Part 13 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Reciprocating in Exchanging Gifts

عن عائشة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يقبل الهدية ويثيب عليها (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي، الرقم: 340)

Translation:

Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would accept gifts and reciprocate by also giving gifts in return. (In some narrations, it is reported ويثيب خيرا – that he would reciprocate by giving gifts that were better than the gift he received.)

Commentary:

It is a sign of good and noble character that one takes the feelings of people into consideration when being offered a gift. One should not reject the gift (unless there is a valid Sharee reason), as this will dishearten the person who had offered the gift, and one should try to reciprocate by also giving the person a gift. If one merely accepts the gift but does not reciprocate by giving the person a gift in return, then though one will bring happiness to the person, one will not be benefitting him after receiving benefit from him. Hence, the Mubarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has taught us that we should bring happiness to the heart of the person as well as benefit him. In this way, one will not only be acquiring benefit from the person, but will also be benefiting him through gifting him something. The Hadith also teaches us that if one is able to give him something better, then he should do so.

Many a times, people go through hardship and difficulty to acquire something and present it as a gift to someone whom they love. Hence, in accepting the gift and reciprocating it, the person’s heart will be made happy and he will acquire benefit in place of the hardship and difficulty which he endured in order to present the gift. It is for this reason that in certain Ahaadith, it is recorded that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would reciprocate by also giving the person a gift, and in some Ahaadith, it is mentioned that he would reciprocate by giving a gift that was better than the gift he had received. (The gist of this explanation has been adapted from Khasaa’il Nabawi of Hazrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahimahullah).

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