Extending hospitality and giving respect to guests are a high culture and an important symbol of excellent manners in the Islamic society. Islam has placed great importance on hospitality. Our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would extend hospitality to guests himself and it has been proven that if nothing was available in his blessed home he صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّمwould even borrow money for guests. Sayyiduna Abu Raafi’ رَضِىَ اللّٰـەُ عَـنْهُ has stated: Once when a guest came to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, he صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم sent me to a Jew to borrow some grain, but the Jew refused to lend grain without any pledge. So the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم pledged his armour in order to borrow grain. (Musnad-ul-Bazar, vol. 9, pp. 315, Hadees 3863, summarised)
Two blessed sayings of Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
1. The one who is not hospitable has no goodness in him. (Musnad-e-Ahmad, vol. 6, pp. 142, Hadees 17424)
2. The one who believes in Allah Almighty and the Day of Judgement should respect his guest. (Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 105, Hadees 6018)
Benefits of hospitality
By virtue of extending hospitality, a guest develops love and respect for his host, relationship between them is strengthened, conflicts are resolved, Divine blessings descend and there is blessing in sustenance. Moreover, he (a host) gets opportunities to get rewards by pleasing his guest. Most of all, he (a host) has the privilege to please Allah Almighty and His Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.
Hospitality and our society
Regretfully, the value of hospitality seems to go down in this advanced era. Staying as a guest at someone’s home is considered to be a nuisance and such a guest is entertained coldly. There was a time when guests were considered to be a source of blessing and people would try their best to surpass one another in the matter of extending hospitality to their guests, but nowadays people get rid of their guests by considering them to be a nuisance.
If hospitality is given to a guest, so it is given to the guest who brings worldly benefits to the host. In fact, hospitality is a great privilege and an excellent deed. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said: The one who offers Salah, pays Zakat, performs (Fard) Hajj, keeps fasts of Ramadan and extends hospitality will enter Paradise. (Mu’jam-e-Kabeer, vol. 12, pp. 136, Hadees 12692)
How can hospitality be extended?
‘Correct behaviour’ is the basic condition for hospitality. Feeling of resentment, bombardment of criticisms and useless questions deprive a person of many worldly and Hereafter benefits. Therefore, when a guest arrives, keeping his social status and rank in mind give him a warm welcome from the heart. Arrange foods and drinks as well as accommodation which suit him best according to your financial position. Moreover, keeping Shari’ah boundaries in mind entertain him and have a conversation with him. When he leaves, give him a gift as per your financial position and go with him even to the door. These all are the parts of the manners of hospitality. Surely, according to the great teachings of Islam, if we extend a warm hospitality to our guests from the heart, many social evils including disputes and conflicts among families will completely end themselves. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه