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ISLĀM CONDEMNS PROFESSIONAL BEGGING



By
Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

One of the ways of discouraging the shameful attitude of begging that is rampant in our society is to stop condoning habitual beggars. There is clear difference between a needy and an unrepentant and greedy beggar who has become a professional in the act of begging. 

Hamza ibn 'Abdullah b. Umar رضي الله عنهما said he heard his father saying that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: The person would continue begging from people till he would come on the Day of Resurrection and there would be no flesh on his face. [Saheeh Muslim]

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه is also reported to have heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying: It is better for one among you to bring a load of firewood on his back and give charity out of it (and satisfy his own need) and be independent of people, than that he should beg from people, whether they give him anything or refuse him. Verily the upper hand is better than the lower hand, and begin (charity) with your dependants. [Saheeh Muslim]

Last Friday, before the commencement of our khutbah (sermon), a man came to me asking for permission to allow him to beg members of the congregation for help. I categorically told him that "there is no room for begging in our masjid. The only thing we can do is to give you part of the sadaqah we are able raise for the masjid after the prayer". After the solaah, I called him and asked him what his main problem was, he said he was sick. I said " no problem, we have a brother who is a doctor". I told him to come back by maghrib time when the doctor is likely to be around. And we gave him money for transport and feeding. 

When we later met the doctor, he explained the nature of his sickness, and the doctor took a paper and biro inside his car. He prescribed some drugs to him based on his complaints. We took money from the account of the masjid to buy the drugs for him and he also got a gift of uncooked rice given by a servant of Allah. He was very happy and he prayed for us.

Who knows, if we had allowed him to beg for money and he was able to get something meaningful, shaytan might instill in him the confidence to go to other masaajid to beg for more. I have seen cases where a someone would beg at a masjid and after some weeks, you will find him at another masjid with the same complaint.

Let's begin to discourage begging by asking for people's need before giving them anything. If the person is hungry, buy food for him if you can afford it. If he needs money for treatment, help him if you can based on proper verification. 

Some beggars only need money to take intoxicants and they can go to any length in asking people. You can help them by giving them their immediate needs and not necessarily money. Some beggars have become very rich in the begging profession. Yet, they continue to beg. This act is shameful and degrading. Some people also do "fine bara". It is not wrong to ask people for help. But it should be in a very tight situation where there is no other alternative. One of the salaf was reported to have said: 

I have tasted many bitter things, but I have not seen something as bitter as taking one's problem to another person. 

May Allah protect us against abject poverty and wretchedness.


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