During the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (as), an Ahmadi Muslim, braving the rain and cold, travelled to Qadian to visit the Promised Messiah (as). Arriving in the evening, he ate his meal and slept. Late at night, a knock at the door woke him up. He was astonished to see the Promised Messiah (as), with a lantern in one hand and a glass of warm milk for the guest in the other (FS 8/14/2015).
The scene fills one’s heart with love and prayers for the Promised Messiah (as). And it reminds us of Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) instruction, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously” (Bukhari).
Thus, hospitality should not be taken lightly. In fact, when, upon receiving the first Qur’anic revelation, Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked Hazrat Khadija (ra) if God would humiliate him, she spontaneously reassured him by citing various good qualities of his including, وَتَقْرِي الضَّيْفَ (“and you entertain guests”) (Muslim). As one example, Prophet Muhammad (saw) once hosted a non-Muslim as a guest and ordered goat milk be brought for him, which the man drank to his fill. The man was so overwhelmed with the spirit of hospitality that he converted to Islam the next morning (Muslim). The Qur’an (11:70, 51:27) also makes note of the exemplary hospitality of Hazrat Ibrahim (as).
Commenting on hospitality, the Promised Messiah (as) emphasized the extent to which we should care for our guests, “The heart of a guest is fragile like glass and is broken by the slightest of knocks” (FS 8/31/2012). In this regard, we are reminded of a well-known event when some guests of the Promised Messiah (as) became upset with the way they were treated and left. Upon learning this, the Promised Messiah (as) ran after them on foot and personally requested they return to Qadian (FS 7/22/2005).
But while Islam has laid great stress on hospitality, it has also explained that a guest should also exhibit restraint, as Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “It is not lawful for a guest to stay with his host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position” (Bukhari).
Accordingly, Hazrat Abu Shu’aib (ra) once invited Prophet Muhammad (saw) and four other men for a dinner. When Prophet Muhammad (saw) arrived at the house, a fifth man had joined the group. Despite being Allah’s messenger, Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “You have invited me as one of five guests, but now another man has followed us. If you wish you can admit him, and if you wish you can refuse him.” Hazrat Abu Shu’aib (ra) responded by allowing the extra guest to enter (Bukhari). We see the same example from the life of the Promised Messiah (as). In 1893, while the Promised Messiah (as) was visiting Amritsar, the organizers forgot to serve a meal to the Promised Messiah (as). When the Promised Messiah (as) learned that there was no food left, he reassured the organizers to not worry and, without any complaint, ate some leftover pieces of bread (7/30/2010).
Thus, a spiritually fit Muslim recognizes the rights owed to their guest and, as a guest, the rights owed to their host.
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