Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 09 Mar 2020


Is the advice of Prophet Muhammad of being generous to guests, applicable only to the Human Incarnation or to any ordinary guest?

Shri Anil asked: Padanamaskaram Swami! This question is based on the following incident from the Quran:

“A woman came to the Prophet ‎ and complained to him about her husband that he invites too many guests and that she has become weary from preparing food for them and hosting them. The Prophet ‎ did not answer and the woman left. Sometime later, the Prophet ‎ called the woman’s husband and said, ‘I am your guest today.’ The man was so happy that he went home and told his wife ‘The Prophet of Allāh ‎ is our guest today.’ His wife was ecstatic and spent time and effort and used every bit of food to prepare for the arrival of the Most Honored Guest, the Prophet ‎. After the amazing joy of hosting the Prophet ‎ generously, the Prophet‎ told the man, ‘Tell your wife to watch the door from which I leave your home.’ So, the wife watched the door from which the Prophet ‎ left her home and saw all kinds of creatures, scorpions and other harmful creatures leaving the house behind the Prophet ‎, upon which she fainted due to the immense manifestation and the greatness of what she had witnessed. When she came to the Prophet ‎, he said to her, ‘This is what happens when the guest leaves your home; with him, all kinds of harm, trials and tribulations and harmful creatures depart from your home, and that is the wisdom behind being generous to one’s guest and becoming weary doing so.’ The house in which guests are frequent and many is a house which Allāh loves. There is nothing better than the ‘open house’ for the young and the old. In such a house, descends Allāh’s Mercy and Blessings from heaven. The Prophet ‎ said, ‘If Allāh wants good for people, He sends them a gift.’ They asked ‘What kind of gift, O Prophet of Allāh?’ He said, ‘The guest comes with his own provision, and leaves with the sins of the people of the house.’ So my beloved, know that the guest is the way to Paradise. The Prophet ‎ said, “Whoever believes in Allāh and the Last Day, must be generous with his guest.”

Is this advice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, applicable only when the guest is a Human Incarnation like the Prophet Himself or does it also apply to any ordinary guest? Please grace us with Your answer to it.

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! The above advice of being generous to guests applies to all guests who are good people and devotees. This point was stressed by Prophet Muhammad, who was a Human Incarnation. Even the Hindu scripture says that the guest must be treated as God (Atithi devo bhava).