The royal custom of gift-giving in Arab and Muslim culture

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While the bisht awarded to Messi probably didn’t cost more than $2000, the fact that one Omani lawyer has since offered up to $1 million for the cloak reveals a lot about thestatus of gifts in Arab culture. The reason for this inflated price is simple: it’s a gift from the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to one the most decorated footballers for generations. Such a gift now acquires the status of a “robe of honour”. Yet this is nothing new. Gifts from nobles and kings have always been appreciated in Arab and Muslim cultures. “The noble or the king would ‘take off’ his own coat and …

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