslims, and they quote the hadith ” KULLU BIDAH DALALAH”. let them know that the last part of this blessed hadith states: and all misguidance is destined for the hell-fire. it does not say that only bidah is misguidance and bidah will go to the hell-fire. it highlights bidah as ONE type of misguidance, but the hadith clearly states, in another interpretation “ALL MISGUIDANCE WILL TASTE THE HELL-FIRE”.

    so misguiding people about what is bidah and what isn’t will also be tested by the hell-fire. misguiding people about what is shirk and what isn’t will also end up in the hell-fire along with all types of misguidance.

    The opinions of the common people only hold value to themselves, they cannot be imposed on fellow muslims. so it should be kept to themselves.

    We are in an era, where the muslims are starting to abandon the teachings which have been agreed upon by the majority of the ulama from the past 1000 years, and adopting new age teachings which emerged not 40 yrs ago. The prophet (saw) instructed muslims not to break away from the jama’ah (the main body of muslims ie. the main body of islamic scholarship) and instructed that when u find urselves in disarray, steadfast to the majority, for my ummah will not agree upon error.

  12. Jameel Qadri said

    ASAK Abd Al Mustafa,

    Thanks for this post and making things clear regarding this topic to me and other sunni muslims.

    May i get your e-mail id? Thats if in case i need some clarification on some other topic, i may contact u.

    Allah Hafiz.
    Jameel Qadri.

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – plz note i am not an alim and will not be able to advise you on any type of rulings ie. masla masail. u can contact me thru this page:contact

  13. Muwahid said

    Bismillah.

    There is no confusion regarding this topic of kissing the feet between the Ulama of Ahl us-sunnah wa al-jamaah. Some muslims just want to make this thing unlawful, by any means such as tampering (see here: http://shadhilitariqa.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=21 & here: http://www.sunnah.org/aqida/tamperings_of_the_salafis.htm) with ahadeeth, and often allowing their emotions and affiliation with certain people to dictate how to categorize hadeeth, even if they have been established my the majority of ulama for the past 1000 yrs.
    This practise is a form of showing respect to shyookhs, elders and parents as well as others.

    However, the khawarij think differently. There are about 13 Ahadeeth from various reporters which deals with this subject, and if we look at Nasruddeen al-Albanis critique of these Ahadeeth, we find that of 13 Ahadeeth totaly, 11 of them are categorized as da’if by him because of his confusion and misguidance. He claims that Their chain of reporter af often contributted by unknown people, or people who were known to be mudhillah(wrongdoers), and as such not acceptable to gather ahadeeths from. THEN AGAIN WHO IS THIS ALBANI.?, see here: http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/albintro.htm

    The Ulama of ahl us-sunnah wa al-jammah agree that kissing feet and hands of other people regardless of their status is considered to be acceptable. There is very little basis, if any at all to condemn this practice. And this is the view held by the majority of Ulama through time. Others think that it has no basis, Wa Allahu ta’ala Alim.

    With regards to this Abd Al Mustafa, the grandfather of the prophet (saw) was Abd Al-Muttalib. The master of mankind never said anything about this name ever, so Abd Al-Mustafa shud be ok too. see this: http://thesunnivoice.com/2007/04/12/the-name-abd-al-mustafa/

    – Allah (swt) does not forgive shirk!, But Allah (swt) can choose to forgive the one who repent from making shirk. so stay away from the anthropomorphismic ideas of ibn taymiyyah and his likes http://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/contents/

    – I have found this page very informative http://thesunnivoice.com/kharijism/

    AttaqIllah

  14. Hussain said

    Assalamualaikum bother

    …………[message deleted]………..…

    [Abd Al Mustafa] – my dear brother plz try to read the whole post before jumping the gun. all your queries are addressed in the post above.

  15. mohammed mudassir said

    Mashallah brother, May Allah SWT benefit you with beneficial knowledge… Mashallah i love all the answers you have provided to some of our misguided/informed brothers. May Allah SWT provide guidance to all…ameen

  16. Mm khaled said

    The hadith u have narrated is true & a lot of gratitude to u for this tidings. But these are rarely & specially used. & that wasn’t tradition in the period of sahaba

    • Jazakallah khair for ur comments and clarification that the hadiths are true. This post is not calling on muslims to adopt this practice as a sunnah. The post is simply written in a defensive mode against all those out there who condemn the practice and to provide those who practice it a bit of know how, that is all.

  17. Shelly said

    Please answer me as I am in difficulty husband debating that by touching mothers feet is correct when Salam? I feel it’s not right nor do I agree please correct me.

    [AM - plz read the whole post begin to end..jzk]

  18. Eshq-e-Rasool said

    Assalaamu’alaikum,

    Brother, a very brilliant kitab on this (Qadama Busir Toitto) has been written by Hazrat Allama Qari Muhammad Mujahid Uddin Choudhury Dubagi Saheb (hafizahullah) with all the dalaail, especially from the akabir Ulama of deoband!! It is very beneficial and would leave any sceptic astounded, Inshallah. This book can be obtainedd from the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid in London and many other book stores and masjids throughout the UK and Bangladesh.

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