Isn’t the most delightful thing about receiving a gift the knowledge that someone took the time out to make you feel special?
The act of giving gifts is steeped in history. We know that Bilques sent beautiful gifts to Suleiman (RA). The Prophet (SAW) received gifts from many kings and rulers and he too gave gifts. Every nation has its own traditions with regard to gifts. For some it is reserved for specific days and events. For others it is dictated by certain sentiments. In Islam, giving gifts is simple: we don’t need a special day or reason to give. We give because it is the language of love. The noble Prophet (SAW) encouraged giving and receiving gifts and taught us a beautiful manner to do so.
Thanking the gift-giver
Al-Bukhari narrated that ‘A’isha said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to accept gifts and reward people for giving them.” The Messenger (SAW) always reciprocated a gift with a gift but he also said, “Whoever does you a favour, respond in kind, and if you cannot find the means of doing so, then keep praying for him until you think that you have responded in kind.” (Abu Dawood)
In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever has a favour done for him and says ‘JazakAllahu khairan’ (May Allah reward you with good) has done his utmost to thank him.”
For the humblest gift
In another hadith, Rasoolullah (SAW) encouraged us to always accept a gift gracefully even if it may be something of little worth. “O Muslim women! None of you should look down upon the gift sent by her neighbour even if it were the trotters of the sheep.” (Bukhari)
He also said” “I shall accept the invitation even if I was invited to a meal of a sheep’s trotter, and I shall accept the gift even if it were an arm or a trotter of a sheep.” (Bukhari)
And the fairest gift
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also encouraged parents to be fair when presenting gifts to their children. ‘Amir (RA) narrated, “I heard An-Nu’man bin Bashir on the pulpit saying, “My father gave me a gift but ‘Amra bint Rawaha (my mother) said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah’s Apostle as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah’s Apostle and said, ‘I have given a gift to my son, but she ordered me to make you as a witness to it, O Allah’s Apostle!’ Allah’s Apostle asked, ‘Have you given it to every one of your sons?’ He replied in the negative. Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children.’ My father then took back his gift.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet (SAW) looked down upon and warned us about taking back gifts when he said: “One who takes back his gift is like a dog that swallows its vomit.” (Bukhari) Taking back a gift will probably not make you feel better because it means you take back the love and care that was once wrapped in that gift.
The Prophet (SAW) said “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” (Bukhari)
Every gift is your way of expressing what you feel about another person. You never give a gift for nothing and often the reason for giving a gift comes directly from the heart. A gift can help grow deeper love in existing relationships and help build love and respect in relationships where it is lacking. Gifts helps to establish stronger bonds, erase distressful memories and foster emotions of forgiveness. Giving is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
So next Eid or Jumu’ah or even just next Wednesday, take the opportunity to grow closer to Allah: get a meaningful gift and wrap it up with your love, straight from the heart. Do it solely to carry out a great sunnah, then sit back and bask in the beauty of bestowing.
Amina Kara is an educator and mother of three amazing children. Currently rediscovering her passion for writing and fortunate enough to be travelling the world.