(1) The Guest should immediately notify the host if he has no intention of eating there for some reason or the other. It should not happen that the host prepares food and then all goes to waste. This will cause much grief to the host who underwent inconvenience and laboured to make hospitable arrangements for the guest.
(2) The guest should inform the host of his whereabouts so that the latter (host) does not have to search for him when meals are ready to be served.
(3) The guest should not accept anyone’s invitation without the consent of the host.
(4) The guest should not interfere in the arrangements and system of the host. However, there is nothing wrong if the host assigns an arrangement or an act to the guest.
(5) The guest should never adopt a demanding attitude or tone. He should tender his wishes with humble request.
(6) If the guest is on a diet, he should inform his host immediately en arrival. Some persons exhibit ill-manners in this regard at the exact time of eating when the food has been served.
(7) The guest should not ask the host for something, for perhaps the host is unable to fulfill the request and is thus put to shame. (Necessities are excluded.)
(8) The guest should leave a little food over so that the host does not think that maybe the food was not enough and the guest has not eaten sufficiently. This will put the host to shame. (This does not mean that the guest should leave some of the food in his plate uneaten. He should clean, the plate with his fingers. This is Sunnat. Some food should, however, be left in the serving utensils.)
(9) Do not accompany an invited person to his host’s residence. The host, merely out of shame may be constrained to ask you to remain for meals while in actual fact he has no intention of doing so. This causes difficulty to the host. Some persons very quickly accept such instant invitations which are made by coincidence. The host may feel belittled if he does not ask you to remain for meals.
(10) Do not inconvenience the host nor put him to shame by making a request at the time of departure. The time for fulfilling your request may be too less and the host will suffer shame by not being able to satisfy the guest.
(11) If several varieties of food are served, the guest should taste a bit of every variety. This is a right which the host has over the guest. However, if the guest is ill or on a prescribed medical diet, then this will be an exception.
(12) Do not initiate an intricate topic while eating. The talk should be light, otherwise the pleasure of the food will be destroyed. While eating, the greater part of one’s attention should be directed to the food.
(13) It is not permissible for a guest to give any food to a beggar or anyone else (i.e. from the food which the host has served). Similarly, if some food is presented in a utensil, it is not permissible to eat from the utensil. Remove the food into own utensil. However, if the form of the food will be destroyed by emptying it in another utensil, then it will be permissible to eat from the utensil in which it was sent, e.g. pudding.
(14) When going to a place for some work, etc. and while there you go to meet an acquaintance, then immediately inform him of your staying arrangements so that he does not gain the impression that you are his guest.
(15) The Ulama should be extremely careful when going to eat at the place of their host. They should not impose on the hospitality of the host by taking along with them a group of friends/students/mureeds.
(1) A student came as a guest to Hadhrat Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh). He had come once before, but had stayed elsewhere. While he intended to stay over here this time, he did not make this known. Thus, food was not sent to him. Afterwards, when he was asked, it transpired that he intended to stay here (at the Khaanqah of Hadhrat). Meals were then sent. Hadhrat advised him as follows:
“When you intend staying, you should make this known yourself. How can one know of your intention if you do not state it?
Since you had stayed elsewhere the previous time, how could you conclude that you would be asked of your intentions?”
(2) Guests have no relationship with futile talk. One guest to another: ‘Meals are ready.’ He had no right to say this.
(3) A guest asked water from the servant of his host in a demanding tone. Hadhrat commented: “Never adopt a commanding tone. This is bad character. Say: ‘Please give me some water.’
(4) Once after Isha, a certain person (who was staying as a guest at the Khaanqah) said: I shall go to a certain place to fetch a blanket.’ It was said to him that the gates of the Madrasah have already closed, and if he calls for the gate to be opened up, he will be disturbing those who are resting. Someone gave him a blanket. Alas! Was he sleeping the whole day? Why did he not make his arrangement earlier.
(5) OUR CONDUCT
Nowadays our conduct is of a new kind. It is considered contrary to culture to ask the guest of the duration of his stay. Some guests make their own food arrangement without informing the host. The host undergoes much difficulty to prepare meals for guests and to make them comfortable, but just when meals are about to be served, they inform the host of their own arrangement. The host will suffer considerable grief by this rebuff. A guest who was here brought along his own food but did not inform me. At the time when meals were about to be served, he opened up his food. I said to him: You should have informed me that you had brought food with you. There is nothing wrong in this. Since you did not inform me and imposed a difficulty on me, take this food and sit elsewhere to eat. Do not sit to eat it here.
Whenn I go on a journey and intend to stay over in Saharanpur for a while, and if my arrival coincides with meal-time, I immediately inform on arrival of my intention that; I have brought along food or I have arranged to eat at a certain place. If I had taken along some food, then on arrival I will immediately hand it over to the host who can decide what to do with it.
(6) Hadhrat said to a mureed:
“If you have to come on a Friday, bring along your food. If you come some other day, then if possible we may entertain you. We have announced to all that whoever comes on a Friday is not our guest. He has come for Salaatul Juma’h. Furthermore, on Fridays numerous people come from nearby towns (for Juma’h). I do not operate a feasting-house here. Eat at home, then set out. However, those who have journeyed from distant places intending to be my guests, they may arrive any day. They are my guests.”
(7) Wherever Maulana Muzaffar Husain (rahmatullah alayh) would go, he would immediately inform: “I shall be your guest for one day or two days.” One day this saint was the guest of Hadhrat Maulana Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh). In the morning Maulana Gangohi asked Maulana (the guest) to have breakfast. Maulana Muzaffar had to go to Rampur that morning, and fearing a delay, he said to Maulana Gangohi:
“If you have anything left over from last night’s food, bring it.”
Maulana Gangohi brought the simple food (which was left over of the previous night) and some stale bread. Maulana Muzaffar Husain took the food along and departed. On reaching Rampur, Maulana Muzaffar Husain spoke highly of Maulana Gangohi ?in the presence of Hakeem Ziyauddin. Hakeem Saheb commented:
“He is a saint.” Maulana Muzaffar Husain said: “I am not praising his sainthood. I am saying that he is a good man. If you don’t understand, then ask.” Hakeem Saheb said: Hadhrat, inform me.” Maulana Muzaffar Husain said: “Look, what a good man he is. He asked me for meals, but on my request, he brought, without any qualms, whatever leftovers he had. For this reason I said that he is a good man.”
(8) Once Hadhrat Maulana Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) was the guest of Hakeem Mueenuddin, the son of Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Ya’qoob (rahmatullah alayh). The host is very informal type of a person. On that particular day there was no food in the house to serve. The host said:
“Today there is no food by us. However, most friends are eagerly inviting you. If you agree, I can accept an invitation.”
Maulana Gangohi replied: “I am your guest and will remain in the condition in which you are.” Thus, they remained without food.