Many a time, we have been on the receiving end of visitors barging into the house and sometimes we ourselves have unwittingly entered into the premises of another and we have become confronted with sights we would rather not have seen. Islam is a model religion that caters for everything. Do you know that there are etiquette to conform with when you intend to visit someone? Do you know that your intended host reserves the right to admit you to his abode and to turn you back? Sit back and relax, while you read through my thoroughly researched post on the basic etiquette of visiting people in their homes.
It is generally disliked to schedule your visits at such inconvenient times such as the meal times, when its time for the noon rest, when people are resting or relaxing, before the fajr prayers and after the isha prayers. The reasons are not farfetched. As a guest, you do not want to pose a thorn in the flesh of your hosts, neither do you want to infringe on their private and resting times. It is stated in the Noble Qur'an -" O ye who believe! let those whom your right hands possess, and the (children) among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning prayer; the while ye doff your clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of undress: outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other: Thus does Allah make clear the Signs to you: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.". (Quran 24:58)
It is generally accepted that before making a visit, an appointment should be made, it could either be oral, through the phone, e mail or text message, give your host sufficient time to prepare for your visit, dont just barge into his home and expect a grand reception. There is one popular statement that the visitor who arrives late in the night should not expect dinner. Exactly.
When the D-Day of making the visit comes, the Quran asks us in Surat Noor to seek permission before entering the homes of our hosts. 'O you who believe! enter not houses other than your own until you have asked permission' Q24:27. The importance of seeking permission cannot be overemphasized as there are several prophetic traditions that elucidate its importance.
The Prophet (SAW) said, "Seeking permission [to enter another person's private space] has been made compulsory only because of eyesight (i.e. only so that people do not see that which is unlawful for them to see, such as a stranger woman)." (Bukhari & Muslim)
'Ata Ibn Yasir (RA) narrated: "A man asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW) 'Should I seek permission to enter my mother's room?' The Prophet (SAW) answered 'Yes'. The man said, ' We live together in the same house'. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said 'Ask permission to join her'. The man argued 'But I serve her!' The Prophet (SAW) said 'Ask for permission. Would you like to see her naked?' The man replied 'No'. The prophet (SAW) said 'Then ask for her permission before entering'.
In another narration, Zaynab, the wife of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said that before opening the door of his house, 'Abdullah used to make a noise, lest he surprised and embarrassed his family. Likewise:
"A man asked Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman (RA) , "Should I ask permission to enter my mother's room?" Hudhayfa replied, "Yes, if you do not ask for her permission, you may cause yourself a needless embarrassment". Thus it is not too advisable to suddenly enter even your own house, signify your presence in one way or the other. There is also no need to "surprise" your family.
When children reach a certain age they must ask permission and be taught to establish prayer. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: "And when the children come of age, let them ask for permission, as do those senior to them in age; thus does Allah make clear His signs. Allah is all-knowing all wise"
(Quran 24: 59)
Nafi' (RA) the companion of 'Abdullah ibn Umar said, "When any of the children of Ibn Umar came of age, Ibn Umar would assign that child to another room. He would not allow any of them to enter his room without permission".
'Ata ibn Abi Rabah (RA) reported that he asked Ibn Abbas "Should I seek permission when calling my two sisters?" Ibn Abbas answered "Yes". I said, "I am their gaurdian, supporter and providor of their needs". He said, " Would you rather see them naked?" Then he recited the verse of the Quran (24:59), concluding that it is obligatory to seek permission for all.Masha Allah.
Concerning seeking permission before entering another person's house, it is sunnah to greet first and then ask for permission to enter. Kaldah related in Sunnan Ahmad that ' I entered without having greeted anyone inside, and so the prophet SAW said 'Go back and say As-salaamu aleikum'.
After the greeting of peace, then you ask ' can I enter?'. Take care to note that when sending salutation and seeking permission, you do not stand directly in front of the door, but rather on either sides of it. After seeking permission three times and you either received no response or your requests have been declined, then by all means return to where you came from. Abu Moosa Al-Ashree related that the Nabiyy SAW said 'If one of you asks permission to enter the private property of another three times without permission being granted to him, then he should return. Bukhari and Muslim. When your request to enter an apartment is been declined and you are asked to return, please do not nurse any rancour agaist your potential host, for you do not know the circumstnce facing him. Be very civil and considerate when anouncing your appearance, do not knock harshly or raise your voice unnecessarily.
May Allah forgive us our errors and grant us His Mercy. Ameen.
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