Fruits for the Week

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The Prophet (saw) said:” Give gifts, for indeed gifts removes bad feeling from the chest. Do not let a person look down upon (the gifts given by his or) her neighbour, even if it be a sheep shank.” (Tirmidhi)

A true gift is something you are given by one who has thought about you and wishes to please you, even though you did not ask for it. Naturally when a person is given a gift, the person usually accepts it graciously with happiness and thanksgiving and gratitude to the giver. Consequently, the receiver of the give treats the gift preciously and takes care of it and uses it for his or her own benefit.

 

Thus, exchanging gifts and presents among friends and neighbours is a healthy way of promoting mutual love and consideration. When done with sincerity of heart, such interaction has the effect of healing rifts and removing the ill-feelings and misunderstanding among people that normally occur due to natural human emotions, as mentioned in the above hadith.

 

In yet another hadith, the Prophet (saw) encouraged Muslim women to accept presents and gifts from their neighbours, even if it is as low in value as a sheep’s hoofs:” O Muslim women! A neighbour should not look down upon the present of her (female) neighbour, even if the gift is the trotter of a sheep.” (bukhari)

 

This natural tradition and custom of giving gifts to each other, however small in value the gifts may seem, is of great value and importance in the sight of Allah. That is why Allah’s Messenger (saw) advised that one should not look down or despise a gift even it is of low monetary value and little use. The Prophet (saw) said:” If you shake hands with each other, your dislike of one another will disappear; and if you give gifts to each other, malice will disappear.” (Imam Malik)

 

On the other hand, the Prophet (saw) forbade us from giving gifts then taking them back. He said:” It is not lawful for a person to give a gift and then take it back, except in the case of what a parent gives to his (or her) child. The parable of the one who gives a gift, and then takes it back, is that of a dog that eats until he is full, and then vomits, and then he returns to his vomit.” (Tirmidhi)

 

Similarly, we should not give gifts and then start going about telling people what gifts we have given out to our friends or neighbours because that will embarrass those who received the gifts and make them feel small. Furthermore, by doing so, all the rewards due both in this world and the hereafter will have been nullified.

 

Allah (swt) discouraged and rebuked this kind of behaviour which sadly has become quite common among many people. Allah said:” Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is Rich, and He is Most-Forbearing.” (Al-Qur’an 2: 263)

 

Giving gifts to show off and be seen of other people will only bring great loss rather than good to those who do so. They will be deprived of Allah’s blessings for their good deeds since they are done to show off and seek the praise of other people.

 

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said:” Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, said: I am the least in need of a partner. Whoever does any deed in which he associates someone else with Me, I will reject him and his deed.” (Muslim)

 

How could Allah (swt), the Most Wise, accept these actions when the person who performed them did not do them for His sake? And how could Allah, the Most Just, the person who performed actions solely for His sake the same blessings as the person who was doing deeds only to show off and gain fame and the praise of fellow human beings? Allah (swt) warns against doing actions only for show.

 

Allah (swt) said:” O you, who have believed, do not invalidate your charity with reminders (of it) or injury like the person who spends his wealth (only) to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a (large) smooth stone upon which is soil, and it is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable (to keep) anything of what they have earned, and Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Qur’an 2: 264)

(Prepared by Ustad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)