As a person, you should always be friendly and welcoming to guests and visitors. Islam is a religion of equality, love and universal brotherhood and encourages Muslims to act according to these qualities. It teaches us to live together as good persons and to maintain oneness and friendly relations with one another. There are a number of ways to express these good sentiments and to manifest such relations and“hospitality” is one of them.
For one to manifest hospitality, he should be capable of entertainment. Hospitality enjoys a great importance among the social manners enjoined by Islam, and Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) as well as various Imams have laid great emphasis on it. It is asserted that among the numerous moral instructions given by the Prophet (P.B.U.H) to his beloved daughter Fatima, one clearly stated that “It is necessary for a person who believes in Allah and the Last Day to keep his guests dear to his heart.”
Verily our religious leaders have taken special interest in showing us the ways to be hospital to our fellow human beings and entertaining them. There were times when they went hungry themselves but still entertained their guests properly and ensured that they stayed happy with no inconvenience caused to them.
History has it that Imam Hasan had to set up a separate guest house because so many people often visited him. This particular Imam was hospitable to all his guests by affording due respect and entertainment irrespective of their religious backgrounds. In turn, his good treatment made many Christians and Jews to embrace Islam.
Coming to entertainment proper, Islam has recommended it on certain occasions. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) is reported to have said that feast should be given on five occasions; marriage, childbirth, circumcision, building a new house, and return from Hajj. Amongst these, a feast for marriage, childbirth, and building a new home has been specially stressed upon.
Entertainment carries a whole lot of social benefits and it simply strives to maintain humanity. The warm receiving of guests, having meals in their company, and exchanging views with them on different topics, provides an occasion for understanding one another. It also becomes a means of increasing mutual knowledge, love, and friendship.
Moreover, when a well-to-do person invites his not very well-off friends to a feast, he ought to render them material assistance in a very handsome manner, which confirms their faith in human equality.
Through the teachings received from our righteous predecessors, it is understood that honoring a guest carries a special place in Islam. Welcoming a guest determines the faith of a true believer. We should try to follow the footsteps of our religious leaders and toil hard to implement them even if it means overlooking our personal wants.
Fortunately, Muslims around the world are striving to offer best hospitality to their guests and we hope Allah helps us to make that a continuous practice. Entertaining a guest is very important. It goes to show the respect and concern the host has towards his guest and most importantly, towards Allah.
So for those of us who really don’t have an interest in entertaining our guests, the ball is now in our court to get the goal straight because hospitality in Islam is “a triangle that links Allah, the guest and the host”.