Kissing the feet of elders
Posted by Abd Al Mustafa on Tuesday 5th June, 2007
This 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:
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.