Sacred Texts  Islam  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 325



(Hibah and Waqf)

1. "As for him who gives (gifts) and guards against evil and accepts the best, We will facilitate for him the easy end" (92:5).

2 "Woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers, who do good to be seen, and withhold small gifts" (107:4-7).

Hibah is the giving of a gift whether it is given to one who is in need or to a well-to-do person. and thus it differs from sadaqah which is meant only for the needy though they may be one's relatives. The giving of gifts (including charity) is praised (v. 1). while the withholding of small gifts is denounced as against the spirit of Islām (v. 2). Stress is laid on developing the spirit of brotherhood by the giving of gifts, great or small as one can find (hh. 1, 2). Even a poor man may give a gift out of the charity he has received (h. 3). Compensation for a gift received is recommended (h. 4). The giving of a gift to one child would be an injustice to other children, and it is therefore not allowed (h. 5). A husband can give a gift to his wife and vice-versa (h. 6). A wife may give gifts out of the property she has received from her husband (h. 7). A joint gift may be given to more persons than one (h. 8), and a gift may be given out of joint property (h. 9). A gift may be given to, and received from. a non-Muslim (hh. 10. 11). It is forbidden to take back what has once been given as a gift (h. 12). A gift for life is recognised subject to certain conditions (h. 13). Property may be dedicated as waqf, becoming thus inalienable, or as waqf'ala-l-aulād (h. 14). One who receives a gift or any other good from another must give expression to thanks (h. 15).

1 Abn Hurairah reported '

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said

"O Muslim women! Let not a neighbour despise

p. 326

for her neighbour (a gift), even though it be the trotters of a goat."

(B. 51:l.)

2 'Ā'ishah reported,

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:

"Give gifts to one another, for gifts take away rancour."

(Tr-Msh. 12:17.)

3 Anas said,

Meat was brought to the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, and it was said that it was given to Barīrah as a charity. He said:

"For her it is a charity, and for us it is a gift."1

(B. 51:7.)

4 'Ā'ishah said,

The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, used to accept a gift and to give a compensation for it.2

(B. 51:11.)

1. Barīrah was a freed slave-girl. She sent a gift to the Holy Prophet out of the charity she had received. and the Holy Prophet accepted it.

2. It shows that the Holy Prophet taught the exchanging of gifts.

p. 327

5 Nu'mān said,

My father gave me a gift. 'Amrah bint Rawāhah said, I do not agree until thou make the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, witness. So he came to the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, and said: I gave a gift to my son from 'Amrah bint Rawāhah, and she has bidden me to make thee a witness, O Messenger of Allāh!

He said, "Hast thou given all thy sons the like of it"? He said, No. He said: "Be careful of your duty to Allāh and keep justice between your children." So he returned and took back his gift.3

(B. 51:13.)

3. Bukhārī relates this hadīth to show that having a witness when making a gift was a good practice. 'Amrah was the mother, and it was her son who received the gift. The Prophet disallowed this gift, making it clear that all children should be treated alike.

p. 328

6 Ibrāhīm said,

The giving of a gift by a man to his wife and by the wife to her husband is lawful.

And 'Umar ibn 'Abd al 'Azīz said, They cannot take back (the gifts).

(B. 51:14.)

7 Asmā' said,

I said, O Messenger of Allāh I have no property except what Zubair4 gave to me; can I give (it) as charity?

He said:

"Do thou give charity (out of it) and do not withhold it, lest it be withheld from thee."

(B. 51:15.)

8 Asmā' said to Qāsim ibn Muhammad and Ibn Abi 'Atīq,

I inherited (some property) in Ghābah from

4. Asmā' was Zubair's wife.

p. 329

my sister 'Ā'ishah, and Mu'āwiyah offered me a hundred thousand for it this is now for you both.6

(B. 51:22.)

9 The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, and his companions gave as a gift to Hawāzin what they had gained from them in war and it was undivided.6

(B. 51:23.)

10 Abū Humaid said,

. . . . . . The king of Aila sent a gift to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, white mare, and he gave him to wear an over-garment.7

(B. 24:54.)

11 Asmā' said,

My mother came to me in the time of the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, and she was an idolatress. So I asked the Messenger of

5. This is the case of a gift to two (or more) persons jointly.

6. A gift may thus be given out of one share in undivided property.

7. This was a gift from a non-Muslim.

p. 330

Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, I said, She is not inclined (to Islām), may I do good to her? He said, "Yes do good to thy mother."8

(B. 51:29.)

12 Ibn 'Abbās said,

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:

"The man who takes back what he has gifted is like one who returns to his vomit."

(B. 51:30.)

13 Jābir said,

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, decided in the matter of 'umrā that it is for him to whom it has been gifted.9

(B. 51:32 )

8. This was the case of a gift being given to a non-Muslim.

9. 'Umrā (from 'amara, he lived) was a pre-Islamic transaction, a man's assigning to another a house for the life of the latter, so that when he died, the property reverted to the heirs of the assignor.

A similar transaction was ruqbā (from raqaba, he waited), by which a man assigned to another a house on condition that if the assignor died first, the house became the property of the assignee, and if the assignee died first, the house reverted to the assignor, as if each waited for the death of the other. Bukhārī does not speak of ruqbā which, according to the best opinion, is not allowed in Islām. With regard to 'umrā, it is agreed that when it is expressly stated that the property shall pass to the heirs of the assignee or when no condition is laid down, it shall be a gift in all respects and shall not revert to the assignor; but when an express condition is laid down that on the death of the. assignee it shall revert to the assignor or his heirs, there are two opinions; firstly, that the transaction shall take effect in accordance with the condition laid down, as if it were a loan; and secondly, that it shall be looked upon as a gift, the condition being dealt with as illegal and unenforceable.

p. 331

14 Ibn 'Umar reported,

'Umar ibn al-Khattāb got land in Khaibar; so he came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, to consult him about it. He said, O Messenger of Allāh! I have got land in Khaibar than which I have never obtained more valuable property; what dost thou advise about it? He said: "If thou likest, make the property itself to remain inalienable, and give (the profit from) it in charity."

So 'Umar made it a charity on the condition that it shall not be sold, nor given away as a gift, nor inherited, and made it a charity among the needy and the relatives and to set free slaves and in the way of Allāh and for the travellers and to entertain guests, there being no blame on him who managed it if he

p. 332

ate out of it and made (others) eat, not accumulating wealth thereby.16

(B. 54:19.)

15 Usāmah said,

The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:

"To whomsoever good is done and he says to the doer of it, May Allāh reward thee, he has done his utmost in praising."11

(Tr-Msh. 12:17.)

10. The case cited in this hadīth is known as waqf (from waqafa, he stood still or stopped). The property, generally immovable, is in this case not allowed to be sold or otherwise disposed of, only the profits accruing therefrom are dedicated to charitable purposes. But as in this case the relatives are included among those who share in the profits though they may not be needy, it has become the basis for what is more particularly known as waqf 'ala-l-aulād, i.e., a waqf for the benefit of a man's children. The property is made inalienable and cannot be divided among the heirs, and the profit from it are spent for the benefit of the children, though a part must necessarily be for charitable objects.

11. Jazāka-llāh (may Allāh reward thee) is the best form of thanking a man for any benefit or gift received from him, It is both an expression of thankfulness to him and a pravor for him, and it is the common form which a Muslim thanks another.

Next: Chapter XXVI: Wills and Inheritance