In today’s world, where everyone seeks more and more for himself/herself gift giving has become a rare tradition, for that matter any “giving,” and for many may be just a formal duty that they fulfill if they “have” to i.e. on a birthday party. Like many other beautiful traditions, gifting has lost its value and beauty too.
Generally speaking, givers and receivers both are to be blamed, in all honesty. The givers rarely give out of love or/and to increase love, rather to show off or fulfill a societal obligation. The receivers focus on the price instead of the emotion. Consequently, in middle the sincere people get squished, and so does the gift giving tradition.
For today’s post my focus are the givers, so the advise below is for them.
Fix the Intentions
I personally know some people who though give expensive gifts but leave price tags (intentionally) just so that the receiver knows how expensive the gift was. This is in no way my assumption, rather what those people themselves told me, as to why they leave price tags on gifts.
SubhanALLAH, may ALLAH guide us and them (aameen).
It seriously shows us “why” most people give gifts nowadays, when they do.
“The most difficult thing I keep observing is my intentions, as it is always apt to change,” said Sufiyan Al Thawri. Fixing one’s intentions is one of the hardest tasks. It is a constant struggle that one has to do to gain reward for one’s deeds. If you are giving someone a gift, do not give it to boast about it or to show off to that person. Rather, give it to honor that person and increase love between you both and strengthen the bond – all of which are noble reasons and (in sha ALLAH) will gain you reward from ALLAH (subhanahu wa tala).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Exchange gifts, you will love one another.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad. Ibn Hajar said: its isnaad is hasan. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad, 463. <<<<< That is what our motive should be behind giving gifts — to love one another.
With everything becoming more and more expensive day by day and being a mother, I realize how hard it can be to buy something that you would like for your own self and give it to someone else. As a mother it gets even harder, because the desire to get the entire world for my daughter is inbuilt and I have to constantly fight it, more so when I have to give something to someone else while I could use the same money to buy something for my own daughter that has been in my amazon cart since weeks. I understand and realize the amount of self control “giving” takes, especially gift giving (wherein you are not necessarily expecting the level of reward that you get when you give sadaqah to poor). On a side note, here is a fatwa about what is better – giving gifts or charity, I found it beneficial so sharing.
We have to overcome our desire of material things and learn to give what we would like for our own selves and our children. While the process is very hard, the end feeling is very soothing for the soul alhamdulillah. Try it. Our kids will do what they see us do. If you genuinely want to teach them to be kind and generous, you have to start it from your own self. Don’t give “cheap” gifts, when you can afford better gifts, just to get done with it. Give with love big or small, give what you would like to receive.
It Does Not Have to be Expensive
Many of us feel pressured to give the best and most expensive gifts. Unfortunately, many people around us make sure that we know that they would only appreciate expensive gifts. I have personally been through it but by the will of ALLAH, I have not allowed this pressure to stop me from giving gifts. This notion that “gifts must be expensive” holds many of us from giving gifts, though we would really want to but just cannot afford expensive gifts. I personally have given very cheap gifts (by cheap, I mean very low in terms of cost) and still do sometimes….simply because many times I cannot afford any better….but I still want to show my love. I have even been through incident when the receiver simply took and put the gift on side because it was not up to her expectations, it was hurtful, Allahu Mustan. So, though we will have such people who wouldn’t appreciate our gifts, we have to stay strong and give what best we can.
I personally love to give gifts, with reason or/and without reason. When I go to someone’s house for the first time (it is in my culture), when I meet someone after very long time, on Eid to close family and close friends, etc. And remember, not all gifts are sponsored by my husband and I don’t really earn at this point – which is the case with many housewives.
So before ending I will share with you what I personally do to fulfill my desire of giving gifts bidhnillah alhamdulillah:
- Long time before Eid I make a list of what I want to buy for my people. So I can buy a few gifts a month or whenever my budget allows instead of feeling a huge hit on my budget just before Eid.
- I stock on gifts during good deals seasons, if I do not find exactly what I want then I kinda compromise and get what is in good deal (still a good item). I try to keep extra gifts in stock for sudden occasions.
- I usually count the number of people I have to give gifts and then see how much is my budget and split the amount. So if I have to give to 10 people and my budget is 100 then I keep $10 for each individual’s gift. I do this so that I do not end up spending more on one gift and empty handed for the rest.
- If I really cannot afford to buy something good that I would like to give then I try to make something good.
May ALLAH make us of those who spread salam and give gifts to increase love among themselves (aameen).