Accepting Gifts from Unbelievers
Taking a gift from an unbeliever; An unbeliever’s gift to a Muslim; A gift from a non-Muslim.
Accepting Gifts from Unbelievers
• Taking a gift from an unbeliever;
• An unbeliever’s gift to a Muslim;
• A gift from a non-Muslim.
Non-Muslims in non-Muslim countries may give gifts to Muslims, such as exchanging gifts with other students or colleagues or sweets and cakes that are given on occasions. May these be accepted?
It is perfectly permissible to accept a gift from a non-Muslim, regardless of the intention of the person giving it. It is also permissible to accept gifts from them on their festive occasions, unless these include something forbidden such as wines or the meat of an animal dedicated at the time of its slaughter to anyone other than God. A Muslim should use such occasions to strengthen relations with non-Muslims and introduce Islam to them.
This view is stated by Ibn Taymiyyah, and it is given in a fatwa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa in Saudi Arabia. It is also endorsed by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Shaikh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz, Shaikh Abdullah ibn Jibreen and Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan.1
The Qur’anic verses:
‘God does not forbid you to deal kindly and with full equity with those who do not fight you on account of your faith, nor drive you out of your homes. God loves those who behave equitably. God only forbids you to turn in friendship towards those who fight against you because of your faith, and drive you from your homes, and help others to drive you out. Those of you who turn towards them in friendship are indeed wrongdoers.’
These verses make a clear statement of the permissibility of maintaining good and peaceful relations with unbelievers who are at peace with Muslims. Needless to say, this includes exchanging gifts with them.
The Prophet used to accept gifts from unbelievers. He accepted the gift sent to him by al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, and the one from the Byzantine Emperor, who was a Christian. Al-Bukhari devotes a section in his Sahih anthology to gifts and includes in it a chapter on ‘accepting gifts from unbelievers’. Entries in this chapter include a report by Abu Humayd al-Sa'idi: ‘The King of Aylah sent the Prophet a white mule as a gift.’ Anas reports that Ukaydar Duma sent a gift to the Prophet and that ‘a Jewish woman sent to God’s messenger a cooked lamb which was poisoned.’ 'A’ishah said: ‘God’s messenger used to accept gifts and reciprocate them.’ This is a general statement that applies to all gifts.
• Ibn Taymiyyah, Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim.
• Fatawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa.
• Decisions of the European Council for Fatwa and Research.
• Fatawa al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah by a number of scholars.
• Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz,, Al-Fatawa al-Jami[ah lil-Mar’ah al-Muslimah.
• Abdullah ibn Jibreen, Al-Mufid fi Taqrib Ahkam al-Musafir.
• Salih al-Fawzan, Al-Muntaqa.
• Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.
- Ibn Taymiyyah, Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, vol. 2, pp. 52–9; Fatawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa, vol. 3, p. 423 Fatwa No. 5,176; Decision 3-6 of the European Council for Fatwa and Research; Ibn Baz, Al-Fatawa al-Jami'ah lil-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, vol. 3, p. 1,048; Ibn Jibreen, Fatawa al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah, pp. 43–4 and Al-Mufid fi Taqrib Ahkam al-Musafir, p. 141; al-Fawzan, Al-Muntaqa, vol. 1, p. 267.