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The Giving of Christmas Gifts and Eid Gifts?

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  • visionaries4
    01/7-14/1983 Muslim Journal The Giving of Christmas Gifts and Eid Gifts? By Imam W. Deen Mohammed Mohammed Speaks QUESTION: Do Muslims give Christmas gifts?
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2011
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      Muslim Journal

      The Giving of Christmas Gifts and Eid Gifts?

      By Imam W. Deen Mohammed

      Mohammed Speaks

      QUESTION: Do Muslims give Christmas gifts?

      IMAM: I'm sure they do. I don't know if we think of it as Christmas gifts, but I'm sure they do. I don't myself.

      If I want to give a Christian a gift, I'll find an occasion — a birthday or something -- to give that person a gift.

      During the season, I do send "Season's Greetings" cards to Christians who are my friends, or my in-laws and relatives. I don't like sending them the typical Christmas card because it has the Trinitarian concept.

      Our country is made up of people belonging to different religions Jews, Christians, Muslims and many others; that's why they have cards that just say Season's Greetings. The manufacturers or publishers know that there are some people who don't subscribe to the different religious ideas.

      So I find that I have no problem selecting a card that doesn't carry an offensive message or a message that would be in conflict with my religion, and I send them to my Christian relatives and friends on Christmas Day.

      My wife, I think, has wanted me to give my relatives, who celebrate Christmas, a gift on Christmas, but I haven't been able to do it. They (relatives) give my children gifts on Christmas, but I wish they would give my children gifts on a birthday or on one of our Eid days.

      So I understand the situation; I know they would like to give gifts on their holiday, but I have a problem giving them gifts on Christmas. I have a problem doing that.

      I believe one time I did give a gift to one of my relatives during the season holidays, but I didn't send it as a Christmas gift; I sent it just as a gift, and it was after Christmas I waited until after Christmas. It got there a little late — just before New Year's.

      If any Muslim gives their relatives gifts on Christmas, I don't think they should worry about it -- they shouldn't have any bad feelings because they are celebrating Christmas.

      They are not encouraging the celebration of Christmas, they are merely recognizing the sentiments and the need to make their relatives feel good, feel happy let their relatives know that they love them and share the season's joy with them, although they don't share the ideas. I don't find anything wrong with that.

      QUESTION: What are your feelings on gift-giving at Eid, and how can we keep this from getting out of hand like Christmas gifts?

      —Richmond, Va.

      IMAM: It's a good habit that Muslims exchange gifts on the day of the Eid. I think the habit goes back to the very early days of the community of Muslims in Arabia.

      I would only say that it can get out of hand. Allah says in the Qur'an that we should not give to be seen of men, and we should not give to obligate or tie people to some kind of responsibility or obligation to us.

      What we have to do is to make sure that we are not giving gifts in the wrong spirit. Our gifts should be given out of love for the person, whether it's a relative or non-relative. They should be given out of love for Allah and love for that person — endearness to that person.

      We shouldn't fall into the habit of many people in society -- today and I guess yesterday as well -- who give to receive a gift.

      The Bible speaks against that too, giving to receive a gift. Christians say that to give is better than to receive, and I think we have to caution ourselves when we are encouraging the giving of gifts because I find a tendency in people that I have been around to give a gift because they feel obligated to give it.

      "She's expecting a gift from me," you see — so they give a gift because they feel obligated to give a gift. Many times they don't have money and they can't manage their bills but they are afraid -they dislike giving something that they think is below the value expectations of the person to whom they want to give the gift. So they will stretch themselves too far and go out and get a gift to please what they think is the expectation of the person they're giving the gift to, and to give just because they think it's expected. I think that would be wrong.

      There are many, many concerns that we should have. And we should make sure that the giving of gifts on the Eid holidays or any other holiday or any other occasion doesn't get out of hand.

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