3 September 2007

Duties of the Host and the Rights of the Guest

Duties of the Host

1. Food & drink: If one is expecting to receive guests, one should endevour to be hospitable and generous yet not excesively. Excessiveness in providing food and drink is NOT from the sunnah.

2. The guests stay: You should try to make your guests stay pleasant and comfortable during the day and night. Informing them of the direction of the Qibla and showing them the way to the bathroom. Don't let the closeness or informality of a guesst give you reason to lapse.

3. Bathroom: You should provide towels for your guests to use after ablution, having a shower or washing the hands before and after meals. Do NOT offer towels that your family members have used. It is also a nice idea to provide the guest with perfume and a mirror. One should make sure the toiletries and bathroom accessories will be clean and sanitised. One should finally make sure and inspect the bathroom in advance to remove anything you wouldn't want the guest to see. (i.e. laundry baskets and such like private/personal items). Put your guest at ease and do not burden him.

4. Sleep: A guest would require rest and quiet sleep. The guest should be spared the noise of children and the house as much as possible. One should remove any intimate clothing from view in that room, and if the guest is a man one should remove all womens clothing and belongings from that room.

5. Meeting guests: Receive them with tact and respect. Dress properly and look your best but do not be excessive in this. A close relationship between you and your guest is not and excuse for negligence or indecency in manner or appearance. Imam Bukhari (رحمة الله عليه) reported in Al Adab Al Mufrad that our forefathers used to looktheir best when visiting one another.

6. Kindness: One should be kind and considerate to ones guests. As a general rule do not ask them to help you with house chores. Imam Al-Shafi'i (رحمة الله عليه) said, "Gentlemen do not emply their guests". So don't expect help or demand it.

Duties of the Guest

1. Timing of the visit: When visiting a close friend or relative one should be mindful of the host's circumstances and other commitments. A visit should be made as brief as possible as everybody has various jobs and duties. The host will also appreciate this more as you will burden him less. A guest is only a guest for three days after that he is not considered a guest anymore.

2. Kindness: Be gentle, and be considerate of your hosts and volunteer your help with their business, house chores and obligations.

3. Do not inspect: When at your host's house do not inspect or examine every corner, especially when you are invited beyond the guest room, lest you see something you are not supposed to notice. If you go beyond your room don't look at what you shouldn't be looking at. Also, do not bother your guest by asking to many questions about the host themselves, their families, or the house itself.

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