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Last Updated: 2013/10/20
Summary of question
Is bringing souvenirs or gifts on returning from a pilgrimage journey considered to be part of religious recommendations?
question
When a person comes back from performing any kind of the hajj (minor or major hajj or any other hajj that may exist) rituals etc. and he or she brings back gifts etc e.g. Mohrs (prayer rock), prayer beads, Quran, perfume and the likes, is this out of Islamic tradition, or culture or is it something that the Prophet and his household did?? If it is something that the Prophet and his household did, is it wajib or mustahab?? What is the reason behind doing this? Please explain.
Concise answer
Among the good practices recommended and emphasized upon in Islam is to give gifts to others. It is to be noted that the concept of gift has a much broader meanings in Islam as it includes both the material and spiritual gifts. Among the gifts are the ones brought by pilgrims back home for relatives, friends, children and acquaintances. Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, has been reported as having said that gifts purchased during Hajj journey is considered to be part of the Hajj expenses.
«عَنْ أَبِی عَبْدِ اللَّهِ (ع) قَالَ: الْهَدِیَّةُ مِنْ نَفَقَةِ الْحَجِ»[1]
Hence, it is recommended to take home a souvenir from every journey, especially a Hajj journey but it is not mandatory.  Indeed, what is important to be taken into account is that one should be moderate in terms of purchasing and giving gifts to his relatives and friends. He should avoid being extravagant, excessive and wasteful and leave aside what may be looked at as pure rivalry among friends and relatives.
 

[1] Kulaini, Muhammad bin Ya'qub, al-Kafi, researched and edited by: Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Akhundi, Muhammad, vol.4, p. 208, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H.
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