In Islam, proper manners and etiquette hold great importance. One aspect of Islamic etiquette is the practice of identifying oneself properly when seeking permission to enter someone’s home or room. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set an example by emphasizing the significance of personal identification and greeting before entering another person’s space. This article explores the teachings and lessons derived from involving visitors who did not identify themselves properly in the presence of the Prophet.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did not like visitors not identifying themselves properly. Jabir ibn Abdullah reported that he went to consult the Prophet concerning a debt that his father had. Jabir said, “I knocked at the door, and he said, ‘Who is it?’ I said, ‘It is I.’ He said, ‘It is I. It is I.’ He sounded as though he disliked my reply” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Seeking Permission in Islam

In Islam, it is proper manners to seek permission before entering someone else’s home or room, and it is necessary to start with a greeting of peace. This is the normal Islamic greeting of “As-salamu `alaykum,” which means “peace be upon you.” Then one follows that with seeking permission to enter. This is confirmed in the following hadith reported by Abdullah ibn Abbas: `Umar sought permission to enter the house of the Prophet, saying, “Peace be to Allah’s Messenger. Peace be with you all. May `Umar enter?” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

This is the perfect example of seeking permission to enter a place. `Umar, a very close Companion of the Prophet, was always highly respectful of Allah’s messenger. To him, no one including himself could be of equal status to the Prophet. Hence, when he greeted the people inside after knocking at the door, he offered the first greeting to the Prophet personally, before extending a similar greeting to whoever was inside the Prophet’s home. He then identified himself by name seeking entry. Thus, he did not leave the people inside in any doubt about the identity of their visitor. This enabled them to decide immediately what to say. If the visitor could be admitted without difficulty or embarrassment, then they would say so. Otherwise, they would let him know that the timing of the visit is inconvenient.

Today this sort of guidance is particularly relevant. If we are visiting a friend and ring the bell, it is important to announce ourselves properly. Suppose the building has an intercom system, when we ring the bell, the hosts would want to establish the identity of the person at the door. It is important that we begin by offering the greeting of peace. The host is certain to reply, returning our greeting. We should then identify ourselves. We may also state the purpose of our visit if this is suitable, particularly if we are visiting someone with whom we do not have a close relationship.

Identifying oneself Clearly

In the hadith quoted above, Jabir did not mention his name, trusting that the Prophet would recognize his voice. But this is not easy all the time. We may think that our voice is easily recognizable, but the other person may be busy, attended by some people or there may be some background noise around him. All these situations and others, too, may interfere with his or her attention and he may not recognize the person on the other side of the door. Hence, the Prophet’s answer was to repeat Jabir’s reply, implying that he did not like that answer. It is far better to announce oneself by name.

We note here that Jabir stated the purpose of his visit to the Prophet. His father died in the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind one son and seven daughters. He apparently left an outstanding debt. Jabir did not have the means to repay his father’s debt. Therefore, he went to the Prophet seeking either advice or assistance in settling this debt. Assistance could be either by seeking some arrangement with the creditors to make settlement easier, or by direct help in repayment.

When any of his Companions died, the Prophet used to ask whether he left behind some outstanding debt. If he was told that this was the case, the Prophet would instruct his Companions to offer the Janazah Prayer (Funeral Prayer) for the deceased, but he would indicate that he would not be leading the prayer.

This worked well, because some relatives of the deceased or a rich person among his Companions, would undertake the settlement of that debt. In this case, the Prophet would lead the prayer. Later on, when the Muslim state was richer, if the Prophet was told that a deceased person left some outstanding debt, he would undertake to pay it himself. He took this action as a head of state, indicating that this is the proper thing to do in a Muslim state, so that people would not be reluctant to help one another in their hour of need.

Personal identification is required in any situation when a person is requested to do so. The Prophet entered the mosque one day when Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari was reciting the Qur’an. He inquired, “Who is this?” Abu Musa said, “I am Buraydah! I lay down my life for you.” The Prophet said, “This man has been given one of the Psalms of David.” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Muslim, and Al-Hakim).

This hadith is related in this section because of the point concerning identifying oneself properly when asked. It is also entered under other headings, such as that of expressing one’s respect by stating willingness to sacrifice oneself for the sake of someone who is dearly loved. It is also noteworthy how the Prophet encouraged his Companions to recite the Qur’an properly.

In this case, Abu Musa, whose recitation of the Qur’an was one of the best among the Prophet’s Companions, is described as having been given a psalm like those of Prophet David. When Prophet David praised Allah, the valleys and mountains would echo his glorifications, and birds would sing with him in a superb and most inspiring type of rhythm. The Prophet likened Abu Musa’s recitation to those Psalms of David. That is great praise indeed.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasized that visitors should identify themselves properly when seeking into someone’s space. In an incident narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah, he approached the Prophet regarding his father’s debt but failed to clearly state his name at first attempt (Al-Buk and Muslim). The Prophet repeated Jabir’s reply, indicating his dislike for vague identification.

Lessons for thoughts

The teachings derived from these incidents hold relevance in contemporary times as well:

a) Proper Announcement: When visiting of acquaintances today it remains important to announce oneself clearly at their doorstep or through intercom systems if available.

b) Greeting of Peace: Initiating with “As-salamu `alaykum” sets a positive tone while reflecting Islamic values.

c) Name Identification: To avoid misunderstandings, one should always state their full name when announcing themselves as it ensures immediate recognition.

d) Stating Purpose: Depending on the nature of visit or relationship with host, stating the purpose may be appropriate.

Prophet Muhammad’s Exemplary Conduct

Prophet Muhammad exemplified exceptional conduct when welcoming guests into his home or receiving visitors elsewhere:

a) Utmost Respect: Close companions like `Umar demonstrated immense respect by offering peace greetings specifically to Allah’s Messenger before extending them to other occupants.

b) Settling Debts: The involving Jabir highlights how individuals sought assistance from Prophet Muhammad regarding debts left behind after death. This reflects compassion within society where helping each other during times of need was encouraged.


The examples set forth by Prophet Muhammad emphasize proper identification and etiquettes when visiting others’ spaces within an Islamic context. Seeking permission respectfully while identifying oneself clearly not only fosters harmonious interactions but also honors individual privacy rights upheld in Islam today. By embracing these teachings, we can strengthen interpersonal relationships based on mutual respect while upholding Islamic values taught by our beloved prophet (peace be upon him).

By  Adil Salahi