God Bless you Brother.... A serbian Muslim told me he liked the way we respected our clergy by kissing there right hand...I mentioned to him they are successors from the apostles plus they consecrate the holy mysteries...
then i asked him about their Hodja's imam's do they respect them he said no ,,not like the way we respect our clergy... he would like to see greater respect for them though....As a former muslim maybe you can fill me in on the respect of the imam's ,,maybe it's different from islamic country to country.....
In Islam it is called Adab, loosely translated as manners, but means the proper way to do things. So there are proper manners with everything in Islam, but they aren't necessarily obligatory.
Most of the Muslims who practice manners with imams and shaykhs are usually those associated with a spiritual path (tariqa - tasawwuf). 90% of the spiritual path is manners.
So we sould kiss the hands of known spiritual masters, and our teachers, and imams.
Some manners we give to our shaykh.
If he walks into a room where we are sitting, we immediately stand up and remain silent. We may kiss his hands when we greet him, but we kiss the hands of all those of the spiritual path when we greet them as well. Some Spiritual masters will sometimes withdraw their hands when we try to kiss them, because they feel they are not worthy to be kissed. There are many books written on manners. The proper manners with shaykh, Imams, the believers, with non-Muslims, books, with everything.
But there are manners for everything.
We don't place books of sacred knowledge on the floor, unless it is stacked in a neat pile, or unless there no other place to put it. We would for example lean the book against the wall not on the floor.
Some spiritual master require that we even show respect to pens, and that we do not get disposable pens, because pens are used to record scared knowledge.
My previous spiritual master use to say, Your inability to regard anything as sacred is your inability to travel the spiritual path.
My spiritual master use to say, you are not respecting me, but what I indicate, ie sacred knowledge, a transmitter of scared knowledge.
But at any rate there isn't a universal rule in Islam per se says that Imams have to have their hands kiss or anything like that.
So I use to kiss the hand of my previous spiritual master. But I did not kiss the hand of my previous imam, because I didn't regard him as a man of knowledge. He was a hypocrite. When I first met, my previous imam, I was impressed with him, but as I begin to study Islamic knowledge with real scholars, such as my spiritual master, and with other scholars. I began to realize how ignorant he was, and his hypocrisy became more and more manifest. That man was evil. The things he use to say, he use to make me so angry. He use to mulipulate Islamic teachings with faulty reasoning. And then would expect me to accept it. He had alot of Islamic information but he had no knowledge. And he has a masters degree in Islamic studies.
Anyway, that was a rant wasn't it.