Can one keep a gift which one intended to give to someone before actually giving it to them?

Q. I ordered a watch for my wife online. I paid for it. After payment, but before delivery, she abandoned the marital home in defiance of my wish for her to remain. In her absence, the watch was delivered to me. The marriage ended in divorce without the wife returning. Must the watch be given to her or can I retain it?

A. The general conditions of a valid gift entail an offer by the donor, acceptance by the donee and transferral of ownership to the donee.

In the enquired situation, neither of the above conditions were found, as there was no offer made by the donor of the watch to the donee, nor was there an acceptance by the donee, or transferral of ownership to the donee.

Hence, the watch belongs to you and you have the full right of ownership over it. Therefore, you may do as you wish with it.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa