Qasim Choudhary, Missionary, USA
“A guest reveals and tests the righteousness of the host.” (Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra)
With the announcement of this year’s Jalsa Salana UK set for 6 August 2021, at long last, the Jalsa season is once again blossoming into life. Although this Jalsa will be limited in numbers, the opportunity to draw God’s mercy and grace will be innumerable. For this purpose, there is a salient aspect of Jalsa Salana which is seldom caught on camera, yet it remains as the bedrock of Jalsa Salana and an excellent means of attracting God’s blessings. If you want to learn more about the importance of hospitality, here are three interesting facts that you might not know.
1. Hospitality enhances faith
Have you ever wondered what the spiritual benefits of hospitality are? “Why should I put myself in difficulty for another”? “Why should I incur financial loss for the comfort of another?”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states in this regard:
“Hospitality is a means of increasing blessings and mercy from God. It is a means of generating the love of God. It is a means of enhancing faith.” (Friday Sermon, 18 December 1925, Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 9, p. 396)
What’s more is that the Holy Prophetsa has mentioned hospitality as a fundamental Islamic value, saying, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ul-Adab)
Furthermore, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa elucidating on the merits of hospitality said:
“Hospitality is not a trivial practice. It is mentioned in the Quran. A worldly person of good morals is also hospitable; however, when one is hospitable purely for the sake of God and not just to look after one’s personal guests or relatives; rather, most selflessly does it to attain the pleasure of God, certainly, such hospitality earns twice as much merit with God.” (Friday Sermon, 31 August 2012)
2. A trait of the prophets
One should not feel embarrassed or inferior when it comes to serving guests. The most eminent class of humanity i.e. the prophets did not shy away from carrying out this noble practice in the most dignified manner.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said, “Hospitality is amongst the qualities of prophethood.” (Ibid, p. 397)
Observe the distressful and anxious state of the Holy Prophetsa on receiving his first revelation from God Almighty. Upon returning home he sought comfort from his wife, Hazrat Khadijahra, who, amongst other things, said, “Allah will never disgrace you […] you serve your guests generously”. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Bad‘-ul-Wahi)
Similarly, the Holy Quran sheds light on the hospitality of prophet Abrahamas who did not delay in serving unfamiliar guests “a roasted calf.” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.70)
Following the footsteps of his predecessors, the Promised Messiahas would burden himself and go above and beyond to ensure his guests were well looked after.
The following statement beautifully captures the awareness he possessed for the sentiments of his guests. The Promised Messiahas states:
“The heart of a guest is fragile like glass and is broken by the slightest of knocks.” (As quoted by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa in his Friday Sermon, 31 August 2012)
3. God is the Greatest host
The renowned mystic, scholar and poet, Muhiyuddin Ibn Arabirh had a teacher who did not earn any livelihood and preferred to remain unemployed. One day, someone said to him that as he was a pious man and did not earn livelihood, although it was obligatory. The teacher responded, “We are guests of God and it would be an insult to him if we arrange our own food and drink despite being His guests.” The man retorted, “According to hadith, one is only considered a guest for three days”. The teacher replied, “One day for God equates to ten thousand years; rather, fifty thousand years. The day I turn one hundred and fifty thousand years old, then you can criticise me.” (Ibid)
The purpose of this narration is to demonstrate the standing of God as a host and humans as guests. Thus, hospitality is not a trivial matter; rather, it is a noble and lofty endeavour. Accordingly, Hazrat Musleh-e- Maudra states:
“Hospitality contains a glimpse of the attribute of God because God is also a host. When God sees that his servant hosts others out of their limited resources, God the possessor of unlimited resources also hosts them. Thus it is a sublime and magnificent trait that draws the benevolence of God and inspires His mercy.” (Ibid)
Undoubtedly, the Jalsa Salana is a perennial sign of the truth of the Promised Messiahas who prophesied its progression and success.
Though many of us will not be able to attend the Jalsa Salana physically this year, we will surely be glued to our screens in the comfort of our homes absorbing the countless blessings the Jalsa experience will yield. Not only is the Jalsa itself a grand sign; rather, those who attend with a sincere heart blessed.