My question is:
Is it permissible for me to accept these gifts? They do not give them to me by way of a bribe; rather it is by way of kindness and as a friendly gesture. What is the ruling if these gifts are haraam? What should I do with regard to the gifts I have accepted in the past? Is there any expiation for that? Do I have to return them? I do not remember exactly how many those gifts were. These mothers also sometimes make food and give me some of it when I am in their houses; is it permissible for me to eat this food? I am confused and I need advice.
If you are teaching these children outside of regular school and you do not have any authority over them with regard to their grades or their passing or failing, then there is nothing wrong with you teaching them in their homes and the gifts that they give you are also permissible, whether they are in the form of food or other things.
But if you are teaching them in school, it is not permissible for you to accept these gifts from their mothers, because that comes under the heading of bribes.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
It is not permissible for the teacher to accept a gift from the student, because this comes under the general meaning of the hadeeth narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad: “Gifts to workers are ghulool (wealth stolen from the war booty or the bayt al-maal of the Muslims).” And because gifts create love, as it says in the hadeeth: “Exchange gifts with one another, you will love one another.” And if the teacher’s love for this student increases, there is the fear that she may show favouritism. So the teacher has to refuse the gift and say: I cannot accept it.
End quote from Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, 225/16
The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked:
I am a teacher in a school for eradicating illiteracy. Halfway through the school year, when the results are done and certificates are distributed, I receive a number of gifts which I accepted after they insisted and threatened to become upset in some cases. What is the ruling on that? Is it permissible for me to accept them? Is it is regarded as a bribe?
They replied: Giving gifts to teachers in regular schools – government schools or otherwise – comes under the heading of bribes and it is not permissible to give them or accept them.
The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) forbade gifts to workers. It is narrated from him in a saheeh hadeeth from Abu Humayd as-Saa‘idi (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “Gifts to workers are ghulool (wealth stolen from the war booty or the bayt al-maal of the Muslims).”. Narrated by Ahmad and others.
End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 23/582-583
And Allah knows best.