FRIDAY, MAY 18: Wow, can you believe it? We are on the 19th day of May already with Bermuda Day literally days away.

Many in Bermuda consider Bermuda Day as the first day of summer; the first day of the year to take a swim, take a boat ride — yes fun and sun is here.

We look forward to our friends and family from abroad visiting us and we are ready to offer them our world-renowned super quality hospitality.

How befitting too is that the theme of our Heritage Month 2012 is ‘Celebrating Hospitality Through the Ages’. Befitting because with the advent of receiving our visitors we are reminded of our Bermuda hospitality and how it has sustained us through time.

But we would be foolish to kid ourselves and say that our Bermuda hospitality has remained the same through the ages, because quite frankly our hospitality, without a doubt has declined drastically here of late.

Let us examine what hospitality is.

First of all hospitality is the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way; with the synonyms of the word hospitality being cordiality, geniality, friendliness.

Indeed hospitality requires concerted energy as it is no small feat to achieve.

I wonder why our hospitality has declined — could it be that people have not much to be hospitable about — especially when one is struggling to keep the lights on and the bare staples of food on the table.

Goodness me, we can’t even celebrate our national dishes of codfish and potatoes or macaroni and cheese like we would like to — have you checked out the cost of codfish, potatoes and cheese and don’t even talk about peanut butter.

How can we be hospitable with so much on our minds?

When life was simple and fair, when hope that we would continue to get better and better was being offered, it came out in the demeanour of the people — yes we felt light and happy; today however, we feel heavy and burden.

Hospitality is not so much on our minds.  However, the powers that be keep telling us we have and never had anything to be burdened about. How true is this?

Could it be a myth that we have far more to worry about than ever before?  I’ve spoken to many people who literally feel despair regarding their day to day living circumstances.

Islam tells us despair is a sin and therefore we must avoid it as much as possible – we have to know where to look to be uplifted and hopeful.

For me it is to my Lord. My Lord promises me hope, but in order to achieve the results of hope, I must first believe and have faith in Him, and follow His guidance.

Hope comes with effort, and we must put energy into making Bermuda a more hopeful and hospitable place — we must get back to our roots.

Bermuda’s culture is steeped in hope. Our forefathers had the vision and insight to be hopeful; otherwise they would not have survived.

Imagine this island 300 years ago — one would have never dreamed it would one day be the forerunner of international business.

Yes, hope and working towards that hope is powerful. But it must be a hope that benefits all the people.

There are many forms that this hospitality can take. We as people who believe in Allah, should show kindness to all persons of whom we have dealings with, especially our neighbours and guests. 

Hospitality is multifaceted. It can take many forms; one is the form of help in times of need.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: He is not a believer who lets himself be satiated while his neighbour goes hungry. [ Mustadrak al-Hâkim ].

So you see, hospitality is not just for the visitor, but for your neighbour and kin. However, hospitality to the guest is imperative. Islam teaches us to be generous and hospitable to those who come to us as guests.

Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbour. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest. [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim ]

We must look forward to a bright and beautiful future for Bermuda, but in order to achieve this bright new dawning, we must look into our culture to adapt and enforce it into our future.

I believe our past was shaped by the desire for all that is good, just and worthy with justice and opportunity for all being at the forefront.

We together will get over this feeling of hopelessness, so as we celebrate Bermuda Day this coming Thursday, as we line the streets together with our friends, family and visitors to celebrate the runners, the colourful floats, our Gombeys and majorettes let us remember to embrace our heritage of hospitality towards everyone, visitors and kin alike not just for Bermuda Day but everyday throughout the ages.

Happy Bermuda Day Bermuda.