Why give an Eidee, when you can give
an Eid Gift?
by Sound Vision Staff Writer
It is narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) that Rasulullah (peace
and blessings be upon him) said: Exchange presents with one another, for they
remove ill feelings from the hearts (Tirmidhi).
The dollar bills kept rolling in.
Some gave me fives, others tens and others still, twenties. I just kept adding
them to my stash. It was Eid after all, and I was getting my Eidee.
Eidee, in some Muslim cultures, is money given as a gift to children on Eid
instead of a present, like a toy.
For me, growing up, Eid was a day to dress in fancy clothes, pray in a big hall,
maybe go to someone's house or invite someone over, and then collect the same
bills (minus inflation) year after year and later give them to my parents.
As a child, I really had no value for the bills. While the initial excitement
of getting $10 and $20 is fun (as a child, I considered them a LOT of money),
it eventually wears off. In the end, they're just pieces of paper with dead
presidents or prime ministers on them.
Like many Muslim kids, I received Eidee, but rarely Eid gifts. The experience
didn't scar me emotionally, but Eid became another day of the year, as opposed
to the festive occasion it is supposed to be.
It's just easier to pull out $10 or more, instead of spending tiring hours in
shopping centers and toy stores hunting for gifts.
There are definite advantages to giving a gift to a child instead of Eidee.
First, when children see their non-Muslim classmates, particularly those who
celebrate Christmas, receiving gifts on the holiday, there is a potential to
feel left out. Gift-giving allows the child to show and tell their friends about
what they received during Eid. This also provides an excellent Dawa opportunity
to explain what Eid is and the importance of the day for Muslims, even kids.
Second, giving a gift to a child or anyone else indicates you felt they were
important enough to merit the time and trouble it took to find something appropriate.
Third, children, in general, value 'kid stuff' more than dollar bills. They
will remember the gift longer than the money you may have given them.
However, Eid gifts should not become a competition amongst parents and children
for the latest $100 or more doll or truck. Allah does not love extravagance.
"And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskeen (poor who beg) and
to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.
Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the devils, and the Devil (Satan) is ever
ungrateful to his Lord." (Quran: 17:26 and 27).
Also consider this Hadith in Muslim. Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (peace
and blessings be upon him) said: "Three things please Allah and three displease
Him. It pleases Him that you should worship Him without associating anything
with Him and that you should hold fast to the rope of Allah all together without
being divided. It displeases Him that you should indulge in much talk and much
asking and in wasting money."
Our spending must be moderate, and in line with what we can afford. Having to
take on a second job or borrow money to buy presents, as is the case with some
people when it comes to Christmas shopping, reflects an unhealthy and dangerous
attitude towards gift-giving.
You may think it's too late to get Eid presents for the kids now. No problem.
Start saving and planning for next Eid, Insha Allah. Then when you've given
Aminah or Saeed their gifts watch their faces and compare: which made them happier,
the well-thought out gift they wanted, or the ten dollars it took you seconds
to whip out of your wallet?
© 2002 Sound Vision Foundation, Inc.
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