Bishr ibnul Haarith (rahimahullah), popularly known as Bishr Haafi, was a renowned saint of his era. On one occasion a person asked him, “How did you attain this lofty position of sainthood? We notice that people take your name with extreme reverence and honour!”
In reply, Bishr (rahimahullah) mentioned the following:
What can I say? Whatever I have been blessed with is purely out of the grace and favour of Allah Ta‘ala! I was a man who was leading an extremely sinful life. One day, while walking, I came across a piece of paper that was lying on the road. When I picked it up, I saw that it had ‘Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem’ written on it. I thus wiped the paper clean and placed it in my pocket with respect.
At that time, I only possessed two dirhams (silver coins). I proceeded to the ‘itr (perfume) merchants and used my two dirhams to purchase ‘ghaaliyah’ (a type of exclusive ‘itr). Then I applied the ‘itr to the piece of paper.
That night, when I went to sleep, I had a dream in which I was told, “O Bishr ibnul Haarith! You raised Our name from the road and perfumed it! Thus, I will most definitely cause your name to be raised and revered in this world and the next!”
It was on account of this that Allah Ta‘ala granted me this position.
(Kitaabut Tawwaabeen – Ibnu Qudaamah pg. 216)
A person will generally show respect to those people and things which he regards to be important and esteemed. Since a Muslim regards Allah Ta‘ala, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Deen to be the most important things in his life, he should afford them the highest level of respect. Similarly, he should respect everything that has some link or association with Deen.
Some examples of this are: Respect for the Quraan Majeed and the blessed ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (by not holding them without wudhu, by sitting respectfully when reciting them, holding them high when handling them, not placing anything on top of them, listening to them attentively when they are being recited, etc.), the azaan (by remaining silent during the azaan and replying to its words), the sanctified cities of Makkah Mukarramah and Madeenah Munawwarah, the people of Deen (the ‘Ulama, those who taught us Deen, etc.). When a person shows respect to the things of Deen, Allah Ta‘ala blesses him and causes him to be respected by people as well.
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