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March 15, 2009

IKRAM- Tradition of Hospitality in UAE/gulf region

Khaleejia said:
Hospitality is the original habit of Arab people and especially for Arabs on the blessed land -UAE and the rest gulf region. Actually this custom is as old as Arabs exist. Hospitality gen comes with mother milk to her child so it is more stronger then anything else. Hospitality it's not only a word for Arabs but tradition that includes rights and duties in attitude to the GUEST. where HE is served for all HIS needs and braking this rules brings shame upon house owner and his tribe/family.
In the past when our ancestors had to suffer from hardship of life at that time when they hardly could find a piece of bread to feed themselves and their families, and in spite of such difficulties they didn't leave this habit. More over it was as a measure of generosity of the tribe&family and even of their manhood. Mohammad Ad-dasm wrote a poem about this:

الضيف ضيف الله و صابه حبيبه اسقبل ضيفك في تهلي و ترحيب
قدم له الميسور وماهان جيبه واحلف ورا الميسور دين المعازيب

...Hospitality, hospitality of Allah and His beloved (Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه و سلم)so receive your guest with greetings and nice words
..introduce and give him everything that in your pocket to please him
..And so Allah will please you. (my approximate interpretation)

And there is something that even not all old people know that there are certain rules for hospitality. which provides rights and obligatory for guest and house owners as well.
and in case of braking these rules both of the sides can call for their rights back. Some of these rules exist till nowadays and the other were reduced or became more certain norms of hospitality at that time.some of these norms like serving(القهوة) coffee as soon as guest enters the house. the coffee-serving have to last till the moment when guest refuse to have more. At the same time cup should not be filled till the edges as it would mean that guest is unwished in the house. Also with coffee dates are served. And its very important that every house must have coffee and it even have to be ready to be served as door in arab houses never closed and guest or guests are welcomed anytime. For this case termo-dallas became very popular nowadays, coffee can be prepared in the morning and keep its hot till the evning. Another example back in time When guest entering village of some tribe and doesn't visit the very first house as he supposed to do but passed it by so in this case this house owner could make a complaint about the impolite guest to the judge and insist to give his rights back.
One of my Iraqi friend many times told us funny stories how his family and all their neighbors several times were fighting for the guests or for somebody who needed help. Each of them wanted to have those people first to serve them with all they had have.
there are much more examples about hospitality than we have mentioned,but it will not be covered in one post. We just should remember and keep what we have heard and what we have learned from our ancestors.


  1. Assalam alaikum

    The overall hospitality will not disappear inshallah, but some of the old customs are dying.

    Especially changes are noticeable in modern Emirati families living in big cities, they go farther and father away from their proud ancestors customs.

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