The best of women

A Bedouin was asked about women, and being a man who was experienced with them, he said: ‘The best woman is the tallest when she stands, the most prominent when she sits, and the most truthful when she speaks. She is the one whose anger subsides quickly, and whose laugh is a beautiful smile. When she does something, she does it well. She obeys her husband and adheres to her home. She is honored among her people, yet insignificant in her own mind – affectionate and fertile, and everything about her is good.’

Source: Gems & Jewels (pg 174). Published by Darrusalam

What happened to my gifts?

what happened to my giftsBirthday parties are among some of my earliest and sweetest memories of my childhood. It was not the cake (or the guests) that I cherished, but it was the act of receiving gifts, and the suspense at the time of opening them, that tingled my sense of delight and happiness. Usually the gifts included chocolates, toys, and video games (ahh! the joy). But if you had money (or clothes) to give me, then brace yourself for a fake smile, a broken heart, and a polite acceptance. In short, the overall experience of receiving gifts was awesome, and I never wanted it to end.

Then, Islam happened, and I realized that birthday parties are amongst many things in which we wrongly follow the non-Muslims. I gave up the ceremony and along with it the only major source of receiving (and giving) gifts. Yes, people give gifts on Eid but that is more of a dull tradition/obligation that everyone does without putting any real thought into the gift giving process (hence giving money is the most common gift at Eid).

The nostalgia of personalized, carefully selected, and delightful gifts struck me hard enough to go to the books of hadith and see what Islam had to say on this topic. And what I found was beautiful.

Narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5178).
Narrated ‘Aisha: Allah’s Apostles used to accept gifts and used to give something in return. (Book #47, Hadith #758)

Narrated ‘Azra bin Thabit: Anas said: The Prophet used not to reject the gifts of perfume. (Sahih Bukhari, Book #47, Hadith #756)

The Prophet said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” [Al-Bukhari]

Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “O Muslim women, no woman should look down on a gift given by her neighbor, even if it is the meat from a sheep’s foot.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2566) and Muslim (1030).

Abdullah Ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Accept invitations, do not refuse gifts and do not beat the Muslims.” Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (1/404), It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (6/59).

Nu’man b. Bashir, reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said: Have you, besides him, other sons? He said: Yes. Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: Have you given gifts to all of them like this (as you have given to Nu’man)? He said: No. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: I cannot bear witness to an injustice. (Sahih Bukhari, Book #012, Hadith #3967)

Ibn ‘Amir reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave the gifts of goats to be distributed amongst his Companions. They sacrificed them, but a lamb of one year of age was left. (Someone) made a mention of that to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), whereupon he said: You sacrifice it. (Shahih Bukhair, Book #022, Hadith #4838)

As evident from the above ahadith, giving and receiving gifts has a great status in Islam. Furthermore, we don’t need birthdays to give gifts; we are supposed to give gifts all year round, whenever we want, to whomever we want. Giving of gifts increases the love, is the sunnah of our Prophet (Peace be upon him), and is a sign of a healthy community. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to accept gifts irrespective of how humble the present was and used to give something in return.

After reading these ahadith a few things happened in the back of my mind. I am now hopeful again that my friends and family would start showering me with gifts after they read this article (by the way, I like electronics, books, and chocolates). And I am not going to undermine any gift (even if it is clothes or money) because Prophet (Peace be upon him) forbade us to do so. And oh! I will also attempt to give some gifts as it increases the brotherhood and love amongst the Muslims.

So, give gifts to each other O! my Muslim brothers & sisters and become closer to Allah through the sunnah of His Prophet (Peace be upon him).