Receiving and Giving Gifts in Islam

Gift-giving is one of the good manners that maintains and strengthens relations between the giver and the recipient. It is one of the acts that Prophet Muhammad SAW (may Allah exalt his mention) recommended Muslims to do. Al-Bukhari may Allah have mercy upon him narrated that ‘Aa’ishah may Allah be pleased with her said: “The Messenger of Allah SAW used to accept gifts and reward people for giving them.”

The phrase: “Reward people for giving them,” means giving the giver (at a later time) something of equal value at least in return.

This Hadeeth (narration) indicates that accepting gifts and giving something of equal value (or more) to the giver is the way of the Prophet SAW.

The Prophet SAW enjoined responding in kind to favors, as he said in an authentic narration: “Whoever does you a favor, respond in kind, and if you cannot find the means of doing so, then keep praying for him until you think that you have responded in kind.” [Abu Dawood]

“Whoever does you a favor,” means, whoever treats you kindly in word or deed or by gifting you.

“Respond in kind,” means to treat him kindly just as he has treated you kindly.

“If you cannot find the means of doing so” means if you do not have the money.

“Until you think that you have responded in kind” means, repeatedly supplicate for him until you think that you have rewarded him his due.

One of the Du’aa’ forms that one can say is ‘Jazaka Allahu khayran’ (may Allah reward you with good). At-Tirmithi may Allah have mercy upon him narrated that Usamah Ibn Zayd may Allah be pleased with him said: The Messenger of Allah SAW said: “Whoever has a favor done for him and says ‘Jazak Allahu khayran’ has done his utmost to thank him.” [At-Tirmithi]

“Done his utmost to thank him,” means that he has done his utmost to express his gratitude because he has acknowledged his shortcomings and that he is unable to reward and thank him enough, so he refers the matter to Allah, to reward him in the best manner. It is said that: “If you are unable to give him back in kind, then speak at length thanking him and supplicating for him.” [Tuhfat Al-Ahwathi]

The Permanent Committee (a supreme Islamic judicial authority in Saudi Arabia, was asked a similar question) and replied as follows:

“There is nothing wrong with accepting it (an amount of money as a gift), without you (the recipient) longing for that, and you can respond in kind if you are able to with an appropriate gift, or you can supplicate for him because the Prophet SAW said: “Whoever does you a favor, respond in kind … (the above-mentioned Hadeeth).” [Fatawa Al-Lajnah Al-Daa’imah]

Difference between charity and gift-giving
Charity is given to the poor and the needy to meet their needs and is done with the intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah. Its intention is not limited to a specific person; rather it is given to any poor or needy one.

On the other hand, a gift is not necessarily given to a poor person, rather it may be given to rich or poor; the intention is to show friendship and to honor the recipient.

Both of them – charity and gift-giving – are righteous deeds for which a person will be rewarded (and please his Lord), but which is better?

Ibn Taymiyah may Allah have mercy upon him stated that Sadaqah (charity) is that which is given for the sake of Allah as an act of worship, without intending to give it to a specific person and without seeking anything in return, rather it is given for charitable causes, such as to the needy. A gift is given with the intention of honoring a specific person, either because the recipient is your friend whom you love, or because you want something in return.

Hence, the Prophet SAW used to accept gifts and reward people for them, so that no one could remind him of their favors, but he did not accept the “refuse” of people that they gave to purify themselves of sins, namely charity. He did not accept charity for this and other reasons.

Once this is understood, then charity is better, but there is a sense in which a gift is better than charity, such as giving a gift to the Messenger of Allah SAW during his lifetime out of love for him. Also, gifts that a person gives to a relative in order to uphold the ties of kinship or to a brother in Islam may be better than charity.

Based on this, giving to one of your relatives may be better than giving charity, because it is more befitting to uphold the ties of kinship. The same may apply if you give a gift to a friend of yours because that will strengthen the bonds of love between you. The Prophet SAW said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love for one another.” [Al-Bukhari]

What the Hadeeth means is that giving gifts may generate and increase love.

To sum up, gifting vs. giving charity is dependent on the situation but, in principle, spending on charity takes precedence.


*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if you think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog.

Giving Food

Giving Food in Surah Al-Insan (No.76):

This is a good gesture of Allah’s Mercy to Mention giving food in a Surah that is entitled “Al-Insan”. Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive…} [Al-Quran, Surah Al-Insan, verse 8]

Ibn ‘Abbas and Mujahid said, “This verse denotes that they feed the needy, the orphan and the captive despite the scarcity of food and their need and love for it.”

What about you and your food?

How great a deed is feeding the hungry in our time!

Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {Or feeding on a day of severe hunger…} [Quran 90:14]

An-Nakha‘i commented on this verse saying, “They feed the hungry at times when food is not ample.”

Mohammed ibn Al-Munkadir said, “Feeding hungry Muslims guarantees the forgiveness of sins.” He also said on another occasion: “Feeding the hungry and saying kind words to others usher you to Paradise.”

Dear brother and sister, you may notice how our days – in some Muslim countries – have turned into days of severe hunger. Food has become scarce and meat has also become scarce as well as being too expensive for the poor.

What about you, dear readers? What about your food?

An Explicit Command:

Feeding people in general and a hungry person, in particular, has been explicitly mentioned in the command of the Messenger of Allah SAW. Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet SAW said: “Feed the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and free the captives.” [Saheeh] A reported saying reads, “The best charity is to satisfy a hungry person.” Alas, a Muslim may sit at an Iftar table with delicious and tasty dishes while his neighbors break their fast with a few morsels of food if they can be found!

The Righteous Predecessors

Our righteous predecessors were keen to feed people and favored this act of worship over many others, whether it was for a hungry poor person or feeding a righteous Muslim. Poverty is not an essential condition in this regard. The Messenger of Allah SAW said: “O people! Spread the Islamic greetings amongst yourselves, feed the hungry, maintain kinship relations, observe prayer at night while people are asleep and you will peacefully enter the Paradise.” [Saheeh]

Some of the righteous predecessors said, “It is better for me to invite ten of my friends and feed them delicious food that they like than freeing ten slaves from the children of Isma‘eel (i.e. Arabs).”

Abu As-Siwar Al-‘Adawi said, “Some men from the ‘Uday tribe used to pray in this mosque and none of them would break his fast alone. If one found someone to eat with, he would eat. If he could not find someone to eat with, he would take his food and go to the mosque to share it with the people in the mosque.”

Fruits of Feeding the Hungry:

The act of worship of feeding the hungry gives rise to many other acts of worship such as showing affection towards one’s fellow Muslims whom he feeds and this can be a reason for him being granted Paradise. The Prophet SAW said: “You shall not enter Paradise as long as you do not affirm belief (in all those things which are the articles of faith) and you will not believe as long as you do not love one another.” [Muslim]

It also gives rise to (the act of worship) being in the company of righteous people and hoping for the rewards of Allah The Almighty in offering them food as they gain strength to perform acts of worship.

Food Baskets:

Some righteous predecessors used to send their friends a basket full of sugar or other such food.

Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd Yahdi said, “I gave a basket of sugar to Al-Hasan Al-Basri as a gift and I have not seen any sugar better than this one. He opened the basket and said to his companions, “Eat and enjoy.”


*What do you think about this topic? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.
*Hit the like button if you think this post is useful.
*Support this da’wah effort by following my blog.

Charity: You Will Keep What You Give

Many people receive God’s great bounty, but they are mindful only of their own desires, careless about others. They immerse themselves in pleasures at the expense of the hungry. In their arrogance, they look with disdain at others. God has warned believers against such stupidity….

Many people receive God’s great bounty, but they are mindful only of their own desires, careless about others. They immerse themselves in pleasures at the expense of the hungry. In their arrogance, they look with disdain at others. God has warned believers against such stupidity: 

Meaning: “Believers! Do not let your riches or your children make you oblivious of the remembrance of God. Those who do so will surely be the losers. Give, then, out of what We have provided for you, before death comes to any of you, and then he says, ‘My Lord, if You would grant me a delay for a short while, I would give in charity and be one of the righteous.” [Al-Quran, Surah Al-Munafiqun, verse 9-10].

When we study the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), we are amazed at the great emphasis he insistently placed on charity, and the strong words he said against miserliness. We can say for certain that all philosophies that discard faith and appeal to the masses could only flourish in materialistic environments and in blind individualism. By contrast, every morning, as people went about their work, Prophet Muhammad reminded them of these truths.

Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: “As people begin their day every morning, two angels descend to the earth and pray: Our Lord, grant the one who spends in charity better compensation and deal ruin to the miserly.” [Narrated by Muslim]

In a hadith qudsi (Divine Hadith) the Prophet mentions that God says: “My servant, spend on others and I will give you more”.

The Prophet adds: “God’s hand is full of riches that are not diminished by spending; it overflows day and night. Can you think of how much He gave away since He created the heavens and the earth? It did not decrease what He has.””

The Prophet has clarified that charity is not accepted by God unless it comes from legitimate earnings. God has required His messengers, in particular, and all people in general, to make sure that they earn their living in a legitimate way. He says to all Prophets:

Meaning: “Messengers! Eat of that which is wholesome, and do good deeds.” [Al-Quran, Surah Al-Mu’minun, verse 51].

To all others, He says:

Meaning: “Believers, eat of the wholesome things We have provided for you, and give thanks to God, if it is truly Him that you worship.” [Al-Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 172].

These were the teachings that produced a society in which the rich are very kind to the poor. They disdain the worship of money and reject any gain that comes from suspicious sources. The Prophet provided for them a living example, showing them the right way to follow. In relation to worldly riches and wealth, he combined the two noble characteristics of a wealthy person who is full of gratitude and a poor one who is always patient in adversity.

Yes, indeed, he had wealth. God says to him in the Qur’an:

Meaning: “Has He not found you an orphan and given you a shelter? And found you in error, and guided you? And found you poor and enriched you?” [Al-Quran, Surah Ad-Duha, verse 6-8].

When he was young, his wealth came from his profitable trading for his wealthy wife. Later, his share of the spoils of war was enormous, but he kept nothing of all this for himself. He used it all to enable the poor to meet their needs. He would give away everything he had. His wives followed his example, and they would often give whatever they had, and then discover that they had left themselves nothing to buy their dinner.

During his last illness, he was concerned about a small gold coin he had. He would not rest until it had been given away to the poor. He wondered: ‘How can I meet God if it remains with me?’”

It is well known that whatever he owned could not be inherited by any relatives of his. This is a rule that applied to all prophets. Everything he left behind was given away to charity. In his prayers, Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated, he used to say:

Meaning: “My Lord, give Muhammad’s household provisions that are just sufficient for their living”. [Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Therefore, when he departed this life to be with God, he was almost like the people of heaven in his attitude to the riches and comforts of this world. He wanted nothing of them.

Source: Islammessage.com

Giving Zakat to Wife?

Majority of scholars agreed that a husband can’t give zakat to his wife, because when he gives the zakat to his wife, then he no longer needs to give sustenance (nafkah) and abolish his obligation. So, the zakat’s benefit returns to him, as if he were paying for himself…

Majority of scholars agreed that a husband can’t give zakat to his wife, because when he gives the zakat to his wife, then he no longer needs to give sustenance (nafkah) and abolish his obligation. So, the zakat’s benefit returns to him, as if he were paying for himself.

Ibn al-Mundhir said: They (the scholars) are unanimously agreed that a man should not give his zakaah to his wife because he is obliged to spend on her, which means that she does not need zakat. (Al-Ijma’, Ibnul Mudzir page. 51)

As for the wife to give zakat to her husband, most scholars recognize it, among them are Sufyan ats-Tsauri, As-Syafi’i, Abu Yusuf, an opinion from Malik, Ahmad and Abu Ubaid. They quote as evidence the report narrated by Imam al-Bukhari (1462) and Imam Muslim (1000) from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him):

(Meaning): On Eid ul-Fitr or Eid ul-Adha, Allah’s Messenger (Peace be Upon Him) went out to the Musalla. After finishing the prayer, he delivered the sermon and ordered the people to give alms. He said, “O people! Give alms.” Then he went towards the women and said. “O, women! Give alms, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were you (women).” The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What is the reason for it?” He replied, “O women! You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious wise man astray.” Then he left. And when he reached his house, Zainab, the wife of Ibn Mas`ud, came and asked permission to enter It was said, “O Allah’s Messenger! It is Zainab.” He asked, ‘Which Zainab?” The reply was that she was the wife of Ibn Mas’ub. He said, “Yes, allow her to enter.” And she was admitted. Then she said, “O Prophet of Allah! Today you ordered people to give alms and I had an ornament and intended to give it as alms, but Ibn Mas`ud said that he and his children deserved it more than anybody else.” The Prophet replied, “Ibn Mas`ud had spoken the truth. Your husband and your children had more right to it than anybody else.” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Conclusion
It is not permissible for a husband to give his zakat to his wife because the husband is obliged to give provision of means to support his wife life even the wife is rich. However, it is permissible for the wife to give zakat to her husband because she is not obliged to give provision of means to support his husband life despite her husband is poor.

unsplash-logoImat Bagja Gumilar