What are the manenrs of hosting guests? What are the etiquette of visiting others in islam?
According to our religion guests are treated like a trust coming from Allah. They are valued an esteemed. And we do everything to make them comfortable. We offer them our best food and host them in the nicest part of our houses. We treat them with utmost care, mercy, compassion, generosity, and sensitivity.
How do we host our guests?
We meet our guests at the door with a smiling face and say them “welcome.”
We offer them from the best part of our food and drinks.
We do not raise our voice and shout at someone from our family in front of our guests.
We do not secretly talk to one of our family members in front of our guests.
We do our best not to bore our guests by falling all over them.
By saying goodbye we see our guests off at the door of our house where we welcomed them when they first came to our house.
Our Prophet (peace be upon him) said that:
– When Allah wishes the goodness of one of His servants, He sends him a gift. This gift is a guest. The guest brings his blessings with him, but Allah forgives the sins of the household members because of the nice treatment and respect that they have shown to their guest. Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously. (al-Bukhari)
To what do we pay attention when we go to visit someone?
We do not go to visit someone during the hours of the day reserved for sleeping, having meals, and resting (early in the morning, resting hours in the afternoon, and late at night).
We wear clean and nice clothes for our visit.
When we arrive at the door, we should knock it for once or twice; when we hear the voice saying “who is there?” we should respond by saying our name, e.g. “I am Ahmad” and enter the house and greet the household members after the landlord gives us his permission to enter.
We should meet our guests with a smiling face and talk to them nicely.
We should take a gift, even if it is something small, with us to the person we visit and should not go empty handed.
We should respectfully accept and eat and should not belittle the food and drink offered to us by the landlord.
We should not be curious about the things and people in the other rooms of the house and should not go and peek in them.
We should not stay long in the house we are visiting; we should not make visits too often to bore the landlord, because our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Abu Huraira who had too frequently visited him:
– O Aba Huraira! O Aba Huraira! Come every other day so that your love can be stronger.
If we visit the old and sick people, there is no problem if we increase the number of our visits to them.
We should say goodbye and thank to the host before we leave.
Jabir (May Allah be well-pleased with him) narrated one of his memories as follows:
I came to the Prophet in order to consult him regarding my father’s debt. When I knocked on the door, he asked, “I”
– “Who is that?” I replied:
– He said, “I, I?”
– He repeated it as if he disliked it. (Bukhari, Istidhan, 17: Muslim, Adab, 39)
Luqman Hakim’s beautiful advice to his son:
My Dear Son!
- Watch your heart during prayer in the presence of your Lord,
- Watch your tongue when you are with people,
- Watch your hand when you are eating,
- Watch your eye when you are visiting someone!
Let Us Put The Lamp Off
Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most generous and self-sacrificing of all people. He would offer everything he had to other people and never become afraid of getting poor. Sometimes the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- , however, could not find anything to give. In fact one night a man came and said to the Prophet:
– I am hungry.
Upon this, Allah’s Messenger sent a message to his wife and asked her to prepare something to eat. It was however a time of famine and they had nothing at home left to eat. The respectful wife of Allah’s Messenger sent a message back to the Prophet:
– I swear to Allah we have nothing left in our house other than some water.
Allah’s Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- would never return anybody who was in hardship empty-handed. It was one of his best manners to offer the best of food to his guests and to share whatever he had with the people in need. This time however he had nothing to give. Our beloved Prophet turned to his companions with him:
– “who would like to take this man to his home as a guest?”
One of the Muslims of Medina said:
– “I can host him O Messenger of Allah!” and took the poor man to his home. When they arrived at home, he told to his wife meeting them at the door:
– “this man is going to be our guest tonight. Do we have anything at home to eat?” and his wife replied:
– “we have little food just enough for our children!”
The companion said:
– “Then keep the children a little bit busy. Let them sleep if they ask for supper. When our guest enters the room, I will find an excuse and put the lamp off. Then we will pretend to be eating. Our Lord asks us to spend and make sacrifices from the things that we hold dear. This is a test by which we can demonstrate how good believers we are, because Allah the Almighty knows our situation and is aware of every good deed we do.
Then companion’s wife prepared the meal. The hospitable companion found an excuse, put the lamp off as he had agreed with his wife before, and the joined the dinner. They pretended to be eating with their guest in order to make the little amount of food satisfy his hunger. But the companion together with his wife and children went to deb hungry.
The next morning the companion bade farewell to his guest and went to the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- . When the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- saw the companion, he smiled and said:
– “Allah the Almighty became pleased and contented with the generosity and self-sacrifice that you demonstrated tonight!” (Bukhari, Manaqib al-Ansar, 10). (According to some reports this companion and his wife were Ali and his wife Fatima -May Allah be well-pleased with them-.
Then our Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- recited the following verse:
“And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: We only feed you for Allah’s sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks. Surely we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful day. Therefore Allah win guard them from the evil of that day and cause them to meet with ease and happiness.” (al-Insan, 76: 8–11)