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Gift-Giving During Christmas: What Does Islam Say About It?

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Faruq Senin  •  Dec 24, 2020

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The Christmas season is here! As we live in a multireligious and multicultural society, Christmas is a time where you might meet up with friends and share a meal together, both Muslims and non-Muslims. Some of you might be wondering if it is alright for Muslims to give gifts during Christmas or whether it's okay to wish your non-Muslim friends during festive period. Hence, we've come up with this guide to show that gift-giving is not an uncommon practice in Islam. As HHWT believes that travel is a force for peace between Muslims and non-Muslims, we hope this article will also help to foster that vision. P.S. We got some of these hadiths and pointers from muslim.sg. Find out more articles on Islam on their website.
Can Muslims give and receive gifts during Christmas?
Yes, the short answer is that Muslims can give and receive gifts during Christmas. Exchanging gifts with non-Muslims is part of fostering good social relationships with people of other faiths. According to muslim.sg, co-existing with Christians means accepting their celebrations as well, such as Christmas.
 Based on the Contemporary Irsyad Series issued by the Office of Mufti, it is permissible to exchange greetings, wishes and gifts with people of other faiths. Several other fatwas by the Darul Ifta' in Egypt and Malaysia National Fatwa Committee Council as well as scholars such as Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah and the Mufti of Wilayah Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri also concur with this view. This does not mean that we accept or subscribe to their beliefs as part of ours. What is important is that we don't participate in any religious rituals or profess words or actions that might be against the basic Islamic creed. It's also important to be clear in the intent of your actions as well as the purpose of joining in the festivities. Hence, in this case, exchanging gifts and wishing non-Muslims well during their festive celebrations is an act of co-existing and maintaining good ties with them. P.S. Here's how one of our Muslim readers joined in the Christmas festivities in South Korea!
In fact, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself maintained good relations with the Christian King Negus by exchanging letters and accepting gifts. These have also been reported in hadiths such as this one by Imam Ibn Majah and Imam Abi Daud.  "It was narrated from Ibn Buraidah, from his father, that an-Najashi sent a pair of pure black Khuff as a gift to the Prophet s.a.w, of which he wore." (Sunan Ibn Majah) P.S. Planning a festive meal with your loved ones? Check out these 13 halal eateries serving roast turkey and roast chicken!
Gift-giving in Islam is highly encouraged
But giving gifts in Islam is not just about maintaining good relations with people of other faiths. Beyond that, it is also highly encouraged in Islam by the Prophet (pbuh) himself as it strengthens your relationship with others. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” (Al-Bukhari)
This hadith shows that gifts are given as an expression of love and admiration in Islam, and for the pleasure of Allah. It also strengthens the bond of love you have with family and friends.

Al-Bukhari also narrated that Aisha (R.A.), the wife of the Prophet (pbuh) said:

"The Messenger of Allah used to accept gifts and reward people for giving them." 

 Hence, this shows that accepting and giving gifts to others was the way of the Prophet (pbuh). There are also stories where the Prophet (pbuh) gave and received gifts ranging from perfume to clothing and even livestock. Other than forging relationships with others, giving gifts also help to remove any enmity between two people. It's great if you want to apologise for a mistake you did. Aisha (R.A.), the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), narrated that he said,   “Exchange presents with one another. Presents remove ill-will from the hearts.” (Tirmidhi)  Hence, while exchanging gifts during Christmas is great to foster good relations with people of other faiths, it's also interesting to know that the act of gift-giving is also highly encouraged in Islam. Happy holidays everyone and have an enjoyable time this festive season!