Visiting and Being Visited
In Britain we find that for all kinds of reasons, many of which have no basis in Islam but are culturally driven, Muslims tend to apply gender restrictions when socialising. Inviting and accepting the invitations of others, particularly to a Walima (the community celebration meal following a wedding), Akika (the community celebration meal following the birth of a child), Iftar (a meal to break the fast in the month of Ramadan) or simply for refreshments or a light meal is highly encouraged.
Performing regular Prayers should helps towards establishing a sense of time-keeping and punctuality in all matters, especially pre-arranged appointments. If you are intending to visit a frined it is only polite to confirm the visit by message or phone beforehand as it is understandable that there may be occasions when the household may not be in a position to comfortably receive guests.
In appreciation of this, and respecting the rights of the householder, continuous knocking at door in an effort to force entry or acknowledgement is rude and after having knocked three times the caller should leave and call another time.
The Messenger of Allah PBUH said "When one of you asks for permission three times and it is not granted, you should stop asking for it and turn back" (Bukhari & Muslim)
Guests should be treated in a kind, friendly and hospitable manner. In return the guest should keep in mind the convenience and ease of the host.
The host is not obliged to continue the elaborate preparation of food after this time. If the period of stay happens to be longer at the hosts request or for some other reason, the guest should expect to be treated no differently from the rest of the family and should offer to contribute towards a prolonged stay and help out where and when necessary.
In view of the variety of cultural backgrounds of Muslims throughout the UK it is probable that such gatherings will reflect this rich diversity in terms of dress, cuisine and language.
While dress and cuisine are to be varied and enjoyed, language can be isolating. It is only polite that you speak in a language common to all present so that everyone feels welcome. This is in keeping with the spirit of Islam.
The Messenger of Allah said, "If you are in a group of three, two should not converse secretly to the exclusion of your companion for that hurts his feelings." (Muslim)
Requirements regarding segregation vary according to the organisers, the event and the venue provided.
If an occasion is held in a family home its size may be such that men and women are in close proximity. In such circumstances Muslim men and women must act responsibly exercising politeness and respect in their interaction with each other.
At larger events such as a wedding or Eid party separate halls may be provided for men and women. This is to allow both parties, particularly the women, the freedom to dress, beautify themselves and enjoy the event in a relaxed atmosphere of privacy. However it may be that this is not possible by the size of the venue or by the choice of the organizers. This should not be seen as a measure of their ‘piety’ or their ‘lack of understanding’ of Islamic requirements as these vary according to custom and tradition and are not strictly ‘Islamic’ requirements to holding events.
Tuesday 25th of April 2017