Part 14 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The Blessed Conduct of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) when receiving a Gift

عن الربيع بنت معوذ بن عفراء قالت: أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بقناع من رطب وأجر زغب فأعطاني ملء كفه حليا وذهبا (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي رقم: 339)

 

 

Translation:

Hazrat Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwiz bin ‘Afraa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) mentions, “I once brought a tray of dates and some small cucumbers to Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (and presented it to him as a gift). Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave me a handful of (some) jewellery and gold (in return as a gift).”

Commentary:

It was the mubaarak sunnah of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that whenever he received a gift from any person, he would reciprocate by also giving the person a gift. It is also reported in the Hadith that Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would give the person a gift that was better than the gift he received from him. Hence, in this Hadith, we see that Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reciprocated by giving a handful of jewellery and gold to the person who gifted him a tray of dates and cucumbers.

Hence, when one receives a gift from anyone, then if he has the means, he should reciprocate by giving the person a gift in return. If he is able to give a gift which is better than the one he received, then he should do so.

However, if one does not have the means to reciprocate by giving a gift, then the Hadith teaches that he should thank the person by saying, “May Allah Ta‘ala grant you the best of rewards”. In some Ahaadith, it is mentioned that he should continue to make du‘aa for the person until he feels within his heart that he has fulfilled the right of gratitude for the gift he received from the person. In this way, through thanking the person and making du‘aa for him to be blessed with something better from the side of Allah Ta‘ala, one will be repaying him for his kindness.

Hazrat Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that on one occasion, the Muhaajireen came to Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the Ansaar have taken all the rewards. They are such that at the time when they possess a lot, they are extremely generous, and when they possess a little, they share the little they have with others. They have fulfilled all our needs.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “No, (they will not take all the rewards, but you will also receive rewards) if you continue to make du‘aa for them, praise them and speak good of them before others.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4814)

Below are some Ahaadith that are reported in regard to reciprocating in giving gifts

  1. Hazrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “When a person receives a gift from someone, if he has the means to give the person a gift in return, then he should do so. If he does not have the means to reciprocate by giving a gift, then he should make du‘aa for him and praise him, as the one who makes du‘aa and speaks good of the person has expressed gratitude to him for the favour he received from him, and the one who conceals it (i.e. he does not reciprocate the gift nor does he make du‘aa and praise the person), then such a person has showed ingratitude.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4815)
  2. Hazrat Usaamah bin Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The one who has received some good from someone (or has received a gift), then he should say to the person, “Jazaakallah khairan (May Allah Ta‘ala reward you with the best of rewards).” By doing so, he has praised the person and honored him greatly (and fulfilled the right of gratitude to him).” (Sunan Tirmizi #2035)
  3. Hazrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The one who receives a gift from someone and mentions it (to people, speaks highly of the person who gave him the gift and praises him), then he has shown gratitude to the person, and if he conceals it (i.e. he does not reciprocate the gift nor does he make du‘aa and praise the person), then he has not shown gratitude.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4816)
  4. Hazrat Zaid bin Aslam (rahimahullah) reports that on one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was entering his home when he encountered a woman leaving his home while holding something in her hand. Seeing the woman, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked her, “What is this?” The woman replied, “It is a gift that I brought for Hazrat ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), but she declined to accept it.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then entered the home and asked Hazrat ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), “Why did you not accept the gift from the woman?” Hazrat ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! She is a poor woman and has more need for the gift than I do!” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Why did you not accept the gift from her (as this would have pleased her heart), and then give her a gift better than the one she gave you?” (Musannaf Abdur Razzaaq #20578)
  5. Hazrat Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever does any favour to you, then repay his favour. If you do not possess  anything  with which you can repay his favour, then continue to make du‘aa for him until you feel that you have repaid him (for his favour).” (Sunan Abu Dawood #1672)
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