Eid al Fitr, or the “Festival of Fast Breaking,” is celebrated in late summer and represents the ending of the blessed month of Ramadan and fasting. It is during Eid al Fitr that we remember Allah (swt) and serve Him by giving zakkat, or charity, to those who are in need and by worshipping Him and remembering the many favors He has bestowed upon us by prayer and gift giving.
Eid al Adha , or the “Festival of Sacrifice” is celebrated in early Fall and celebrates the great sacrifice that Ibrahim was willing to make for Allah (swt)— his son. Ibrahim’s and Ishmael’s devotion to Allah (swt) was so beloved by the most Merciful that when he was about to take his son’s life, Allah (swt) sent Ibrahim an animal to take his place, and Ishmael was left unharmed.
As Muslims, we remember that sacrifice every year by sincerely offering a suitable, sacrificial animal to Allah (swt) and then distributing the meat to our families, friends, and those in need.
With all the feasting, celebrations, and gift giving to prepare for, it can be easy to get wrapped up and spend too much time planning feasts or buying and preparing gifts. During these blessed times, we must focus on being grateful for the tremendous blessings and spiritual connections we have with our Creator and give with sincere intentions to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt).
The Prophet (s.a.w) said, “exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” [Bukhari]
Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha are wonderful times for gift giving, and, even better, times to put your creativity to use and to give gifts that are meaningful and beneficial for the recipient without spending too much time and money. Gifts for family and friends should not only involve thought, but should also be of benefit to the recipient for a day, year, or even a lifetime.
If you are not sure where to start, here are some great gift ideas that cost very little and that will be memorable and beneficial for your loved ones and, maybe, in shaa allah, help you and them earn good deeds throughout the rest of the year!
Buy a few packages of seeds. Herbs are always a good choice because they grow quickly and are not hard to maintain, plus they have many amazing health benefits (did you know that oregano has more antioxidants than any fruit or veggie? Subhan Allah!).
Find clean baby food jars or mini pots or pick up some cool mugs at a local thrift store. Buy a small bag of organic soil or use healthy dirt. Prepare the soil and use a wooden popsicle stick or sturdy twig and tie on a handmade “Have a Blessed EID!” card, identifying the seeds and a special note, like the following Hadith:
If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him. [Bukhari]
A Sweet Treat
You can easily create a baked goods jar with one of your favorite recipes for muffins, cookies, or cakes. Find clean jars or buy some mason jars, along with the dry ingredients needed to create your recipe. Measure the contents of each dry ingredient and layer them in the jar. Cover the top of the jar with some scrap cloth and ribbon, and include a handmade card with the recipe and a verse from Quran or Hadith.
A Cuppa Tea or Two
Once again, you can rely on your local thrift stores to find nice mugs for almost pennies. Grab a few boxes of some of your favorite teas and distribute them among each mug. Add some health benefits by using herbal teas like chamomile (relaxing and helps sleep), peppermint (cooling and helps inflammation and headaches), or ginger (which is good for digestion and stomach upset), in shaa allah. Look to buy honey in bulk if you have a local co-op and put some honey in small baby food jars that will fit inside of the mug with the tea bags on top. Again, include a handmade card with special reminders from Quran or Hadith.
Bounty of the Season
Maybe you have your own garden or know a local fruit and veggie stand or there’s a nearby farmers market you can visit. Find fresh and in-season fruits and veggies and a nice, large basket from a local thrift store. Fill the basket with the simply wonderful creations Allah (swt) has given us for the season, and share it with your friends and family. Again, it would be nice to tie a pretty ribbon or bow with a handmade card wishing blessings on your loved ones.
And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess. [Quran 6:141]
Provide a Feast
Even if you did not have the means to sacrifice and distribute meat to your friends and family and those in need, you can still provide them with a feast for Eid! Find fresh and local in season veggies and use them to compliment dry ingredients that can create a meal for a family.
Something like pasta would be simple, as you could include fresh tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and onions and include in the basket dry pasta noodles along with a few small packets of dried herbs like oregano, parsley, and basil along with your favorite recipe. Complete the meal with a nice, fresh loaf of bread from a local bakery. Again, use a nice basket or simply decorated box to deliver the parcel and don’t forget the blessings!
We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. [Quran 76:9]
For Muslimahs, it would be fun to organize a small get together of gift giving. Either buy, make, or recreate some of your head coverings or scarves and use it as a gift wrap for a small treat. Natural or organic soaps are nice, or you could use it to wrap small treats like your loved ones favorite baked goods, chocolate or candy (just make sure it is not too hot to melt!).
Again, include a nice handmade card and blessings. Make it even more special by gifting your favorites, or by gifting to a Muslimah who has not yet found the courage to cover, in shaa allah it will give her the motivation she needs!
Writing Well Wishes
Find some notebooks or planners without spiral binding, and get creative! Using a glue stick, you can cover the notebooks with wrapping paper, drawings, or even maps. On the inside, you can randomly select pages and write nice duas, and reminders from Quran and Hadith. You can even create matching bookmarks, or a pen to accompany it, and make it the perfect gift for a student or someone who likes to jot notes or write down thoughts to stay organized.
Once again, visit your local thrift store and find some nice picture frames. You can find some that are already decorated, or pick up buttons, beads, lace or ribbon, items from nature like twigs or pine cones, or anything that inspires your creativity to cover the frame.
Print (or write if you have nice handwriting) your favorite dua, quran verse, or hadith to serve as a reminder for your loved ones to hang in their home. When they see it and read it, in shaa allah it will serve as a reminder for them and you may both be rewarded.
The Prophet (saw) was reportedly asked: “Which of our companions are best?” He replied: “One whose appearance reminds you of God, and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the hereafter.” [al-Muhasibi]
EID for Children
You can easily make a small coloring book for children that shows the significance of Eid. Find black and white pictures that can correspond with feasting, gift giving, and sacrifice and include facts about Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha from hadith and Quran verses. Print out each picture and reminder and use a hole puncher so that you can use colorful yarn or ribbon to bind the pages.
Grab a large box of crayons and divide them up and include them with each coloring book. You can also include some treats, a few home baked cookies, and put it all in an envelope and watch their little faces light up, subhan Allah!
10. The Gift of Knowledge
Maybe you have friends or family that are not native Arabic speakers who really would like to start learning but don’t know where to begin. Visit Understand Quran Academy and pay just $10 for 30 days of access to the courses. Create a nice card, and include instructions in the card on how they can access this wonderful gift of learning! Whatever they learn will not only benefit you as the gifter, but also them as they gain understanding, and anyone else they are able to teach, masha Allah.
The Prophet (saw) said, “The best among you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it. [Bukhari]
Do not forget to include those who are in great need for your gift giving and feasting. Invite those who are less fortunate to eat, or provide them with the gift of a feast. Embrace new muslims who may not have anyone to celebrate with, and invite them to join in the festivities with your family and friends. Remember the sick and ill, and be sure to keep them in your prayers and dua, and make time to visit during these special days.
May Allah reward each and everyone for all things done that are good, help keep intentions pure, and provide the very best of opportunities to continue to do good by sharing His love and bounty!
Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward. [Quran 4:40]
Praying you will benefit.