The Merit of Honouring the Guest
By Al-Imam An-Nawawi
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger
Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala, says:
"Has the story reached you, of the honoured guests [three angels; Jibril (Gabriel) along with another two] of Ibrahim (Abraham)? When they came in to him and said: 'Salam (peace be upon you),' He answered: 'Salam (peace be upon you),' and said: 'You are a people unknown to me.' Then he turned to his household, and brought out a roasted calf [as the property of Ibrahim (Abraham) was mainly cows]. And placed it before them, (saying): 'Will you not eat?"' [Al-Dhariyat, 51: 24-27]
"And his (Lut's) people came rushing towards him, and since aforetime they used to commit crimes (sodomy), he said: 'O my people! Here are my daughters (i.e., the women of the nation); they are purer for you (if you marry them lawfully). So fear Allah and disgrace me not with regard to my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man? "' [Hud, 11:78]
706. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good relation with kins; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent (i.e avoid backbiting).” [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: To honour a guest means to welcome him cheerfully, entertain him happily according to our capacity and have full regard of his comfort and rest. As for our relatives, we are supposed to treat them nicely and to do our duty towards them.
Reserve in speech implies that we should avoid senseless and irrelevant talk. We are apt to pass most of our time in the remembrance of Allah, seeking His forgiveness and saying what is good to everybody. Or we had better keep silent. These three qualities are possessed by those people who believe in Allah and the Day of Reckoning.
In other words, those who lack these qualities reflect a weak and imperfect Faith.
707. Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin 'Amr Al-Khuza'ie (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should accommodate his guest according to his right." He was asked: "What is his right, O Messenger of Allah?" He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) replied: "It is (to accommodate him) for a day and a night, and hospitality extends for three days, and what is beyond that is charity." [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
In Sahih Muslim it is added: Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "It is not permissible for a Muslim to stay so long with his brother till he makes him sinful." He was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, how can he make him sinful?" He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, "He prolongs his stay with him till nothing is left with the host to entertain him (guest)." [Recorded by Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith throws light on something more of the etiquette and scope of hospitality. A guest ought to be given the best entertainment on the first day and night. For the next two days, hospitality should be moderate. On the fourth day, the guest should leave for his destination. Yet if he chooses to stay, hospitality will be in the sense of charity.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Excerpted from “The Book Of Honouring The Guest, Chapter # 94, Riyad-Us-Saliheen”, Compiled by Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi]