Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah) while explaining the importance of etiquette with seniors, writes:
‘I was once with my friend at our Madrasah Sha’baniyyah in Aleppo (may Allah Ta’ala alleviate the sufferings of its people soon) when we saw two of our senior teachers.
- Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah)
- Shaykh Mufti Muhammad As’ad ‘Ibajy (rahimahullah)
My friend proceeded to greet and shake the hand of Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah first. He refused and said: ‘First greet the Shaykh (Mufti). First greet the Shaykh (Mufti)’
Shaykh ‘Awwamah says:
I thought to myself: while my friend greets the Mufti, I will greet Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah.
Again Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah (rahimahullah) refused, saying in a more stern voice:
‘Greet the Shaykh (Mufti) first!
‘Greet the Shaykh (Mufti) first!’
– end of quote.
(Ma’alim Irshadiyyah, pg.226-227)
Many of us are unmindful of this important etiquette; to greet the elder/senior first; before others.
Just as we are thought to first serve the elders before others, the same applies to the manners of greeting, meeting, offering a seat, allowing them to speak first etc.
Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) frequently encouraged putting the elders first. (Sahih Bukhari)
Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) has a dedicated chapter on this etiquette in Riyadus Sawlihin.
For more, refer to the book: Islamic Manners, by Shaykh Abdul Fattah, pgs.44-51