Guide Posts

Guide Posts HOSPITALITY (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) Hospitality is a cardinal injunction of Islam and a virtue lauded by all religions. Islam has placed emphasis upon it. We read in the Quran: “So give to the kinsman his due and to the needy and the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek the favour of Allah, and it is they who will prosper.” (30:39). “And they (the virtuous) feed for the love of Him, the poor, the orphan and the prisoner; assuring them: ‘We feed you to win Allah’s pleasure only. We desire no reward or thanks from you.'” (76:9,10). Never was there a more hospitable and charitable person than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). He used to give away almost everything he received. He never refused requests and was particularly liberal to the poor. He extended hospitality to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A Christian delegation once visited him and he permitted them to conduct their service in the mosque. On another occasion he entertained a non-Muslim guest who wanted milk. He was not satisfied with the milk from one goat. A second goat was milked and still he wanted more. Eventually seven goats were milked for him. The Prophet taught: “There is no good in one who does not entertain hospitality.” “When someone visits you do honour to him.” “Let not any of you neglect the least chance of doing good; if you can do no more at least meet your brother with a smile on your face. When you buy meat and put the cooking pot on the fire, add more water and send a portion of the broth to your neighbour.” Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder GUIDE POSTS 3 of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam established a guest house in Qadian, India, the headquarters of the Movement. He instructed that no effort should be spared in attending to the comfort of guests. During his lifetime he personally supervised the guest house and thence forward the Community has regarded it as a spiritual trust requiring a high standard of management at all times. Since the spread of the Movement all over the world guest houses have been established elsewhere where the same standard of hospitality is maintained. He was very considerate and attentive to all visitors and guests. On one occasion one of his followers came from far to see him. He arrived in the evening and retired early. He was awakened round about midnight by a knock on the door and, on opening it, found the Promised Messiah standing with a glass of milk for him. He felt completely overwhelmed by the gracious and courteous consideration of the Promised Messiah. On another occasion two non-Ahmadis travelled from a far corner of India to see the Promised Messiah. The journey involved several days travelling. After arriving at the guest house in Qadian the attendants told them to unload their luggage from their horse-drawn vehicle. They took offence at the attitude of the attendants and immediately departed from Qadian. On being informed, the Promised Messiah was very displeased and straight away pursued them at a fast pace. He eventually caught up with them and expressed his deep regret over the unfortunate incident. He persuaded them to return. When they arrived back at the guest house he personally assisted in unloading their luggage and saw to all their needs. At the end of their visit he walked two miles with them before bidding them farewell. No greater tribute could be paid to the hospitality of the Promised Messiah than the words of a Government official who once visited Qadian. He wrote: “I have., to thank him for the very kind treatment and thoughtful hospitality extended to me. I noticed, however, that this hospitality was not confined and limited only to particular people; it was general, all alike, extending the same brotherly treatment. . . . The great hospitality of the Mirza Sahab may be judged from the fact that at the end of my stay when I begged leave to terminate my visit, he smilingly agreed, but on condition that I would come again, and stay with him at least for two weeks. I returned from this visit with feeling still alive in me which had induced me to go.” There are limits to hospitality which a guest or visitor should keep in mind. Islam teaches that a guest who has been invited for a meal should take his leave reasonably soon afterwards unless he is pressed to stay or there is an understanding between him and the host. Again, a guest staying for a longer period is entitled to be entertained for three days after which he should depart so as not to cause inconvenience to his host, unless he has been invited to stay longer.