Question

As we approach the year end, many of fellow graduating students give gifts to their teacher. This trend is now picking up in other classes as well and students of all level give some gift or the other to their teachers. Sometime the teachers even take these before the final examination. Is this practice permissible?

Answer:

Bismillāhi Taʿala,

Waʿlaikum Assalām Waraḥmatullāh,

Gifts are intended to show one’s happiness for the person being gifted to. Hence if the students are not being pushed into giving these gifts, and are happy giving them to their teachers, then there should be nothing harmful in it.

However, if the custom catches on so much that students start to forget the purpose of a gift and instead start making it into a status symbol, then the same desirable action will become disliked.

Similarly, if the teacher perceives that the trend is negatively nurturing the children into boasting about their gifts or looking down on those students who do not give gifts, then it is his duty to stop such a trend by force, and re-instill the proper etiquettes of gifting.

It is also perceived at times that the teachers themselves start favoring those students who are known to give these gifts and start discriminating other. This is absolutely unbecoming of a nurturing teacher.

Finally, the teacher must keep in mind that even if none of the above negative factors are found in taking gifts, then too, accepting gifts just before the final exams will send out a disturbing vibe. When a particular student does better in the test, other students will talk about it and say that his better marks are because of the gift received by the teacher. There is no reason for the teacher to give scope to such malicious thoughts.

Among my teachers, it was their habit to refuse gifts prior to the exams. Instead they would tell the students to wait until they have received their result card in their hand. At that time, if they feel the love for the teacher so much as to give him gift, then they may approach the teacher.

Wallāhu Aʿlam,

Wassalamu ʿalaykum, 

Mufti Faisal al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca