Muslim kindness

Hello, a few questions:

How important is the Muslim principle of kindness to strangers? I have seen in movies that portray it as very important, and that Muslims are obligated to give kindness to strangers.

Will Muslims refuse kindness to non-believers if they ask for it?

This question was prompted by a movie I just saw - “Lone Survivor.”

Btw, are Taliban a different kind of Muslim (I mean denominationally) than the Afghans who helped the American in that movie?

If so, is the kindness given to strangers a principle only of some Muslim denominations, or all?

Blessings

Muslims are just like anybody else ( cathilics, christians, jews, hindus, sikhs, buddhists,agnostics, athiests etc ) some are kind and some are not…it has more to do with the individual persons nature than the religion he or she belongs to

The motivating factor for kindness displayed by Muslims may not be the same as it is for Christians. Islam is by nature a religion of submission, whereas Christianity is a religion of love. Kindness rooted in love is different than kindness rooted in submission.

Muslims are just people; Some are kind, and some are jerks. :shrug:

This question was prompted by a movie I just saw - “Lone Survivor.”

Btw, are Taliban a different kind of Muslim (I mean denominationally) than the Afghans who helped the American in that movie?

Islam is a religion and is mostly apolitical. The “Taliban”, by contrast, is political party (not a religion), who’s members happen to be Muslim. It also happens to be a violent organization, that has harmed and repressed mostly other Muslims.

If so, is the kindness given to strangers a principle only of some Muslim denominations, or all?

Blessings

Since Islam has no central authority (no “Pope”), the concept of denominations are tricky. Certainly there are types of Muslims (Sunni, Shia, etc.) but within each type of Muslim there exists various groups of believers. The Taliban are not their own denomination, but their attitudes are not typical of most Muslims.

As far as the concept of hospitality, there are two factors at play. Middle Eastern societies have a far greater emphasis on hospitality than North America and Europe (I have no experience with South Asia so I can’t comment). Like Christianity, Islam compels its believers to show kindness, mercy, etc. It also compels its believers to give 10% of their income to the poor and needy (Zakat).

Beyond those two considerations, I think it would be difficult to make generalizations.

The kindness to strangers or generous hospitality is not so much related to religion or Islam as it is to the local culture among Arabs and Afghans. These bedouin tribes often depended on the hospitality of strangers in their travels by the desert trade routes for buying/selling of whatever they carried. This tradition of generosity towards strangers continues to this day. I had a friend from Pakistan’s NWF province (close to Afghanistan), and I could ask him for anything he owned, and he would give it. On the other hand Muslims a little to the South (like the Punjab) are kind enough but definitely not as generous.

This hospitality you talk about is definitely a cultural thing rather than religious. The Afghan Taliban belong to the same community, but they have a different agenda right now. The Pakistani Taliban however belong to a different community.

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I’m glad you asked that. It’s incredibly important because it’s part of our aqeeda [theology]. Serving humanity is to indirectly serve The Lord of The Universe (i.e. Allah, as we call him). I don’t know much about the Taliban, but from what I do know, their aqeeda is based on fear. When your religion is based on fear, it’s got nothing to do with God. I would be surprised if even a few people among the Taliban are true muslims. They show a poor understanding of what the khilafah is, not to mention how they treat women.

When it comes to doing good, it is not a matter of interpretation or sectarian differences. It’s a vital part of Islam. There are too many scriptures from the Qur’an to list, quite frankly, but I will quote a few for you.

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing” [surah 2:177]

On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (Allah) Most Gracious bestow love” [surah 19:96]. In essence, this is saying that the evidence of a muslim is that he/she shows love; love towards Allah and towards everything else. That love produces sobriety of mind and patience and is absent of arrogance or wanting to be seen of men.

Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” [surah 4:36]

O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do” [surah 4:135]

That’s not really fair. You almost can’t separate out Islam from Arab culture since Islam has utterly dominated Arab culture for so long. I think it’s entirely fair to credit Islam with placing a high emphasis on hospitality to guests, even “infidel” guests.

I’m not a fan of Islam on the whole, but give credit where it is due.

It is not a question of fair - Arab and Afghan Muslims just happen to be more generous than for instance Indian Muslims (where I come from and know quite a few and they are not more generous than Indian Hindus or Indian Christians) or very likely Indonesian Muslims (there are lots of them but I have never heard of them being more generous than other East Asians).

I don’t see the distinction in that. Do we not love God and our neighbors because it was commanded by God? Isn’t that basically the same concept?

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