As millions of Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr all over the country, a group of Muslims shared their joy and happiness with non-Muslims by gifting them boxes of sweets. Over 200 volunteers from all walks of life, across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mysore, Surat, Mumbai, and other cities distributed gifts to public servants and bystanders on the day of Eid to celebrate the festival that symbolises sharing and gratitude.
The group, which came together under the campaign called ‘Gifting Sunnah’ reached out to over 20,000 public servants including police, pourakarmikas, bus drivers, auto drivers, railway station staff, security guards and others and handed out sweet boxes which had ‘Eid Mubarak’ written on it.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and translates as “the festival of breaking of the fast”. Muslims celebrate Eid by visiting families, embracing them with love and sharing gifts.
The ‘Gifting Sunnah’ campaign was initiated in 2018, by Bengaluru-based social activist Tanveer Ahmed. “There is a great deal of stress on gifting in Islam. It is one of the practices or sunnah of our Prophet, who encouraged it for promotion of mutual love and affection. That’s the reason we call it ‘Gifting Sunnah’”, he said.
“I thought about this idea last year and shared it with a group of friends on WhatsApp. Soon, friends, family members, and complete strangers got associated with the idea”.
Tanveer said that last year, they distributed over 4000 gift boxes in Bengaluru, and the initiative was so well received that people from other places contacted him and his friends and started the campaign in their cities.
His team formed a separate WhatsApp group for every city and assigned team leaders to undertake the task. After offering their Eid prayers, teams each comprising of 2-3 members with boxes of sweets went around government offices and prominent streets to distribute the gifts.
“Our team of two women offered sweets to an old man. He was initially very hesitant until he learnt that it was from a popular sweet shop, and we just wanted to share our Eid happiness with people of other faiths. He instantly burst out in tears of joy,” said Shafia Kauser one of the volunteers of Gifting Sunnah.
Another volunteer said, “A couple of men were cleaning sewage from a manhole in the middle of the road… we stopped and offered them, sweets…a couple of degree students were passing by…they saw this got emotional and voluntarily came forward and hugged us (sic)”.
Volunteers across cities expressed similar experinces.