Permissibility of a Gift

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

1. If I gift someone something that has difference of opinion on its permissibility (such as perfume that contains alcohol), am I held liable for their using it? Do I need to put a “disclaimer” when giving them the gift by reminding/telling them that it contains alcohol and that there is difference of opinion?

2. Related to this, do I need to notify someone every time I think they are doing something incorrect in the shariah?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

1. No, you don’t need to inform somebody of the valid differences of opinion regarding a certain gift item you are giving them. Avoiding differences of opinion is a recommendation which has different levels, and each person’s own religiosity would dictate whether they are ready for that or not. Sound religious practice prioritises more emphasised actions over lesser emphasised actions, so you don’t proceed to exercise caution and avoid differences of opinion when you’re not even praying your sunna prayers, for instance. In the same way, recommended actions cannot be commanded nor made duties with respect to others.

2. Commanding the good and forbidding the wrong has conditions which need to be met before it becomes obligatory upon any given person. The most important of these is that you have sound knowledge of the law (fiqh) on this issue. Further, the duty of commanding the good is generally a communal obligation (fard kifaya), so you aren’t responsible if you personally don’t know when it is applicable or otherwise. But this shouldn’t be a reason to abdicate responsibility altogether, rather you should actively seek out a solid understanding of religion so that you can fulfil this duty soundly and with excellence (ihsan).

(Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha fi al-Hazr wa al-Ibaha; Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat)

Please also see this answers: (1), (2), (3).

And Allah Most High knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.