What Does Our Tradition Say about Giving and Receiving Gifts?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

What does our tradition say about gifts?

Answer

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

It is sunna to give gifts. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Exchange gifts (frequently), and you’ll grow to love one another.” [Bukhari]

It is also sunna to accept gifts. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not accept charity, but he did accept gifts and wouldn’t refuse them. [Bukhari]

Gifts are given as expressions of love, appreciation, maintenance of ties, and reciprocation and are accepted for the first three of the above meanings.

One wouldn’t reject gifts unless there is a negative meaning greater than the good of gift exchange–such as when the gift is a means to harm, or it is excessive or imposes an undue burden on the giver or recipient.

The gift belongs to the one who receives it. It is their right to give it away. However, discretion, tact, and the giver’s feelings should be considered carefully (regarding whether and how the gift is given away).

And Allah alone gives success.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.