Adapted from an article written in Malay by Ustaz Mustazah Bahari.
The practice of visiting houses is a tradition that has basis in Islamic law. Although no specific evidence exists in the Al-Quran or hadith that advocates visiting houses during Hari Raya, it is a practice of the Prophet s.a.w. that is generally encouraged.
The Prophet s.a.w. is reported to have said: “He who is desirous that his means of sustenance should be expanded for him, his good deeds be remembered, and his life be blessed, should join the ties of relationship.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Here are some ways that you can be a good guest when visiting houses this Eid:
When visiting others, we should remember the purpose or objective of visiting, which is to find out how others are doing and to reconcile ties. Although it is not wrong to watch special TV programs in celebration of Hari Raya, priority should be given to having conversations and spending time with family members.
Take the opportunity to receive useful advice from elders or share useful life experience with the younger generation. Perhaps you could even organise a campaign to shut off all mobile phones for 30 minutes to an hour this Raya ala Earth Hour.
Proper etiquette should be observed while visiting others. Avoid talking in loud tones and dirtying public areas such as corridors.
Also avoid visiting for long hours until late at night. This can make things uncomfortable for hosts who wish to rest.
This year, the World Cup will commence during the Hari Raya period. There is a possibility that hosts will invite their guests to watch the live match until the wee hours of the morning. But if not, guests who wish to stay and watch the match until it ends should ask for permission from their hosts in advance. Do not assume that your hosts will surely not prevent you from staying. Also, please refer back to point number 2 above.
Allah s.w.t. said in Surah Al-Taghabun verse 16, “So fear Allah as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allah]; it is better for yourselves. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul - it is those who will be the successful.”
While it is true that there is no specific scriptural evidence for giving out Raya money, the practice is one that encourages us to be more giving towards one another. However, it is not wrong if one cannot afford to do so.
That said, children should be taught so that they do not visit people’s houses for the sole purpose of collecting green packets. This will ensure that they do not develop an expectation for money and ask for it, as well as compare between houses during their visit.
For those who disagree with the practice of giving out Hari Raya money, do not put down others who do so. Also do not refuse when others give green packets to your children simply because the practice of giving out Raya money has no evidence in Islam. Accept the money based on the fact that there is no wrong in the giving of gifts in general.
With that, enjoy your Raya and spread the happiness of this joyous month wherever you go!