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An honest question on Islamic behavior regarding guests/hosts

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posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 08:26 PM
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I want this thread to be a sincere and civil discussion on the topic of the behavior in Islamic society/homes when you are a guest or have a guest. For example, if I were a follower of Islam, and I visited a fellow followers home, what would I expect? What would be expected of me in return? Conversely, if I was not a follower, and I visited a followers home, what would I expect? What would be expected of me in return?

As an agnostic myself, I truly am curious to know this (it is not any kind of trap question at all), so I hope I can receive an honest and genuine response. I am depending upon the ATS membership that follow Islam to help me understand these expectations on both sides (visitor and host).

Thanks in advance for your help.


edit on 1/4/2016 by Krakatoa because: corrected the logic




posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 08:33 PM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

Manners vary from culture to culture among Muslim societies just as they do in Christian ones. With a little goodwill it is easy to avoid giving offence. Just don't offer them liquor or pork, or ask them about their beliefs.


edit on 4/1/16 by Astyanax because: of a typo.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 08:36 PM
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I can tell you about my experience as a non member of any faith.
In Egypt they (complete strangers) welcomed me to their homes during Ramadan breakfast at sunset on the roof. I was welcomed back each night, picked up from my hotel and brought to eat the best darn food you can imagine.
The mum and wife of the hotel concierge picked me up to go shopping in the Coptic quarter during Ramadan as I was finding it hard to get anything I needed during the day. They didn't know me from anything and asked for nothing in return.

In Balbek in Lebanon I had the best lunch of my life with complete strangers I met at the temple, they were likely Hezbollah so go figure...

In Turkey I was offered to be be driven from Kusa dasi in the south to Istanbul when I had my vehicle die. I drove my self with a replacement car, but the hotel owner and his wife where I was staying drove like an escort the whole way
up.

That said, I had a very scary moment in Egypt where I felt unsafe and really wasn't sure if Id end up raped and dead in a ditch.
So Id say people are the same the whole world over, there are good people, funny people, hateful people, angry people, caring people. and so on, faith makes little difference, but the muslims do welcome you into their homes more so than in my own countries. Kinda an 'ol school charm they have.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 08:36 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

With all due respect, thanks you for our response. However, your use of the term "them" seems to indicate you are not a follower of Islam. I do understand your response, and welcome it, but I really would like a response from an actual follower. Please do not take offense.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 08:40 PM
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a reply to: zazzafrazz

Thanks for you response as well. It is good to hear first-hand experiences of this type. I understand people are people all over (I wish we all could accept that). I am curious, however, about the religion's influence on the hospitality of guests and as a host. I wonder if it is expected as a follower, or if it is truly an individual decision?



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 08:58 PM
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Depends on the culture. Remember, people from vastly different cultures practice Islam. And they may practice vastly different cultural customs that have nothing to do with Islam.

As for us & the Muslims I've been around: The first thing you'd expect is to leave your shoes either outside of the front door, or inside by the front door. We have shoe racks at each of our houses.

A second thing is don't bring forbidden things in the house. This is actually a common sense rule you should use with anyone though. Who in their right mind walks into someone else's house with something to intentionally anger your host?

A third thing is to expect to hear prayer alarms or something similar every few hours (5 times a day). A lot of Muslims have devices which are like alarm clocks that "sound off" when it's time to pray. Others may have those apps on their phones that do the same thing.

Prayers. Hmmm, this might just depend on the family in question. We might go pray in a different room or in the living room while the guest(s) are in another room. I've literally never thought about it. We just go pray lol.

Food. Obviously don't expect foods to be served that are forbidden to us. Then again, every Muslim is different & some may serve foods for you that are forbidden to them (I haven't seen that, though). You should probably ask the specific people you're hoping to visit if there's anything specific for their case.

Also, some Islamic cultures believe that if a guest covets something you have, it's better to just give it to them. Be careful with this! Your host may be poor but feel it is their duty as a host to "serve" you more than their capability. In other words, you may end up accepting something they actually care a lot about or need. Sometimes it's better to just be a polite friend. Oh and some Islamic cultures will keep feeding you until you literally tell them to stop. LOL And yes, I mean that literally.

Oh, and depending on the individuals & their cultures: women. Most likely, the females of marriageable age will still cover their hair around you, unless you're a woman (but not all Muslim women cover their hair). And depending on the culture, it may be "rude" for a stranger to ummm, "focus too much attention" on the women there.

Two things about this: 1. Duh. What guys want guests to come into the house & flirt with their female family members? And 2. I come from a matriarchal family tree where women of all religions have always been equals. In other words, women here are treated exactly the same as guys in this regard. So the women and men talk together, pray together, eat together, etc. There's no gender separation unless you're some shady looking dude who we suspect is trying to flirt. Then you have to step back because we're still men (see #1).

Sorry if this isn't too informative (and is jumbled). If you have any specific questions, I can probably answer better.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 09:05 PM
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Oh & for the record, the posters above are correct in their responses too. There's no single way Muslims deal with guests, just as there's no single way Christians, Hindus, or any other demographic deals with guests. And there's also the individual's personalities you have to take into account. A jerk will treat guests differently from a charismatic person or a very nice person. So your experiences will also differ depending on the people you're visiting. We're human just like everyone else.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 09:11 PM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant

I respect any culture that leaves its shoes at the door. Love the Japanese for it! This is a good life lesson for those who don't know and are wearing socks with holes in them, know before you go!



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 09:24 PM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant

Thank you very much! This was a very informative and details response. I wasn't aware of the removal of shoes aspect. WE do that in my home as well, mainly during inclement weather to prevent soiling the floor. Is this a tenant of the belief system? If so, is there a reason behind this practice (other than as I've describes the reason we do it ourselves).

As for the praying, I take it that is a private act for believers only? Is it ever allowed for a non-believer to observe someone at prayer? Perhaps to ask questions later?

I'm not trying to be rude, only curious, and concerned about inadvertently offending a hosting family.

Again, thank you.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:06 PM
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originally posted by: Swills
a reply to: enlightenedservant

I respect any culture that leaves its shoes at the door. Love the Japanese for it! This is a good life lesson for those who don't know and are wearing socks with holes in them, know before you go!


Sometimes I don't wear socks at all. However, I make sure to always wear them when I know I'll need to take off my shoes lol. I guess I'm immune to my occasional foot smell, so yeah...


originally posted by: Krakatoa
a reply to: enlightenedservant

Thank you very much! This was a very informative and details response. I wasn't aware of the removal of shoes aspect. WE do that in my home as well, mainly during inclement weather to prevent soiling the floor. Is this a tenant of the belief system? If so, is there a reason behind this practice (other than as I've describes the reason we do it ourselves).

Honestly, I think it's just a respect thing (towards a host), a matter of not wanting to get dirt on the floor, and a cultural thing. Also, cleanliness is a big thing in Islam. On the other hand, there are supposedly Hadith that say taking off the shoes isn't necessary for prayer (here's someone's blog post about it).

At our houses, usually the women will figuratively killl us if we track dirt into the house (and my Mom would make us clean the spots up lol). So that's the biggest reason we do it (my extended families). And mosques do it because we pray on the floor itself (though sometimes also on rugs, prayer rugs, and the such).



As for the praying, I take it that is a private act for believers only? Is it ever allowed for a non-believer to observe someone at prayer? Perhaps to ask questions later?

Yeah, the prayers are the daily prayers we do. No one has to do them except us. As for observing us pray, hmm. I guess that's up to the individual Muslims. Most Muslims that I know would be delighted for non-believers to watch us pray & ask questions afterwards. And every mosque I've been to has procedures to allow non-Muslims to visit & watch services. Just visit a local mosque & ask them directly (seriously, it's usually that easy). But personally, I always feel weird when people watch me pray. Then again, I've prayed in the grass, in cars, on planes (!!!), on the asphalt in a parking lot, and more. So it's weird that I don't mind insects, animals,and random passersby seeing me pray but I feel weird when people intentionally do.

But no matter what, you cannot interrupt us while we're praying. That's taboo, because we're literally blocking off the world to make a spiritual connection w/God. Its also taboo to walk in front of us while we pray. We face towards the Kaaba (in Mecca) when we pray & several times per prayer will place our faces on the floor in a prostrate position. Walking or standing in front of us while we do this would be seen as you trying to make us pray to you. Big taboo.


I'm not trying to be rude, only curious, and concerned about inadvertently offending a hosting family.

No problem. The main thing I'd do then is to ask them directly if there's anything else specific to their household or culture. Other than that, you should be set.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:08 PM
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a reply to: Swills


I respect any culture that leaves its shoes at the door.

I hate it, frankly. In my own country this is often the practice. It’s okay for most people because they don’t wear shoes, just slip-on sandals or flip-flops. But for people who prefer to go about in civilized footwear, it’s a pain. You’re forever untying or re-tying laces, or hopping about on one foot while trying to slip a shoe on to the other.

I’m 6'3" tall and, at my age, getting a bit stiff in the knees. Doesn’t help.

Neither do I enjoy pulling socks and/or shoes on over feet that have been dirtied by walking on someone’s unswept floor.

I will remove my footwear before entering a temple or mosque, or (as is the practice in my country) stepping into the sanctuary in a Christian church. But if you want me to enter your house, buy a rug.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:10 PM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant

Where do they sit with television , sports would be OK i guess and here in Australia we have SBS channels with Arabic news but apart from that are most shows taboo or do they really get into NCIS or game of thrones . There wont be a broad answer i am guessing but a generalisation is fine .



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:18 PM
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originally posted by: hutch622
a reply to: enlightenedservant

Where do they sit with television , sports would be OK i guess and here in Australia we have SBS channels with Arabic news but apart from that are most shows taboo or do they really get into NCIS or game of thrones . There wont be a broad answer i am guessing but a generalisation is fine .

Probably depends on that specific family's culture. My extended families have have been in America for 6-8 generations, so we use chairs, couches, and sofas lol. We have TVs just like everyone else, so the "main" place(s) to watch will probably be a living room, dining room, and/or individual bedrooms.

The "allowable" programs are probably up to the individual as well. Put it like this, my younger brother and I were gamers for a long time (he still is). And we used to be huge Diable 2 and World of Warcraft addicts. But I stopped playing those types of games & paying attention to most of pop culture as I got deeper into Islam. My parents never seemed to care w/movies and music, as long as they didn't hear the vulgarities or sex acts lol.

EDIT: And yeah, sports are allowed lol. As an example, my family are huge FSU fans, and I used to love the early MMA & Pride Fighting events. And Super Bowl parties still happen, though everyone knows I won't be drinking.
edit on 4-1-2016 by enlightenedservant because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:19 PM
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a reply to: hutch622

Imagine this, if you can.

Among Muslims, there are just as many differing viewpoints and lifestyles as there are among Christians or secularists.

I have got drunk with any number of Muslims. Perhaps enlightenedservant will feel such people are not true Muslims, but they themselves would beg to differ. They follow Islamic codes of behaviour, offer zakat, go on the Haj.

I once finished a bottle of wine while the person I was having dinner with, a hardcore Wahabi about to migrate to Saudi Arabia so that his baby son could be ‘brought up as a true Muslim’, drank Pepsi-Cola. He didn’t object to my boozing, but then, I’d drunk with him many times before, when he was still a backslapping rugby-playing public-school boy.

On the other side of the ledger, I have Muslim friends whose wives I have never seen.

Even in the Arab world, Muslims come in all sorts, just as the rest of us do.

Where do they sit with television? Usually where they can see the screen. Some like to watch porn. Some like to watch preachers.

No different from the people where you live.


edit on 4/1/16 by Astyanax because: of a YouTube video I decided not to post.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:29 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax
Just for the record, I don't mind if someone drinks. Just as long as they don't do it in my house
. I've been the designated driver too many times to remember (so many times in fact, that I've come to hate people drinking around me). My younger brother is the opposite. He drinks and doesn't mind people drinking at his apartment, as long as you can handle your alcohol & don't start acting strange.

I think our world has bigger problems to deal with than regulating people's social lives (as long as they do no harm to others). However, I'd be pretty happy if the world rejected alcohol for good too.



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:45 PM
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Thank you everyone for your open and candid responses so far. So, as you have all said, all followers are different, individuals with differing cultural behaviors, I welcome more responses from more of our Muslim members here at ATS to get a wider view of these differences.

It is interesting to hear this, as so much media attention is paid to all followers being more alike in their behavior, as opposed to different. I guess that is part of the subtext of the agenda perhaps.

Again, a sincere thanks!



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 10:54 PM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant




so many times in fact, that I've come to hate people drinking around me


While i can somewhat understand those thoughts , i look at it this way , you still have all your friends . The first friend i lost i had spoken to earlier in the day and said give me a ring if you are drinking and dont want to sleep in the car . At 4.30 AM on a Sunday he was thrown from his rolling car and died . The thing that really hurt was my wife and myself almost changed our plans for that night so that we could get him there and back .



posted on Jan, 5 2016 @ 11:15 PM
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originally posted by: enlightenedservant
a reply to: Astyanax
Just for the record, I don't mind if someone drinks. Just as long as they don't do it in my house
. I've been the designated driver too many times to remember (so many times in fact, that I've come to hate people drinking around me). My younger brother is the opposite. He drinks and doesn't mind people drinking at his apartment, as long as you can handle your alcohol & don't start acting strange.

I think our world has bigger problems to deal with than regulating people's social lives (as long as they do no harm to others). However, I'd be pretty happy if the world rejected alcohol for good too.


Your stance there is a lot like many Christians I know; they don't drink, but they don't mind if others do. Some are different, and don't want anyone to drink (one of my grandmothers was that way). For me, if t bothers someone, I will not drink around them, just as a courtesy. My own Bible reading shows it isn't disallowed, though, except for pastors. They are not supposed to drink, and no one is supposed to drink to excess.

We don't agree on faith issues, but you seem to post very politely from what I have seen, and to consider what you are saying. Quite nice, that!

You are correct on the hospitality issues as well; it's different for different people, regardless of faith. Being Southern, hospitality is a big thing, I know, but that's regional.




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