Hospitality in the Qu'ran

1690 WordsNov 27, 20137 Pages
Ideas on Cultural Hospitality in the Quran The virtues within the Qur’an regarding hospitality and generosity seem to be a product of the landscape of pre- Islamic Arabia. Indeed, the arid environment and tribal configuration of the society required that neighbors help each other, strangers or travelers be given food, and wealth be distributed evenly throughout the clan. The communities that settled along the trade routes of the Arabian Peninsula relied on merchants returning to their community to trade goods. One way to ensure this was to make the merchant feel welcome and become a temporary part of the household. Another way to guarantee their return would be ensuring the merchant survived the harsh climate of the desert, so…show more content…
If a follower gives, generously, and without selfish reasons, then God will provide for all of their needs, just as they have provided for others. The text goes on to express that even speech full of kindness and true appreciation is better than the act of “charity that hurts” (Qur’an 2:263). Again this broad support for kind speech and generous giving is used as a lens through which the stories of hospitality can be viewed. The Qur’an shows the importance of hospitality in two intertwined stories, and while the passages that dictate kindness, generosity and manners number well over twenty, the impact of these two hospitality accounts is memorable and complex. The stories actually involve two patriarchs from Israelite text, who play major roles in Qur’anic teachings. The first is in surah 11:69- 70 and involves Abraham’s interaction with three strangers who turn out to be angels who have come to warn him about punishment of Sodom. They also bring news of Sarah’s future conception and relate the story of their visit with Lot in Sodom. His first reaction to their arrival is to prepare a fatted calf, an action that frames the generosity of hospitality in a way that promotes giving the best of what you have to your guests. This act by Abraham is recounted in surah 51:24-37, The Dispersing, which clarifies that the visitors were “honored guests” and the proper greeting of “Peace”

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