Eldest Is Given Precedence In Speech
Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Sahl, Huwaisah Ibn Masood, and Muhaisah Ibn Masood – when these three went to the Prophet (saas) in regard to a dispute, Abdur-Rahmaan, the youngest among them, began to speak. The Prophet (saas) said to him words to the effect of,
Let the oldest one speak (first) 1
The Companions (ra) honored their elders and showed mercy to the young among them, which is perhaps why Ibn Umar (ra) refrained from coming to the forefront when he was the youngest in a gathering. This occurred when the Prophet (saas) said to his Companions (ra)
Inform me of a tree, the example of which is the example of the Muslim. It bears its fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord, and its leaves do not wear away.
Ibn Umar (ra) knew the answer to this question, for he later said it occurred to me that it is the date-tree, but I disliked to speak when Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra) were there without any of them speaking (with the answer). The Prophet (saas) (then) said.
It is the date-tree.
When I left with my father (i.e., Umar (ra)), I said, O my father, it had occurred to me that it is the date-tree. He said, what prevented you from saying it? Had you said it, that (i.e., the honor you would have earned for giving the right answer) would have been more beloved to me than such and such. Ibn Umar (ra) then said, The only thing that prevented me was that I Saw neither you nor Abu Bakr speak, so I disliked (putting myself in a place of prominence – by speaking – before such distinguished company).
1 ) Related by Bukhaare (6142), Muslim (1669), Al-Tirmidhee (1422