Behavior and Etiquette: Social Engagements and Visiting

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Hospitality, like in any Muslim country, is an integral part of society. Pakistanis love to visit among friends and family. Women especially like to regularly visit other women as this may be their only time to get out of the house and interact with others. The act of hospitality is a cherished social custom that bestows honor, pride, and integrity upon the family. The more guests received the more respect a family is given. Families, even if they are extremely poor, will go out of their way to make their guests feel welcomed by giving gifts or the best food and drink in their home. Food, meat in particular, can be scarce especially throughout rural areas. Therefore, sharing of meat is truly an act of hospitality. Being generous and offering the best the family has elevates the honor of the host. This also fulfills their duty as a faithful Muslim by following the Qur'an's order to give freely and help others. Because hospitality is a very important part of society, an invitation should be readily accepted. 

When visiting a home, men will socialize in a separate room away from the women and children (though young children of both sexes may be permitted to sit with their fathers). Guests will always be offered refreshments (probably tea or soda) and some type of food; and guests should accept their host's hospitality unless a good reason is given (e.g. participating in a religious fast). Though gifts are not expected, it is a good idea to reciprocate hospitality with a small present such as candy or fruit for the children or flowers for the hostess. If one does give flowers they should not be white as white flowers are used for weddings. If a male visitor gives a gift to a female, it is imperative that he says it is from some female family member (e.g. wife or sister). Expensive gifts are not appropriate as presents because the Pakistani family may not be able to reciprocate and this would cause embarrassment. When giving or receiving a gift use two hands and do not open the gift in front of the host after receiving it [10].

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