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In Jumu'ah prayer today, the imam said something along the lines of:

One is obliged to look after their guests for 3 days, and it's morally discouraged for a guest to stay for more than 3 days.

What evidence is there to support that it's morally discouraged for a guest to stay more than 3 days at someone's house?

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The most famous evidence for this is:

My ears heard and my eyes saw the Prophet (ﷺ) when he spoke, "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his neighbor generously, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should serve his guest generously by giving him his reward." It was asked. "What is his reward, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)?" He said, "(To be entertained generously) for a day and a night with high quality of food and the guest has the right to be entertained for three days (with ordinary food) and if he stays longer, what he will be provided with will be regarded as Sadaqa (a charitable gift). And anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet (i.e. abstain from all kinds of dirty and evil talks).
(Sahih al-Bukhari, sahih Muslim, sunan abi Dawod)

And a second version in sahih al-Bukhari with a commentary on a narration of imam Malik:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously. The guest's reward is: To provide him with a superior type of food for a night and a day and a guest is to be entertained with food for three days, and whatever is offered beyond that, is regarded as something given in charity. And it is not lawful for a guest to stay with his host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position."

Narrated Malik:
Similarly as above (156) adding, "Who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet." (i.e. abstain from dirty and evil talk, and should think before uttering).

I think that the correct reference is not hadith #156 in that subsection (on sunnah.com) but the hadith -or the first part of the quote- before al-Bukhari's comment or this one which is indeed compiled in al-Muwatta'.

For further information read (in Arabic only) fatwa islamqa #128791.

See also:

(The period of the entertainment of a guest is three days, and utmost kindness and courtesy is for a day and a night. =" It is not permissible for a Muslim to stay with, his brother until he makes him sinful. They said: Messenger of Allah, how he would make him sinful? He (the Holy Prophet) said: He stays with him (so long) that nothing is left with him to entertain him. (sahih Muslim)

Please comment if you are looking on further information/elaboration

  • In what way do you entertain your guest, I'm sure there's loads of actions that could entertain a guest for more than 3 days? – Armaan Jan 19 '18 at 21:35
  • @Armaan the major part of the accommodation which is widely discussed in ahadith seems to be the food and the nice talking. – Medi1Saif Jan 19 '18 at 22:12
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Technically, Islamic texts do not discourage staying more than three days. The texts that speak on this just say that 3 days is something the guest is entitled to and more than that is charity on part of the host (i.e, the guest is not entitled to any more). A guest can stay longer than three days and the host may even encourage it.

Islamic texts DO discourage overstaying your welcome though.

There's a few references which say that staying for a lengthy time could be 'harmful' to the host.

  1. Sahih Muslim: Abu Shuriah al-Khuza'i reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: The period of the entertainment of a guest is three days, and utmost kindness and courtesy is for a day and a night. It is not permissible for a Muslim to stay with, his brother until he makes him sinful. They said: Messenger of Allah, how he would make him sinful? He (the Prophet) said: "He stays with him (so long) that nothing is left with him to entertain him".
  2. Bukhari (6135): Narrated Abu Shuraih Al-Ka`bi: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously. The guest's reward is: To provide him with a superior type of food for a night and a day and a guest is to be entertained with food for three days, and whatever is offered beyond that, is regarded as something given in charity. And it is not lawful for a guest to stay with his host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position."
  3. More in Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Muwatta Malik, Ibn Majah.

Could more than three days be the limit for some guests (both financially and psychologically)? Yes. Basically, it depends on the host.

(Note: If in doubt, then just stick to the three days).

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