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All praise due to Allaah. May peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.
Brothers in Faith! Man by his nature loves comradeship and Islaam being a religion of togetherness and love encourages social relationship and familiarization among people as some of its fundamental teachings. That is why the Prophet loves the person who mixed with people more than the one who keeps away from them. He said: “The believer, who mixes with people and endures their harm is better than the one who does not associate with people nor endure their harm.” (Ibn Maajah).
Paying visits is a means of socialization. It leads to sound relationship, promotes love, strengthens bonds, reminds the heedless, teaches the ignorant, refreshes the souls and alleviates sorrow.
The Prophet was authentically reported to have visited a number of his companions. He used to visit Abu Bakr frequently. ‘Urwah narrated on the authority of ‘Aai’shah that she said: “I reached the age of discretion while may parents had already been practicing the religion (of Islam) and not a single day passed without the Prophet coming to visit us in the morning and evening. One midday, we were sitting in the house of Aboo Bakr when somebody announced: ‘Here is the Prophet coming to visit us at a time he do not usually visit us.” (Al-Bukhaaree).
Anas Ibn Maalik narrated, “The Prophet visited some of the Ansaar in their house and ate some food there. When he wanted to leave, he ordered that a place be prepared for him where he could pray. He then prayed there and supplicates for his hosts.” (Al-Bukhaaree).
Visiting is of different kinds. Some of which are obligatory while others are commendable. Holidays are opportunity to fulfill obligations and to spend one’s time with useful things. This is a reminder, for the reminder benefits the believers and in order that beauties of this world may not make us forget this obligation. It is also clear that pressures of these days make many of us oblivious of matters that are of priority just as the mass media unnecessarily magnifies useless things in this life and neglects obligations that are of importance.
Visiting one’s parents, needless to say, is an act of being kind to them. Paying regular visits to them should include fulfilling their obligations, assisting them and being gentle with them. Being busy should not be an excuse for neglecting one’s parents. Allaah gives importance to their rights and commands us to honor them when He says: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them, but address them in terms of honors. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (Al-Israa: 23-24).
A man came to the Prophet asking him permission to go for Jihaad and the Prophet asked him, ‘Are your parents alive?’ He said, ‘Yes’. The Prophet then said, “Make your Jihaad by taking good care of them.” (Al-Bukhaaree).
Paying visits to the kith and kin with the intention of being kind to them and extending material and moral support to them is also commendable. Being kind to the kith and kin is an act that Allaah loves. Aboo Hurrairah narrated that the Prophet said: “Allaah created the creation and when He finished, the womb got up and caught hold of Allaah whereupon Allaah said, ‘What is the matter?’ On the that it said, ‘I seek refuge with You from Al-Qatee’ah (those who sever the ties of kith and kin). On that Allaah said, ‘Will you accept (be satisfied) if I bestow my favors on him who keeps your ties and withhold My favors from him who severs your ties?’ On that it said, ‘Yes, O my Lord!’ Then Allaah said, ‘That is for you.’ Abu Hurrairah then recites: “Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship.” (Muhammad: 22).
It is also commendable to visit neighbors in order to know their conditions and assist them and to share with them their happiness and sorrow. The Prophet underscored the importance of being kind to them when he said: “Jibreel kept admonishing me of being kind to the neighbor until I though that he would make him an inheritor.” (Al-Bukhaaree & Muslim).
The sick Muslim also has a right of visit from his fellow Muslims because of its good effect. It makes him happy and makes him forget his sickness as well. Supplicating for him also alleviates his pains. Islaam regards reluctance to visit the sick as a negligence of a right that is due to Allaah. the Prophet said: “Allaah will say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O son of Adam! 1 was sick and you did not visit Me. He will say, “O my Lord! How could I visit You while You are the Lord of all the worlds?” Allaah will then say, ‘Don’t you know that My slave so and so was sick and you did not visit him? Don’t you know that, if you had visited him, you would have found Me with him?” (Muslim).
Would you not then, dear brother, seek the mercy of Allaah by visiting the sick and earn by that forgiveness for your sins?!
Brothers in Faith! When you visit a sick person, his illness become alleviated and say as the Prophet was reported to have said when visiting the sick: “Laa Ba‘Sa Tahoorun, Insha Allaah” Meaning, never mind! It is a purification. Inshaa’ Allaah.” (Al-Bukhaaree).
When you visit the sick, remind him of Allaah and that He is the only One that can cure. Remind Him of the virtues of being patient and being satisfies with Allaah’s decree.
Do also visit your bereaved brothers and remember the Prophet’s saying: “Any believer who consoles his brother who is afflicted with a calamity, Allaah will make him wear a garment of honor on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ibn Maajah).
It is also commendable to visit the orphans and show them compassion. The Prophet said, I and the guardian of orphan will be like this in Paradise -demonstrating his index and middle fingers and separating between them a little.” (Al-Bukhaaree).
Paying visits to the Ulamaa and righteous people is also a fruitful, for one learns from their acts of worship, their indifference to worldly things and their piety. While it is commendable to visit the contemporary Ulamaa, it is also rewarding to spend some time with the early scholars of Islaam by visiting them through their books.
Brothers in Islam! Exchanging visits for the sake of Allaah among Muslims gladdens the hearts and it is a cause for Allaah’s love. The Prophet said: “A man visited a brother of his in another town. Allaah sent an angel to lie in wait for him along his way. When he came upon the angel, he asked him, ‘Where are you going? He answered: ‘I am going to visit a brother of mine in this town?’ The angel asked further: ‘Is there any favor that you want to get from him? The man said, ‘No, it is only that I love him for Allaah’s sake.’ The angel then said: ‘I am a messenger of Allaah to you (to tell you) that, Allaah loves you as you love your brother for His sake.” (Muslim).
In a Qudsie hadeeth, Allaah says: “My loves becomes due for those who love each other for My sake; those who sit with one another for My sake, those who visit one another for My sake and those who spend for one another for My sake.” (Maalik & Ahmad).
Fellow Muslims! Paying visits however has manners that strengthen social relationships.
Among its etiquette is to choose the proper time and day; for invading other people’s homes without their permission negates Islamic manners. Also, paying unnecessarily frequent visits leads to boredom, wastes time and is likely to breed hatred. This fact must especially be considered when visiting people of high responsibility like scholars because of their many responsibilities and scarce time. Paying a lot of purposeless visits leads to idle talk, backbiting and engaging in forbidden amusements. One should also keep away from gatherings in which there are free mix of men and women as it happens in some family visits for, that leads to temptation and corruption and leaves the door open for Satan to wreck his havoc.
Of the lofty manners that Islaam teaches is the etiquette of seeking permission before one enters other people’s houses. The Prophet used to teach his companions this manner. A man of Banoo ‘Aamir tribe related that he asked for the Prophet’s permission to enter upon him while he was in a house and said, ‘can I enter?’ The Prophet then ordered his servant to go to that man and teach him the manner of seeking permission that he should say, ‘Assalaamu Alaykum. Can I enter?’ (Aboo Daawood).
Islaam so respects the sanctity of people’s homes that it treats it with impunity if the eye of the person who peeps into other people’s house is gouged out. Aboo Hurrairah narrated that he heard the Prophet saying, “If a man peeps at you without your permission and you cast a pebble at him and his eye is gouged out, there is no blame on you.” (Al-Bukhaaree & Muslim).
It is also an etiquette of visit to knock the door gently, you should not stand in front of the door nor look into the house before you are permitted to enter. This is in order to protect people’s homes and their privacy.
Visitor should ask for permission thrice and if permission is not given, he should go back. The Prophet said: “if any one of you seeks permission to enter a house three times and he is not given permission to enter, he should go back.” (Al-Bukhaaree & Muslim).
Allaah says: “And if you asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you.” (An-Noor: 28).
One should not therefore get angry if he is told to go back, for people have their excuses and are entitled to their privacy.
This is the Islamic teaching that reforms the social life and impart in people noble feelings and sublime conduct.
There is also a kind of visit that is recommended for men only: visiting the graveyard. Paying visit to graveyard softens hearts, makes one indifferent to this worldly life and gives admonition. The Prophet in fact encouraged it when he said, “I had forbidden you from visiting graveyard, and you can now visit it.” (Muslim).
When you visit the graves, you will remember death and know that you will one day lie in one of those graves.
Dear brother! Whenever you heart becomes forgetful and your soul becomes totally occupied with this life, visit the graveyard and ponder over those who are buried there. Yesterday, they were eating, drinking and enjoining life like you. They are now being held responsible for their deeds. Nothing benefits them except their good deeds.
Visiting the graveyard reminds of the life after death. So that he strives to do good deeds and remembers the reward that is with Allaah.
However, paying visit to graveyards should not mean traveling there, rubbing oneself with the soil thereof, circumambulating them, kissing them, dedicating sacrifices to them or invoking the dead. All these are forbidden.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “The Prophet has initially forbidden the visit to the graveyard in order to block the means that leads to shirk, but when Tawheed became firm-rooted in the people’s hearts, he permitted them to visit them in a way which he prescribed. So, whoever visits them in a way that is contrary to the way that Allaah and His Prophet loves, his visit is not permissible.”
However, some visitors go to graveyard to invoke the dead and seek for their intercession in getting their needs. Islaam forbids this, because invocation and supplication are rights that solely belong to Allaah Alone. He is Near and He is the All-Hearing of all complaints and capable of answering supplications. No living or dead person is capable of doing any of that. The Prophet said: “Whenever you ask, ask form Allaah. And whenever you seek for assistance seek it from Allaah.” (Al-Tirmithieý).
Further, asking one’s needs from others beside Allaah is akin to invoking him. It is also an act of associating partners with Him. The Prophet said, “Making Du’aa is the act of worship.” (Abu Daawood and others).