How does Islam view begging?
Our religion commands and encourages working and views it as a high virtue; it forbids and disapproves laziness and begging.
It is the duty of a Muslim to give food to the poor and to offer the one who asks for something. However, begging, which impairs human honor and virtue, shatters personality and leads to the exploitation of benevolent people’s pure feelings, is regarded as an ugly act.
The Prophet stated that it is permitted to ask for something for only three categories of people. They are as follows: the people who are indebted because of acting as a guarantor for a person or a community and cannot pay their debts; people all of whose property was destroyed in a disaster; and people who became destitute and whose poverty is acknowledged by people who know them. It is not regarded permissible for people other than those who have a day’s food and the strength to work for livelihood to beg. (Muslim, Zakat, 109)
The Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, regarded begging which is taken as an occupation as disgrace and said:
“Some among you do not ever abandon begging. Finally, on the Day of Resurrection, that dishonorable person will meet Allah with no flesh left on his face.” (Muslim, Zakat, 103)
“Whoever continues to beg people for their property in order to accumulate much property, surely asks for a piece of fire…” (Muslim, Zakat, 105).
“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 (Muslim, Zakat, 107)
Islam does not deem Muslims who do not work, who sit idly, make do with a morsel and a coat, and who pose burden on other Muslims as good Muslims. As is understood in the hadiths above, it is strictly forbidden to beg and to take begging as an occupation.
Begging is no more than laziness and manipulating philanthropic feelings of the community. Such people do not even abstain from interpreting the idea of tawakkul (putting one’s trust in God) according to themselves. They deem it tawakkul to sit back idly and expect some things from others.
There is no other religion or moral system which teach humans the ways to preserve their integrity, morality and honor as much as Islam does. In Islam, the future of the community and its honor and integrity are important; similarly the honor of one’s self is important and must absolutely be preserved. Each Muslim is responsible to preserve that valuable trust. So, in order to preserve that trust, people are shown all the ways of virtue and are commanded to abstain from evil.
Each evil takes away certain things from one’s self and honor. And the situation of those begging without any need is even worse. It is because they cause their honor and respectability to decay and cause themselves to fall into the pit of spiritual bankruptcy. For this reason, Islam, which strongly commands helping the destitute and the weak, did forbid those who are not poor and are not in need from begging, just as strongly.
While The Prophet (PBUH) tried to keep Muslims away from such an evil as begging on the one hand, on the other hand, he advised them to work and he wanted no Muslim to prefer the ignominy of begging to the honor of working for one’s livelihood.
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