Being a host: Hospitality in Islam
Islamic culture values hospitality as an act of worship and a way to respect one’s guests and make them feel welcome. They treat guests with honor and welcome them with open arms. Therefore, in order to communicate honor, respect, and love to them, we should do the same!
How to be a good host
Make sure that whenever you are approaching a Muslim, that you approach someone of your gender. Conservative Muslims take this seriously. You won’t see a Muslim man with female friends, or a Muslim woman with male friends. In fact, wives usually ask their husbands' permission and approval for any friendship they want to start.
Instead of waiting for an invite from them into their home, invite them into yours first. This is even more important if your Muslim friend is from an immigrant family– they consider Americans as their “hosts” and will wait to be shown hospitality by an American.
Family is a big part of your Muslim friend’s life, so include their family when you want to host! This specifically pertains to when you are both married and might have kids. Don’t just invite your friend, make sure their spouse and children are welcome too.
Your Muslim friend may have Islamic dietary restrictions, so ask them about their preferences. Discussing what food you will prepare will make them feel more relaxed and encouraged to come. If they do follow the traditional Islamic guidelines, then make sure that any food or drink you offer is “halal.” Halal means it is permitted by Allah, and “haram” is used to describe things that are not allowed by Allah. To learn more about your Muslim friend’s diet, check out our blog post, Islam’s rules about what to eat (and what not to eat).
Practical ideas for different situations
Some of the best opportunities for hosting your Muslim friends are around holidays, like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even Easter. Including your Muslim friend in events that aren’t a normal part of Islamic culture ensures that they never feel left out, especially if they live alone. While community is a big part of a Muslim’s life, single Muslims or college-aged Muslims might feel isolated, especially if they moved to the U.S. alone.
Sharing a meal with someone has always been a symbol of welcoming them into our lives. Jesus is the best example of the generous welcoming host! Make a habit of sharing a meal with your Muslim friends, even if it is cheese sandwiches! This can include meals during the work day, family meals, or catching up with them over lunch on the weekend.
Do you and your Muslim friend like the same kinds of movies or games? Why not have a weekly or bi-weekly game or movie night! Anything can be used to connect with someone and show them the love of Christ.
Prayer for being a good host
Dear Jesus, thank you for the resources you have given me so that I can show hospitality to my Muslim friend. Please open my eyes to every opportunity I have to love them and invite them into my life. I want to be a good friend to them, but more importantly, I want them to know you as their close Friend and Savior. Amen.