Is It Permissible To Stand Up and Greet My Non-Muslim Boss at Work?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

Is it permissible to stand up and greet my non-muslim boss at work?

Answer

Thank you for your question. It is permissible and would be considered good manners and a good way to teach and call others to Islam.

My teacher Shaykh Irshaad Sedick gave me these details:
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), would sometimes stand up for others as a sign of mutual respect. On one occasion, the Prophet stood when the funeral of a Jewish leader passed by him. Ibn Abi Laila (may Allah be pleased with him) reported, “A funeral passed by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), and he, peace and blessings be upon him, stood up. It was said to him, ‘It is a Jew.’ The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), responded, ‘Was he not a soul?’” [Agreed Upon]

On another occasion, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), commanded the Companions (Allah be pleased with them) to stand for Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh (Allah be pleased with him) who at the time was acting as judge, saying, “Stand for your chief.” [Muslim] A number of scholars opine that it is recommended to stand for the people of virtue as long as it is not done excessively or in exaggeration.

Imam Nawawi comments on this narration, saying:

فِيهِ إِكْرَامُ أَهْلِ الْفَضْلِ وَتَلَقِّيهِمْ بِالْقِيَامِ لَهُمْ إِذَا أَقْبَلُوا هَكَذَا احْتَجَّ بِهِ جَمَاهِيرُ الْعُلَمَاءِ لِاسْتِحْبَابِ الْقِيَامِ قَالَ الْقَاضِي وَلَيْسَ هَذَا مِنَ الْقِيَامِ الْمَنْهِيِّ عَنْهُ وَإِنَّمَا ذَلِكَ فِيمَنْ يَقُومُونَ عَلَيْهِ وَهُوَ جَالِسٌ وَيَمْثُلُونَ قِيَامًا طُولَ جُلُوسِهِ
“It is considered honoring the people of erudition; to stand to receive them when they arrive. This is what the majority of scholars stated, referring to the praiseworthiness of standing for them. Al-Qadi [s. Iyad] said that this standing is not prohibited, for what is prohibited is standing for them while they are sitting and remaining standing for as long as they remain seated.“ [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.