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Gifting flowers on a happy occasion

Question

There is a trend nowadays, that when there is a happy occasion like a birth, wedding, graduation, etc, flower arrangements are ordered and given as gifts. The flower arrangements are quite expensive. The more stylish the arrangement, the higher the price. When we intervene and try explaining that rather spend the money in more constructive avenues, the following Hadith is then presented as a proof.

It has been reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘He who is presented with a flower should not reject it, for it is light to carry and pleasant in odour (fragrance).’

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2253)

 

Is this Hadith being used in the right context? What is the correct understanding? What about investing the amount of money spent on flower arrangements in a more constructive avenue, as it will eventually end up being thrown away?

 

Answer

The Arabic word ريحان is what has been translated in the above Hadith to mean “flower”. A more accurate translation however, is “sweet-scented flower”.

‘Allamah Bajuri (rahimahullah) has explicitly mentioned that the word ريحان can refer to any type of sweet-scented flower such as roses, henna blossoms, peppermint, etc.

In other narrations, the word طيب, meaning “scent” or “perfume”, has also appeared.

The commentators of Hadith have mentioned that this Hadith could be referring to both the gifting of sweet-scented flowers as well as scents/perfumes (such as ‘itr).

Based on the above explanation, this Hadith could potentially be used to justify the gifting of specifically those flowers that have a sweet scent. Furthermore, it should be noted that this Hadith does not negate the permissibility of gifting unscented flowers; It merely addresses sweet-scented ones.

(References for all of the above: Ikmalul Mu’lim, Hadith: 2253, An-Nihayah fi Gharibil Hadith, Letters: ريحان, Al-Mufhim, Hadith: 2122, Al-Minhaj, Hadith: 5844, Sharh Ibn Raslan, Hadith: 4172, Ad-Dibaj, Hadith: 2253, Mirqat, Hadith: 3016, Faydul Qadir, Hadith: 8849, and Shamail Tirmidhi with the commentary of Al-Bajuri, Hadith: 221)

 

Notes:

1. Extravagance is impermissible at all costs. Using the above Hadith to justify extravagance in flower arrangements is erroneous.

2. This is merely an explanation regarding the text of the aforementioned Hadith. For further queries regarding whether or not the issue of israf (extravagance) will arise, kindly refer to a Mufti/Darul Ifta.

 

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Farhan Shariff

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar