Amir Duric featured on CNY Inspirations: The Meaning of Hospitality
This feature is coordinated by The Post-Standard/and InterFaith Works of CNY. Follow this theme and author posted Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
“Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge.” (Qur’an, 30:22)
In the spirit of the holiday season, we are reminded about the deeper meaning of hospitality and servant leadership as we remember those who exemplified those values in their lives. They treated others, particularly the underserved and those in need, with respect and dignity. For example, God says in the Qur’an, “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames… .” (Qur’an, 49:11)
This and many other divine messages inspire us to treat others equally and with respect regardless of their background and status, thus discovering deeper meanings of hospitality. As God speaks to us through divine messages, He suggests people could migrate from another place due to oppression on the earth in the way the prophets Adam, Abraham, Lot, Jonah, Jacob, Moses and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon all of them) did.
That said, thousands of those from Central America who are camping near the U.S. border and dreaming about a better life are a test for our hospitality. Being the children of Adam, it is expected from us to open our hands and treat them with respect and dignity as our predecessors exemplified. The prophets I mentioned continually repudiated temporal power in favor of love in relationship. From their examples, we understand that the greatest must be servants of the rest. Thus, kudos goes to those who gathered in San Diego in early December to welcome our neighbors and exemplify a deeper meaning of hospitality.
Amir Duric is Muslim Chaplain at Syracuse University and an Imam at Islamic Community of North American Bosniaks. In these roles, he develops various programs supporting and serving students, faculty, staff and the wider community.