Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Assalamu alaykum
My daughter goes to a local school and during the holiday season — few days before the actual Christmas date, because of the custom, students give gifts to their teachers. Is is allowed for us to do that?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. There would be great merit in giving gifts to teachers, neighbours, and others—even at the end of the year. Make it an expression of gratitude, and maintaining good relationships.
It is, in fact, a sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) to give gifts, and to express gratitude to those who do good to us.
He said (peace and blessings be upon him), “Give gifts, and you will grow in love for one another.” [Bukhari]
And he cautioned, “Whoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah.” [Ahmad, and Bukhari in Adab al-Mufrad; rigorously authentic]
As for the concern of “celebrating” the end of the year: the aspect of giving gifts is a good social custom.
The guidance of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) teaches beautiful balance. This balance is manifest in how we deal with social customs of non-Muslims: only those customs that relate to disbelief, moral corruption, or sin are prohibited. As for good customs and practices, these are upheld—with sincere intentions and in accordance with Prophetic teachings.
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).