1- The great solemnity of the Prophet
One of the good manners of the Prophet is his great solemnity. He was the most solemn, the best in his good manners, the noblest and the most generous among all people.
Abu Dawud reported:
“He (PBUH) was the most solemn person in a session; he hardly reveals parts of his legs.”
Hafsa bint Umar ibn Al-Khattab reported:
“Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) was lying in the bed in my apartment with his clothes between his thighs… When Uthman asked for permission to enter; Allah’s Messenger took his clothes and covered his legs.
They talked together and went out. So I asked him: Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali, and other companions came and you kept your clothes as they had been but when Uthman came in you covered yourself.
The prophet (PBUH) said:
“Should I not show modesty to one whom even the Angels show modesty.” (At-Tirmidhi from Hafsa)
2- Letting the eldest among the attendants speak:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) would let the eldest be the first to speak among the attendants, out of honoring them, preserving their position and acknowledging their rank among other people.
Bashir ibn Yasar said that a man from the ansar called Sahl bin Abi Hathma told him that a number of people from his tribe went to Khaibar and dispersed, and then they found one of them murdered.
They said to the people with whom the dead had been found, “You have killed our companion!”
Those people said, “Neither have we killed him, nor do we know his killer.”
The bereaved group went to the Prophet (PBUH) and said:
“O Allah’s Messenger! We went to Khaibar and found one of us murdered.” The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Let the eldest among you come forward and speak.”
Then the Prophet (PBUH) said to them:
“Bring your proof against the killer.”
They said, “We have no proof.”
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Then they (the defendants) will take an oath.”
“We do not accept the oaths of the Jews.”
Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) did not like that the Blood-money of the killed one be lost without compensation, so he paid one-hundred camels out of the camels of Zakat (to the relatives of the deceased) as Diya (Blood-money). (Muslim)
This behavior shows how the Prophet used to let the eldest among the group, the attendants or the tribe talk on their behalf, in order to preserve their position.
Once, a delegation from Hijaz came to Umar bin Abdul Aziz and boy was chosen to be their spokesperson. He stepped forward and started speaking, but the Khalifah, got angry with him, and said to him, “Step back and let someone older than you speak.”
The value of a man is estimated by the two smallest parts in his body, namely the heart and the tongue. If Allah blesses a servant with an eloquent tongue and a faithful heart, then this servant is worthy of speaking.
If it had been a matter of age, then many other Muslims would have been worthier of the Khilafah than you.” Umar was amazed by the answer of the boy.
The Noble Prophet used to preserve the position of all people, and this is clear in his Noble Sunnah. He said in the Hadith reported by Abi Hurairah:
Anyone who does not show mercy to our children nor acknowledge the right of our old people is not one of us (At-Tirmithi from Anas)
3- Honoring those who are favored over other people:
The Prophet used to honor those who were favored over other people:
The blessing is with your elder ones. (Al-Bukhari)
If those who are prominent are not respected or honored, other people will lose their dignity. People are respected, because of the old well-known people of honor among them. The Prophet said:
“He is not from my nation who does not honor our elders, nor have mercy on our young ones, nor recognize the rights of our scholars.” (Ahmad)
The mutual politeness among the Prophet and his uncle:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
Al-Abbas came to the Prophet so when the Prophet saw him approaching, he hastened to welcome him, kissed him in the forehead and let him sit on his right. Then, he said:
“This is my uncle, let everyone of you be proud of his uncle.” (At-Tabarani)
“When drought threatened the Muslims (Ar-Rumadah year), caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab used to ask Al-Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib to make Du’a to Allah for rain. He used to say, “O Allah, we used to ask our Prophet to make Du’a to You for rain, and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask his uncle to make Du’a to You for rain. O Allah, bless us with rain.”
People kept making Du’a to Allah till it rained. After that, Umar delivered a sermon saying, “The relationship between Allah’s Messenger and his uncle Al-Abbas was a father-son relationship; the Prophet used to glorify and honor him, and he used to ask Allah to answer his Du’a.
Hence, follow the example of Allah’s Messenger’s relation with his uncle Al-Abbas, and let him be a means of having our Du’a to Allah responded.”
The Noble Companions knew that Al-Abbas was favored over them, so they used to honor and consult him, and they used to listen to his advice.
Although Uthman and Umar were chosen to be caliphs, they used to get off their horses whenever Al-Abbas passed by them, and they greeted him saying:
“O uncle of Allah’s Messenger, you are welcome.”
This is how the politeness and respect of Allah’s Messenger towards his uncle Al-Abbas was manifested, but how about the respect and politeness of Al-Abbas towards the Prophet?
Al-Abbas once was asked:
“Who is older; you or the Prophet?”
Well, it seems that their ages were close to each other. In fact, in some families, the nephew is older than the uncle. Al-Abbas replied:
“He, is greater than me, but I was born before him (I am older than him).”
Zaid bin Thabet wanted to ride a horse, so Ibn Abbas harried to help him ride it, but Zaid, said:
“O cousin of Allah’s Messenger, step back and let me do that by my own.” Ibn Abbas said, “No, I will not let you do it, because this is how we should treat the great scholars.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
It is out of reverence to Allah to respect an aged Muslim, and the one who commits the Quran to memory and does not exaggerate pronouncing its letters nor forgets it after memorizing, and to respect the just ruler”. (Abu Dawud)
I strongly wish that the aged Muslims show modesty to Allah. Allah, Glorified and Sublime be He, said in Hadith Qudsi:
O My servant, you have got by now gray hair, weak sight and hunched back, so take Me into your consideration as I take you in My consideration.
Abridged from http://www.muhammad-pbuh.com