Etiquettes and Importance of Exchanging Gifts in Islam


A gift is something given to another person willingly and without any payment or expectation for rward.

Islam encourages the giving of gifts. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Give presents to one another, for this would increase your mutual love.”

(Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 594).

Giving gifts is one of the good manners that maintains and strengthens ties of kinship and friendship between the giver and the recipient. It is a Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he recommended Muslims also do this.

One of the best gifts a Muslim can give to his brother is something that can collectively serve as continuous charity (sadaqatul jariyah), such as the Book of Allaah, a prayer mat, a beneficial book or anything of the sort.

The Prophet, (ﷺ), also said, “Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a reward like one who did it.”

(Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 1893)

1️⃣ Accept it wholeheartedly

It is from the greatest acts of humility to accept and appreciate gifts no matter what their value or whether the giver could have afforded better.

The Prophet (ﷺ), the leader of mankind said:

“If I were invited to a meal of a sheep’s foot I would accept, and if I were given a sheep’s foot as a gift, I would accept.”

(Al-Bukhaari, 5178).

2️⃣ Reciprocate.

It was narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) would accept gifts and reciprocate for them.
(Al-Bukhaari, 2585)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever does you a favour, then respond in kind, and if you cannot find anything to give him, then make du’aa’ for him (and keep doing so) until you think that you have done enough.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1672).

3️⃣ Do not reject or belittle the gift.

it was narrated from the Prophet (ﷺ) that it is forbidden to refuse a gift.

He (ﷺ) said:
“Accept invitations, do not refuse gifts and do not beat the Muslims.”

(Ahmad in al-Musnad 1/404).

He (ﷺ) used to say:
“O Muslim women, no woman should look down on a gift given by her neighbour, even if it is the meat from a sheep’s foot.”

(Al-Bukhaari, 2566).

4️⃣ Do not ask for a gift back.

The Prophet, (ﷺ) also forbade taking back gifts given to a person. He said:

“One who gets back his gift is like a dog which vomits and then swallows that vomit.”

“It is not permissible for a man to give a gift then take it back,…”

(Al-Jaami‘ as-Saheeh (2132).)

Umar ibn al-Khattaab (رضي الله عنه) said: “Whoever gives a gift for the sake of ties of kinship, or by way of charity, he should not take it back…”

(Al-Muwatta’, 4/1091)

5️⃣ Reminding others of favours done to them

Allaah (ﷻ) said:

“يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ…”

O ye who believe! Render not vain your almsgiving by reproach and injury,…

(Al-Baqarah, 2:264)

This indicates that the reward for giving the gift can be nullified by reminding your recipients of your favours to them.

The Messenger (ﷺ) said,

“Three persons whom Allaah shall neither speak to on the Day of Resurrection nor look at nor purify, and they shall receive a painful torment: he who reminds (the people) of what he gives away,…”

(Sahih Muslim, 106)

Besides, if you actually gave the gift for the sake of Allaah (ﷻ), there wouldn’t be any inclination to remind people of what you have given to them.

Exchanging gifts strengthens brotherhood between Muslims, so we should strive to gift our brothers to increase our mutual love for ourselves. It shouldn’t matter how big, it’s the sincere thought that should matter.

May Allaah (ﷻ), bring us closer to deeds that bring us closer to Him and take us away from deeds that will take us away from Him.


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