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Begging

AHADITH ON BEGGING

Abu Hurairah (RAA) reported that the messenger of Allah (SAW) said what translated means: “By He in Whose hand my soul is (i.e, by Allah), it is better for one of you to take a rope, cut firewood and carry it on his back (as a means of making a living) than to ask others (for charity) whether they give it to him or withhold it from him. ” Al-Bukhari

Abu Hurairah (RAA) reported that the messenger of Allah (SAW) said what translated means: “The destitute (miskeen) is not one who goes around begging from people and desists when given a morsel or two. The destitute is a person who does not have enough for his sustenance, yet people do not realize that (his needy condition) so as to give him in charity, and he does not ask people (for charity). ” Al-Bukhari

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TO BEG OR NOT TO BEG, THAT IS THE QUESTION

By Um Amir

My friend Asma and I had dinner at her parents house one night, and she told me a story about her recent discovery.

Asma’s family emigrated to a western country in the 1970’s. She described her mother and father at the time as being highly idealistic and principled. Too high to a fault, according to Asma. Her parents firmly admitted, “Oh, Yes ofcourse! Subhanallah, we had to be! In order to maintain our integrity as a Muslim family moving from place to place, meeting new people with different value systems from us.” They said, “We made it a point to always avoid giving hints to other people that we were in need, because only Allah can relieve us of this burden and no one else needed to know. Since we were able and bodied, we made a promise to each other, as husband and wife, never to ask anyone for financial help, other than Allah.” So with this promise, off they went with their two children to a foreign country in search of livelihood.

Asma told me she never understood what her parents used to teach her– of not asking anyone for material things even in dire need. She remembers her mother and father turning down offers from family friends to house them when they first arrived in the country, a decision which consequently led them to live in the red light district of a city for about a week. And, later in her childhood, her mother would scold her, if not ground her, for borrowing money from other Muslims at school. Asma just could not comprehend such harshness when it came to material issues. Asma used to say, “After all, we are all Muslims, and Muslims should help each other.” Despite her lack of understanding, she tried her best to uphold her parents’ teaching throughout her entire life.

Twenty some years later, now with children of her own, her daughter’s 9 year-old friend approached Asma after school to ask “Can you give me a purse just like your daughter’s? And that scarf just like the one she wore on Thursday??” In a split second, Asma felt as if she was frozen back in time, remembering what her parents used to tell her about asking from others. Stunned, Asma could not respond.

For some here in the west, perhaps there is nothing wrong with asking things from other people. Here, a child says what she feels like saying, and a child expresses “wants” whenever she feels like wanting, no matter what.

In the east, however, it is the exact opposite. Because even if a person does not fear Allah in what he says, he would have the fear of shaming himself and some 5,000-member clan by the very words he utters. The faux pas of begging is never accepted, and never excused. The whole town will hear about it! Thus, Asma had a tendency to understand the issue of begging as a cultural one, not an Islamic one.

Yet, Asma felt strange, somewhat disgusted by what the young girl said. Such behavior struck the wrong cord, the cord of bringing disrespect and lowliness to oneself and the girl’s family. She had the desire to tell the young girl that she might be embarrassing her parents by making such requests, but Asma found herself brain twisted to even explain to herself why the young girl was wrong. “Perhaps it was nothing but some east-versus-west clash of cultures.” she muttered to herself.

Another unrelated incident reminded her of the same thing a few weeks later.

One night a sister invited Asma for dinner. The woman complained of a man (without naming him) who had been consistently asking her husband money for the past four months. Even though her family had not suffered from this, they were still extremely agitated because they knew the man was physically able to solve his financial problems. She relates that the man telephones her husband when it’s time to pay the rent, and he hints to other brothers about his wife and children not being able to eat or see a doctor just so he could take out long-term loans from them. Apparently, the man chooses to lounge around at home, reading books on Islam and claims to be doing ‘dawah’, instead of working. The woman complaining to Asma was so angry that she refused to have her children play with this man’s children. The woman described the innocent little ones with utter disdain. “Parasites” she remarked to Asma.

Asma tried to change the subject. She knew the woman had gone much too far with her words. By this time, however, Asma was beginning to realize the effects of begging. “What caused this woman to be so angry? What caused this man to bring such shame to himself and his innocent children?” she thought to herself.

Then, these thoughts crossed Asma’s mind, “Begging? Hmm, well, it’s not really begging. Because begging is…? ….. when people go down on their hands and knees and say ‘pretty pretty please with cherry on top??!’ Perhaps this was another incident of culture clash? Or a mere indication of the woman’s ill feelings towards another Muslim?”

As Asma began to focus back in on the conversation, she could hear the woman’s last remarks, “Such arrogance! He EXPECTS (not just hope) that Allah will relieve him of his burdens, by using other people. Such foolishness! What kind of dawah is that? If he really knew Islam, he would know not to expect, but instead rush to make use of his shoulder strength to provide for his family, NOT my husband’s shoulder strength to provide for his wife and children! A Muslim should hope in the reward of Allah, RIGHT? not act as if Allah and the whole of mankind owes him something, as if he was the gift to humanity.”

Asma went home disturbed. “How can people say such things about each other?!? And, how can a Muslim man ask someone else to take over the responsibility Allah has given him just so he can study more Arabic? How can he even call himself a man?”

After praying Isha’ , Asma looked for the ayah about the miskeen (the poor, the needy). There she read as Allah says in the Qur’an “(Charity is) for the fuqara (the poor), who in Allah’s cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty. You may know them by their mark, they do not beg of people at all. And whatever you spend in good, surely Allah knows it well.” (2:273)

The matter was becoming clear to Asma. She dug in further onto the tafseer that mentions several ahadeeth, one of which reads: Hakeem Ibn Hizaam (ra) once related “I asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW) for charity and he gave me. And Again I asked and he gave me. Once again I asked and he gave me, and said ‘OH Hakeem! Verily this wealth is like a sweet fresh fruit, whoever takes it without greediness is blessed in it and whoever takes it with greediness is not blessed in it, just like the person that eats yet is never satisfied; and the upper hand is better than the lower hand.’ Hakeem said, ‘Ya rasulullah! by the One who sent you with the truth I shall not accept anything from anybody after you until I leave this world.'”

This was such, that when Abu Bakr (ra) used to call Hakeem (ra) to give him his portion of the war booty, he would refuse. Likewise, Umar (ra) would call him to give him his share but he (ra) would also refuse. It was well known that Hakeem Ibn Hizaam (ra) never took from anybody until he died.

With the act of begging, comes humiliation. With the act of begging, one opens the door for the shaitan to break friendships and tarnish brotherhood with ill feelings. With begging, one brings injustice to others and most importantly to the self, for Allah did not create us with one hand, one leg, sealed mouths and blocked ears. Allah created us with faculties to use for the struggle in this life.

Laziness leads one to become a parasite. Being a parasite leads one to become greedy and unsatisfied with life. Greed leads to cowardice, and cowardice leads to lying. And, we know that a liar’s final destination is falsehood.

The prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam led Hakeem Ibn Hizaam (ra) to self-respect and contentment, and he (ra) followed with firmness by refraining from asking anybody anything.

At this juncture, Asma realized what it was her parents attempted to teach her and her sister some twenty years ago, and why they did so.

Only Allah is the One Most honored, and gives honor to His obedient slaves. May Allah azza wajal accept our repentance so that we may have the honor of meeting Him in the Hereafter. Ameen.

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THE IDEAL MUSLIMAH: BEGGING

Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi

Ch.10 The Muslim Woman And Her Community/Society

She Is Proud And Does Not Beg

One of the features that distinguish the Muslim woman who has truly understood the guidance of Islam is the fact that she is proud and does not beg. If she is faced with difficulties or is afflicted with poverty, she seeks refuge in patience and self-pride, whilst redoubling her efforts to find a way out of the crisis of poverty that has befallen her. It never occurs to her to put herself in the position of begging and asking for help, because Islam thinks too highly of the true Muslim woman to allow her to put herself in such a position. The Muslim woman is urged to be proud and independent and patient — then Allah (swt) will help her and give her independence and patience: “Whoever refrains from asking from people, Allah (swt) will help him. Whoever tries to be independent, Allah (swt) will enrich him. Whoever tries to be patient, Allah (swt) will give him patience, and no one is give a better or vaster gift that patience.”

The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of Islam knows that Islam has given the poor some rights over the wealth of the rich, who should give feely without reminders or insults. But at the time same, Islam wants the poor to be independent and not rely on this right. The higher hand is better than the lower hand, so all Muslims, men and women, should always work so that their hand will not be the lower one. That is more befitting and more honoring to them. So those men and women who have little should increase their efforts and not be dependent on charity and handouts. This will save them from losing face. Whenever he spoke from the minbar (pulpit) about charity and refraining from begging, the Prophet (saws) would remind the Muslims that, “The higher hand is better than the lower, the higher hand is the one that spends, whilst the lower hand is the one that begs.”

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BEGGING: DISGRACING THE DA’WAH TO BUILD A MASJID[*]

Shaykh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee (rahimahullaah)

Source: his book “Thamm al-Mas’alah” (p.5-8)

All praise is for Allaah, the Lord of all that exists. May Allaah raise the rank of our Messenger, and that of his family and companions. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allaah, who is alone and without partners. And I further testify that Muhammad was His slave and Messenger.

To proceed: From the greatest of Allaah’s Blessings upon a person is the blessing of wealth. By way of it family ties are maintained, and this is something that causes one to have a long life and financial prosperity, as he (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever would like to have his lifespan extended and his provisions increased, then let him maintain family ties.” This hadeeth is agreed upon (by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim), from the narration of Anas. Al-Bukhaaree also collected it from the narration of Aboo Hurayrah.

Furthermore, it is due to wealth, if a person spends it correctly and sincerely, that one attains a great reward. Allaah, the Glorified and Exalted, has said: (The example of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allaah is like a grain (of corn) that causes the growth of seven ears, each ear having 100 grains. And Allaah multiplies the reward of whomever He pleases, and Allaah is Sufficient (for all the creation’s needs), All-Knowing. Those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allaah, and do not follow up what they have given with reminders of their generosity or (other) harmful actions, their reward is with their Lord, no fear shall overtake them, nor shall they grieve. ) [1]

And Allaah, the Glorified and Exalted, has said: (Those who spend their wealth by night and by day, secretly and openly, will have their reward with their Lord, no fear shall overtake them, nor shall they grieve. ) [2] Using wealth can also win over those who have strayed or rebelled, as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam) used to give to people while they hated him (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam), and only a short time later he would become the most beloved of all the creation to them.

Such is the case of wealth! And there are two types of people who do not manage it properly:

[1]: The first kind are the businessmen who do not take proper care to spend it in the Islamically legislated ways. Perhaps some of them do not even pay zakaat, and others pay zakaat to other than the Islamically legislated recipients, supporting hizbiyyah (bigoted partisanship), that which has divided the Muslims and weakened them. The businessmen doing this do not even realize that they are cooperating with others in affairs of falsehood, and he may be helping to spread Soofiyyah (Sufism) or Tashay-yu’ (Shiism), two innovations that have stood as obstacles in the path of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam).

[2]: What is even uglier than this is what a student of knowledge may do. He wastes his time and disgraces the knowledge and the da’wah by going to the land of the Haramayn (Makkah and al-Madeenah), then on to Kuwait, and then Qatar, and on to Abu Dhabi… What is it with you, yaa Fulaan? He will say, “I have a debt,” or, “I want to build a masjid with housing for the imam (while he is the imam), I want a car for the da’wah, and I want to get married.”

Oh! Oh! Verily the search for knowledge that leads to begging has no goodness in it!

And had the people of knowledge safeguarded it (the knowledge), it would have safeguarded them, And if they had revered it, then they themselves would have become revered; But they disgraced it, so it disgraced (them), and they polluted Its reputation by acts of greed, ending up lowly and debased. And I have never seen anyone more focused on employing thievery tactics to get the people’s money than al-Ikhwaan al-Muflisoon… [3]

FOOTNOTES (by Abul-‘Abbaas):

[*] The title of this article is from the translator, and the article itself is taken from the introduction to the book “Thamm al-Mas’alah” (“The Dispraise of Begging”).

[1] a translation of the meaning of Soorah al-Baqarah (2):261-262, based on Ibn Katheer’s explanation

[2] a translation of the meaning of Soorah al-Baqarah (2):274

Part two:

…And I have never seen anyone more focused on employing thievery tactics to get the people’s money than al-Ikhwaan al-Muflisoon [3]. They make the people believe that every issue that they are raising money for is the very religion of Islam, and that if money is not raised for it, then disbelief will gain victory over Islam! This is the case with them, issue after issue; every time one issue ends (and the people find that it has had no effect in helping the Religion, instead it may have even disgraced the Religion), they occupy the people with yet another one.

Where are the fruits of these demonstrations of yours that you blindly follow the enemies of Islam in? And where are the fruits of the “Conference of Unity and Peace”? And where are the fruits of the taaghoot elections?

We say this out of sadness over what is happening to the Religion, and out of anguish over the realities of the affairs being twisted around, not that we are jealous of all the money they have gathered, as they will be questioned about that on the Day of Judgment.

And lastly, I advise those who are out of breath from their efforts to raise money: Allaah has already instructed the one who is not able to get married about what he is to do: (And let those who are not able to marry remain chaste until Allaah enriches them from His Favor. ) [4]

And in the two Saheehs (al-Bukhaaree and Muslim), on the authority of Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam) said: “O assembly of young men! Whoever of you is able to marry, then let him get married, as it is better for keeping your gazes lowered and your chastity protected. And whoever is not able, then upon him is fasting, as it is a kind of restraint (that keeps him from going after his desires).”

Just as I also advise the wealthy to assist him without him having to ask, so that he can dedicate himself fully to knowledge and teaching.

And the one who has debts: I advise him to work, so that Allaah takes care of his debts.

And similarly, for the sake of building a masjid, it is not permissible for someone to disgrace himself. It is not allowed to disgrace knowledge and the da’wah for the sake of building a masjid. When the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam) wanted to build a masjid, he said: “Give me a price for your property, O Banee an-Najjaar!” Meaning: so that a masjid can be built on it. They replied, “Rather, it is for Allaah and His Messenger.” [5]

It is possible to build a masjid with clay and bricks for about YR 100,000. [6] And the time you waste begging could be spent constructing the masjid, working in it, and inviting the people to work with their own hands. We are in no need of wealth that disgraces knowledge and the call to Allaah, or wealth that calls to hizbiyyah or turns the masjids into places of begging!

And O Allaah! How many great callers to Islam have you seen memorize the verses that encourage charity, going from masjid to masjid, (calling out):

(And whatever good (wealth) you put forth for your own selves, then you will find it with Allaah, better and more greatly rewarded. ) [7]

The poor individual has gone from being a caller to a beggar! And the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa ‘alaa aalihi wa sallam) spoke the truth when he said:

“Every nation has a trial, and the trial of my nation is money.” [8]

And look at these organizations of yours, those that are not allowed to operate except under certain stipulations: that they work under the Social Services’ supervision; that they hold elections in them; that they keep their money in a ribaa-based bank. With all of this, the people of such organizations try to trick the people, saying: “Is building masjids and wells and taking care of orphans haraam?” It is to be said to them: O you tricksters! Who told you that these things are haraam? What is haraam is hizbiyyah, splitting up the Muslims, and wasting your time begging!

And making ‘umrah in Ramadan has been changed into (a journey of) begging: O assembly of recitors, O salt of the land! What will rectify the salt, once the salt has gone bad?

FOOTNOTES:

[*] The title of this article is from the translator, and the article itself is taken from the introduction to the book “Thamm al-Mas’alah” (“The Dispraise of Begging”).

[3] The shaykh is referring to the sect: “Al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimoon” (the Muslim Brotherhood).

[4] a translation of the meaning of Soorah an-Noor (24):33

[5] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (428), Saheeh Muslim (1173), and others; on the authority of Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him). This was when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) first came to al-Madeenah. It is important to note that he did not ask them to give their property to build the masjid, while they were Muslims from the generous and capable Ansaar!

[6] 100,000 Yemeni riyals is currently less than $1000. However, in December of 1994 (close to the time when the shaykh wrote this), it may have been equivalent to up to $8000.

[7] a translation of the meaning of Soorah al-Muzzammil (73):20

[8] Sunan at-Tirmithee (2336), Musnad Ahmad (4/160), and others; on the authority of Ka’b ibn ‘Iyaadh (may Allaah be pleased with him). It was authenticated by at-Tirmithee, al-Haakim, Ibn Hibbaan, as mentioned by Ibn Hajr in Fat-hul-Baaree (11/295). See also: Silsilatul-Ahaadeethis-Saheehah (592).

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