By Mona Siddiqui
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Additional resources for Hospitality and Islam: Welcoming in God's Name
They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, ‘Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveller. And whatever you do of good – indeed God knows of it’ (Q2:215). 39 So give the relative his right, as well as the needy and the traveller. That is best for those who desire the countenance of God, and it is they who will be the successful (Q30:38). However, it should also be noted from this that whilst giving to the poor and the traveller is a repeated Qur’ānic command, so are our duties to look after our relatives; in fact relatives, especially if they are poor, must be a priority when giving away wealth.
I have not, however, concentrated on speaking of ‘otherness’ or alterity in this book; many theologians and philosophers in recent decades have done this in great depth. My interest lies more in the way the Muslim intellectual tradition has spoken of hospitality as a concept and as an act. To this I have added my own reflections on Christian hospitality, seeing both similarities and contrasts in structure and language. This book is a humble contribution to the seemingly unexplored discourse on hospitality in the field of Islamic Studies, particularly Sunnī Islam.
35 In her comments on Calvin and the necessity of translating abstract notions into concrete hospitality, Christine Pohl writes: The practice of hospitality forces abstract commitments to loving the neighbor, stranger and enemy into practical and personal expressions of respect and care for actual neighbors, strangers and enemies. The twin moves of universalizing the neighbour and personalizing the stranger are at the core of hospitality. 36 Welcoming often requires material wealth or goods to be given away or to be spent on others.