The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to accept gifts and used to give something in return.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Gift giving increases love and affection among people. For this the gift does not have to be given on a particular occasion or of a particular standard. Whatever is given to promote harmony between Muslims, seeking with this Allah’s Pleasure, will be a source of happiness on the Day of Judgement. The more we love Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) the more we will love His creation and desire to give people good things, good sentiments and good advice.
If we give presents to each other because it is the Sunnah of Allah’s Beloved Messenger and because following his Sunnah will make Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) pleased with us, then this gift giving is praiseworthy. On the other hand, if we give gifts in order to receive something in return, then this type of gift giving will bring us no lasting good. When we give presents in order to show off what we can afford to give, this arrogance invites Allah’s wrath and punishment.
Some other corrupt practices associated with gift giving are: belittling others’ gifts and opening presents in the middle of a gathering of people. When we expose everybody’s gifts to a crowd we risk embarrassing those who had a smaller budget. Some people end up having spent more than they could afford to in order not to be publicly humiliated. All in all we take a practice of love and sincerity and turn it into an ugly competition, creating hardships for our brothers and sisters in Islam.
|| Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “O Muslim women! None of you should look down upon the gift sent by her she-neighbour even if it were the trotters of the sheep (fleshless part of legs).”
|| Narrated Urwa: Aisha said to me, “O my nephew! We used to see the crescent, and then the crescent and then the crescent in this way we saw three crescents in two months and no fire (for cooking) used to be made in the houses of Allah’s Apostle. I said, “O my aunt! Then what use to sustain you?” ‘Aisha said, “The two black things: dates and water, our neighbors from Ansar had some Manarh and they used to present Allah’s Apostle some of their milk and he used to make us drink.”
|| Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “I shall accept the invitation even if I were invited to a meal of a sheep’s trotter, and I shall accept the gift even if it were an arm or a trotter of a sheep.”
||Narrated Sahl: The Prophet sent for a woman from the emigrants and she had a slave who was a carpenter. The Prophet said to her “Order your slave to prepare the wood (pieces) for the pulpit.” So, she ordered her slave who went and cut the wood from the tamarisk and prepared the pulpit, for the Prophet. When he finished the pulpit, the woman informed the Prophet that it had been finished. The Prophet asked her to send that pulpit to him, so they brought it. The Prophet lifted it and placed it at the place in which you see now.”
||Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abu Qatada Al-Aslami: That his father said, “One day I was sitting with some of the Prophet’s companions on the way to Mecca. Allah’s Apostle was ahead of us. All of my companions were in the state of Ihram while I was a non-Muhrim. They saw an onager while I was busy repairing my shoes, so they did not tell me about it but they wished I had seen it. By chance I looked up and saw it. So, I turned to the horse, saddled it and rode on it, forgetting to take the spear and the whip. I asked them if they could hand over to me the whip and the spear but they said, ‘No, by Allah, we shall not help you in that in any way.’ I became angry and got down from the horse, picked up both the things and rode the horse again. I attacked the onager and slaughtered it, and brought it (after it had been dead). They took it (cooked some of it) and started eating it, but they doubted whether it was allowed for them to eat it or not, as they were in the state of Ihram. So, we proceeded and I hid with me one of its fore-legs. When we met Allah’s Apostle and asked him about the case, he asked, ‘Do you have a portion of it with you?’ I replied in the affirmative and gave him that fleshy fore-leg which he ate completely while he was in the state of Ihram .
||Narrated Anas: Once Allah’s Apostle visited us in this house of ours and asked for something to drink. We milked one of our sheep and mixed it with water from this well of ours and gave it to him. Abu Bakr was sitting on his left side and ‘Umar in front of him and a bedouin on his right side. When Allah’s Apostle finished, ‘Umar said to Allah’s Apostle “Here is Abu Bakr.” But Allah’s Apostle gave the remaining milk to the bedouin and said twice, “The (persons on the) right side! So, start from the right side.” Anas added, “It is a Sunna (the Prophet’s traditions)” and repeated it thrice.
|| Narrated Anas: We chased a rabbit at Mar-al-Zahran and the people ran after it but were exhausted. I overpowered and caught it, and gave it to Abu Talha who slaughtered it and sent its hip or two thighs to Allah’s Apostle. (The narrator confirms that he sent two thighs). The Prophet accepted that. (The sub-narrator asked Anas, “Did the Prophet; eat from it?” Anas replied, “He ate from it.”)
|| Narrated As-Sa’b bin Jaththama: An onager was presented to Allah’s Apostle at the place called Al-Abwa’ or Waddan, but Allah’s Apostle rejected it. When the Prophet noticed the signs of sorrow on the giver’s face he said, “We have not rejected your gift, but we are in the state of Ihram.” (i.e. if we were not in a state of Ihram we would have accepted your gift, Fateh-al-Bari page 130, Vol. 6)
|| Narrated Aisha: The people used to look forward for the days of my (‘Aisha’s) turn to send gifts to Allah’s Apostle in order to please him.
|| Narrated Said bin Jubair: Ibn Abbas said: Um Hufaid, Ibn ‘Abbas’s aunt sent some dried yogurt (butter free), ghee (butter) and a mastigar to the Prophet as a gift. The Prophet ate the dried yogurt and butter but left the mastigar because he disliked it. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The mastigar was eaten at the table of Allah’s Apostle and if it had been illegal to eat, it could not have been eaten at the table of Allah’s Apostle.”