Giving gifts: Are there any prohibitions in Islam?

Islam for Beginners Contributor
giving gifts
© Julia Sudnitskaya |

In the eyes of Islam, the gift is given to make someone happy and to express one’s good relationship with another. Giving gifts must have the purpose of pleasing Allah. An important part of the mutual heart of believers is the exchange of mutual gifts. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also encouraged us to give gifts. This is because the gift creates love in each other’s hearts and strengthens the relationship.

Gifts and charity in the eyes of Islam

If something is given to a needy person for the sake of Allah, it is not called a gift. Rather, it is called charity. The gift will be when it is intended to express love and to seek Allah’s approval.

If the gift is given with sincerity, its reward is not less than charity. Rather, in some cases, more than that. An obvious difference between the gift and the charity is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to accept gifts and use them himself. But he did not use charity by accepting it. Instead, he would give it to someone in need.

Giving gifts is a very good strategy directed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to increase mutual love, peace, and security in social life and to gain the satisfaction of Allah.

Allah says:

“Those who expend their riches in the way of Allah and thereafter follow not that which they have expended with the laying of an obligation or with hurt, for them shall be their hire with their Lord; and no fear shall come on them, nor shall they grieve.” (Al Quran-2: 262)

There is no prohibition on using gifts. In this regard, Allah says,

“If they are happy to give up some of it for you, you may enjoy it with a clear conscience.” (4: 4)

Giving gifts will strengthen the relationship

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you exchange gifts with one another, then love will increase between you.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, “Exchange gifts with one another. This will remove the narrowness and the jealousy from your heart.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Gifts in exchange for gifts

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has guidelines for giving gifts. If someone gave a gift to the Prophet, he would accept it and try to give him a better gift in return.

Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said,

“It was the rule of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he would accept gifts and in return, he would give some better gifts himself.” (Bukhari)

In another hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever is given a gift, if he has something to exchange for that gift, let him give it. And he who has nothing to give, let him praise him with gratitude and speak kindly to him. If he did so, he is treated as grateful. And whoever does not do so and conceals the good, then he is treated as ungrateful.” (Tirmidhi)

That is if there is nothing to give to the giver, at least saying ‘Jazakallahu Khayran’ (May Allah give you a better reward) will be appreciated.

Not to underestimate any gift

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “O Muslim women! Don’t underestimate even the slightest gift to give to your neighbor. Even if it is a goat’s hoof.” (Bukhari)

So, don’t be ashamed to give small things as gifts and don’t sniff even if someone gives a little. Because it will hurt the giver.

Giving gifts to both rich and poor

It is also considered as a gift to invite and feed the people. In this case, inviting only the rich, and ignoring the poor and helpless is a very bad thing.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Olima (marriage ceremony) in which only the rich are invited and the poor are excluded the food of that Olima will be considered as the worst food.” (Bukhari)

May Allah grant us the grace to follow this important Sunnah of exchanging gifts. Ameen.

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