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5 Reasons Muslims Should Give and Take Gifts

by Farida Haji

There is great importance in exchanging gifts in Islam and our society. Different cultures practice various ways of gift giving. It is a universal fact that offering and accepting gifts develop stronger bonds among people.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ‏: ‏ تَهَادُوا تَحَابُّوا‏.‏

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari)

Hijabi muslim woman Strengthen Ties and Kinship through hugs and smile

Difference Between Charity and Gifts

Exchanging gifts does not equal charity. Charity is given to the needy and is not attached to a particular person. It is given with the sole intention of seeking Allah’s happiness. On the other hand, a gift is not necessarily given to the poor or needy; but the intent is to honor the recipient.

Charity may not be celebrated in public but gifts may be exchanged with great pomp and happiness.

5 Reasons Why You Should Exchange Gifts

1. Follow a Sunnah

Exchanging gifts is a sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. There are various hadiths that shed light on the significance of exchanging gifts in Islam. To the extent of what kind of gifts should be exchanged is known from the Prophet’s ﷺ life.

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان لا يرد الطيب” ‏(‏‏(‏رواه البخاري‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) never refused a gift of perfume. (Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari).

Giving the gift of ittar bottles or perfume

2. Seek Allah’s Blessings

Our life, rizq, and mere existence are gifts from Allah. Your intention is of utmost importance. When we give or accept gifts we indirectly seek Allah’s pleasure and His blessings. Give a gift with the intention of extending your warmth and affection, not as charity or bribe, wishing for a favor in return. 

Furthermore, never refuse a gift, not only is it considered impolite but it may hurt the other person, and Islam teaches us to honor others.

3. Honoring Yourself and Others

holding a red heart in the palms to honor yourself and others

There is no fixed time, type, or amount when you think of giving a gift to your beloved family member or friend. The Hadith below states-

‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏: ‏ ‏ “‏ يا نساء المسلمات لا تحقرن جارة لجارتها ولو فرسن شاة‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏متفق عليه‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “O Muslim women! No one of you should consider insignificant (a gift) to give to her neighbour even if it is (a gift of) the trotters of a sheep”. [Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

A gift can never be inadequate. When genuine intent is involved, and the purpose is strengthening bonds of affection among individuals, something as small as a handkerchief is also sufficient.    

4. Strengthen Ties and Kinship

a happy daughter and father giving a gift to her mother

As we grow older, we often reminisce about celebrations and relatives that may be attached to something they gifted us. We value gifts and the people who make an effort to share their love with us. 

Exchanging gifts help overcome ill feelings and forge stronger bonds among family and friends. 

5. Show gratitude

Our life is an amalgamation of memories. The ability to recollect and rejoice memories is a gift from Allah to humankind. Thus we should be extremely grateful to Him for bestowing us with the powerful gift of memory. 

As we show our gratitude to Him, we should also be mindful to appreciate those who present us with gifts. On the other hand, if you present someone with a gift, never ask them to return it,

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ الْعَائِدُ فِي هِبَتِهِ كَالْعَائِدِ فِي قَيْئِهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The one who takes back his gift is like the one who goes back to his vomit.” [Narrated by Imam Muslim].

The Greatest Gift

the woman offering dua in a mosque

If you are unable to give a material gift due to uncertain circumstances, distance or some unknown reason, the best you can do for someone is make dua for them. Wish them well and that dear brothers and sisters is indeed the greatest way to honor yourself and others!