Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Some female co-workers and female family friends always give my husband gifts like shirts, trousers, perfume, etc. Is this even permissible in Islam? And am I allowed to be angry about this? I don’t trust the intentions of some of them.
Thank you for your question sister. I understand that it can be painful for you to see your husband bring gifts from women. Try to look at it from all perspectives.
Gift-Giving at Work
There is no absolute rule about giving gifts, especially in the world of work. In the workplace, gifts can be given between non-mahram co-workers for a multitude of reasons, such as thanking one for helping in the job, for covering for one at work, or even as an apology for being offensive. Gifts can be small and subtle or grandiose and overkill. Usually, there is an unsaid rule that gifts are expected at work, but purchased as a group for a co-worker, or for the boss, or so on. The scenarios are endless. Sometimes, not participating in these activities can cause problems.
In such circumstances, I believe that you should patiently allow your husband to give and take according to the custom of the workplace. (Feel free to confiscate the gift from him with his permission and re-gift it to your brother, though!) Your husband should make sure that he keeps the gift-giving or receiving professional and never personal.
Other than necessary circumstances, it is not appropriate for non-mahram ladies to be giving gifts to their husbands. They may be flirting or intending worse. You can’t control their behavior but their reactions should suffice to fix the problem. He should not encourage their behavior by leading them on or making exchanging gifts a habit.
Please see Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s answer:
Is a gift from the opposite sex (non-Mahram) halal to accept and use?
The most important thing here is communication. Tell your husband that it bothers you, without getting angry. Ask him to keep his behavior in line because it will make you happy. If he really wants to stop receiving such gifts, he should tell the women that he gives them directly to his wife and never uses the items. His disinterest will eventually turn them off.
Always proceed with patience, caution, and wisdom. May Allah give you both the best of both worlds. Kindly check these links for further information:
Mixed Gatherings: A Detailed Response Regarding Gender Interaction
A Reader On Gender Interaction
What Are the Limits of Gender Interaction in Business Life?
What Does Our Tradition Say about Giving and Receiving Gifts?
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.