Beauty belongs to our faith in a special way. Beauty of soul, beauty of comportment, and the beauty of what we surround ourselves with... It is all connected. The human gaze is attracted to masterly crafted objects because they remind the heart’s eye of divine Beauty, the beauty of Perfection. Giving gifts remembering the Divine is an act of worship. With it grows affinity and it pleases the Generous One. Receiving a tasbih during this holy month is a reminder that comes right in time, a lifeline to the Most Beautiful when the heavenly gates are opened.
Al-Kareem is the ultimate Giver of Gifts. One of the recommended acts is to give presents to our loved ones with Him in mind. It is an act of devotion. When we intend to strengthen our bond with someone for the sake of the One by honoring their presence on this earth with a gift, we follow a sunnah of the Beloved.
The Gift of Love
He loved giving gifts. Several stories of our blessed Prophet receiving and giving scents, clothes, and livestock attest to that. Sahih al-Bukhari, one of the major collections on His teachings, sayings, and practices, contains a full chapter dedicated to the act of gift-giving, or hibah.
“Tahaadu, tahaabu.” Give gifts to one another and you will love one another, as the hadith goes. To show that we care, to express our love, to offer comfort, to apologize, to make someone feel special, to nurture a friendship, to say thanks... The righteous deed of gift-giving can be noble in its intention in many ways. Friendships are blessings. Giving to strengthen them is a virtue.
The Perfect Gift
The practice of offering gifts is as old as mankind. By giving a meticulously hand-crafted tasbih we not only help to remind our loved ones of the Divine but also become a part of the Muslim regal tradition of gifting works of Islamic art. Pieces of great aesthetic refinement, luxury objects such as jewelry, ornate carpets, and illustrated copies of the Qur’an, were commissioned or repurposed as gifts at the great Islamic courts from as early as the 8th century, and from India to Spain.
The Heartfelt gift
The Three Keys
Three qualities are important to the gift. Ideally, it is beneficial for the one who receives it, of non-trivial value, and meaningful. Mutual kindness is central to the gift culture characterizing traditional Islamic societies. In verse 60 of Surah al-Rahman we are rhetorically asked “Is there any reward for goodness except goodness?” When we give, we receive. So much more than we ever gave.
The joy of gifting
Love and harmony
Another hadith advises us to receive with pleasure and to give a gift in return, or pray for the gift-giver if we are unable to do so. Giving brings affection into the hearts. A present is a symbol of love, love for God and love for one another. Thoughtful giving brings harmony, much loved by the One, and lets the barakah flow. Generous giving is an attempt to mirror the very Generosity behind the uncountable blessings that have been bestowed upon us.