Every culture has its own traditions and practices around death and grief. In Islam, there are several important funeral etiquette customs to follow when giving a sympathy gift to someone after a loss.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Islamic Sympathy Gift Etiquette
- Halal Sympathy Gift Basket or Food Ideas
- Islamic Remembrance or Memorial Sympathy Gift Ideas
- Other Islamic Bereavement Gift Ideas
While the sentiments behind condolences are similar in every culture, make sure your sympathy gift translates appropriately. The last thing you want to do is gift something offensive or inappropriate.
Taking the time to dote on someone who is experiencing grief or a tragedy is an act of kindness. To guide your gift search, here are the best simple Islamic sympathy gift ideas to send to a friend or loved one.
Islamic Sympathy Gift Etiquette
Knowing what to say to a Muslim loved one when someone dies is never easy, and a gift can help express the feelings that are hard to put into words. However, people of different religions have different perspectives on death and grief. It’s important to be mindful of these differences when planning your condolence gift.
First and foremost, simplicity is important in Muslim culture. It’s not appropriate to send anything expensive or extravagant, and many traditional Islamic families will decline these gifts. It’s also not appropriate to gift flowers. While there are often flowers at Islamic funerals, these are only purchased by the family.
After the death of a loved one, the immediate family in Muslim traditions enters a three-day mourning period. This is when most condolence gifts are given, and guests are typically welcome to the family home to comfort the family and offer support.
The most appropriate gift in Islamic funeral tradition is food. However, be mindful of specific dietary restrictions, and also coordinate with other guests who might be bringing food. Other than food, it’s often best to give simple gifts or a donation in honor of the deceased.
Halal Sympathy Gift Basket or Food Ideas
In Islam, halal is an Arabic word that means “lawful” or “permitted.” When used with food, it’s a dietary practice found in the Qur’an. Halal foods are any that are processed, made, produced, and manufactured according to Islamic law.
Many foods are not considered halal in the Islamic faith. Some of these are alcoholic drinks, pork, tallow, and carnivorous animals. Luckily, it’s possible to find sympathy food gifts that are halal, and these make perfect gifts after a loss.
1. Spoonful of Comfort
Spoonful of Comfort specializes in high-quality, comforting food gift baskets. Perfect for when you can’t be there in person, you can choose a Thinking of You food basket with the soup of your choice, Bacci rolls, cookies, and a personalized notecard.
2. Fruit basket
A fruit gift basket is an easy yet thoughtful way to say you’re sorry for someone’s loss. Harry & David has a variety of fruit-focused gift baskets you can send online, and these can be customized with extra treats, jams, and add-ons. Because fruit can easily be eaten on the go, this makes one of the best sympathy gifts.
3. Sweet and salty treats
Another idea is to gift a food gift basket with a mixture of sweet, salty, and savory. Olive & Cocoa has a ready-to-purchase gift basket with nuts, peanut brittle, milk chocolate pretzels, candy, and trail mix. Perfect for snacking all day long, this is a great choice.
4. Cookie sampler
Sweets are soothing to the soul, and they’re a go-to sympathy gift idea for almost any occasion. The Milk Bar Sampler from Milk Bar offers a selection of their best-selling treats and cookies for one flat fee. Include a custom message with your order to show your support when they need it the most.
5. Tea gift basket
Tea is a large part of Muslim culture, and it’s also a source of warming comfort. A tea gift basket is an easy gift idea, but it gives the bereaved family a bit of a pick-me-up when they’re going through a difficult time. This gift basket on Amazon is perfect for tea lovers, featuring honey, a candle, and other special additions.
Islamic Remembrance or Memorial Sympathy Gift Ideas
When it comes to sympathy gift ideas other than flowers, you have a lot of options. While food is the typical gift option after a death in Muslim culture, you can choose from a variety of memorial gift ideas depending on your wishes.
6. Sympathy card
Sometimes the best support you can give is your kind words. An Islamic sympathy card is a personalized, thoughtful way to be there for someone in need. Share your comfort, compassion, and a special memory about the deceased. Most importantly, be there for them.
7. Memorial frame
A memorial photo frame is a simple yet powerful gift idea. A high-quality, gorgeous frame is the perfect way for your recipient to share a special memory and honor someone’s life. Whether you choose a classic frame or something that matches their design taste, this is always an appropriate idea.
Memorial donations are a common form of sympathy gift in Muslim culture. They’re a way to selflessly give back, turning a tragedy into a cause for hope. Many Islamic families specify a charity they’d like to give to in lieu of flowers, but you can also ask to make sure you’re choosing the right cause.
Before giving money to a charity, use a tool like Charity Navigator to check the rating of the organization. You want this gift to have a real impact on the specific cause.
9. Prayer beads
If you’re close to the bereaved family, gifting misbaha or prayer beads might be appropriate. These are used to perform dhikr, a specific religious prayer. They’re seen as a way to relieve stress and anxiety, so this could be the right fit after a loss.
10. Framed quote
An inspiring quote also makes a powerful yet simple gift idea. This Etsy print by The Aria Code from the Qur’an encourages the recipient to look to the future. Though there might be hardships today, there is still trust through one’s faith. The quote from the Qur’an reads, “Verily with every hardship comes ease.”
Other Islamic Bereavement Gift Ideas
While the gifts above are a great form of remembrance, these sympathy gift ideas below help your recipient find peace and comfort after a loss.
11. Throw blanket
In Muslim culture, it’s important to give only simple bereavement gifts. This stems from the belief that all are equal before Allah. Another simple memorial gift idea is a throw blanket. Though simple, this is a universal symbol of comfort and compassion.
12. Poetry book
Poetry is the language of emotions. Though putting feelings of loss and grief into words isn’t always possible, healing is sometimes found through reading great works from poets of the past. The Persian philosopher and scholar Rumi writes frequently on life and grief, so his work makes a great sympathy gift.
While gifting food is a great idea, sometimes the bereaved just needs someone to handle the big chores. Buying groceries for the family means they don’t have to worry about having fresh, easy to prepare food. In addition, stocking up on toiletries and essentials takes one more thing off their plate.
14. Gift card
When in doubt, a gift card, paired with a heartfelt message, is an effective gift idea. This can be a gift card for a meal out, the grocery store, or coffee. No matter your choice, it helps them ease a bit of the burden they carry after a loss. Any gift that makes the recipient’s life easier is a smart option.
15. Your presence
Last but not least, sometimes the best way to show support isn’t through a physical gift at all. While gifts are thoughtful and kind, many people just want to know their friends and family support them after a loss. Being present at the funeral and in the weeks and months after is the absolute best way to honor someone’s life and legacy.
Choose the Right Islamic Sympathy Gift
Gift-giving truly is an art form, and it’s normal to have some anxiety about finding the “perfect” gift idea, especially after a recent loss. If your relative, friend, or colleague recently lost someone, honoring their memory with a gift idea like the above is a way to be there for them.
However, if they’re a practicing Muslim, be mindful of their religious beliefs when choosing. Not only do you not want to offend them during this time, but you want to make sure this is a gift they actually can use. Like all things in life, it’s always the thought that counts. As long as your heart is in the right place with your gift idea, they’re sure to appreciate you thinking of them.