…Muslims should develop a strong and responsible work ethic. We should do our best to provide for ourselves and others, rather than relying upon the charity of others. We should not beg unless it is absolutely necessary, but even then we should answer the request of the beggar.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His assistance and we seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides there is none who can misguide him, and whomever Allah misguides there is none who can guide him. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone without any partners, and I testify that Muhammad (SAW) is Allah’s slave and Messenger.
“O you who have believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except in a state of Islam (as Muslims), with complete submission to Allah.” (Ali Imran, 3:102)
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve) and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut off the relations of the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-watcher over you.” (An-Nisa’, 4:1)
“O you who have believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (saved from the Hell fire and enter paradise).” (Al-Ahzaab, 33:70-71)
As to what proceeds:
Verily the best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). The worst of affairs are the newly invented affairs in the religion and every newly invented affair in the religion is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.
As to what proceeds:
Servants of Allah!
Know that, Islam calls us to be responsible to our community and to work hard to provide benefit to others, rather than relying upon begging for charity.
Abdullah bin Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him said:
“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of the people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects: a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for his subjects, a woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and of his children and is responsible for them, and the slave of a man is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. Surely, every one of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock.” (Sahih Bukhari 6719)
Brothers and Sisters!
One of the ways we can be responsible is to provide for others and to instill within ourselves a strong work ethic. It is far better for a Muslim to earn his own living and provide for his family than to rely upon the charity of others.
Abu Hurairah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, said:
“By him in whose hand is my soul, if one of you were to carry a bundle of firewood on his back and sell it that would be better for him than begging a man who may or may not give him anything.” (Sahih Bukhari 1401)
Providing charity for others is far better than receiving and relying on charity yourself.
Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“The upper hand is better than the lower hand, the upper hand being the one that gives and the lower hand being the one that receives.” (Sahih Muslim 1033)
The Prophets and Messengers of Allah were the best examples of self-sufficiency, hard work, and responsibility. For example, the Prophet Dawud (David), upon him be peace, would never eat a meal unless he earned it himself.
Abu Hurairah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Dawud (David) would never eat except from the earnings of his own hand’s work.” (Sahih Bukhari 3235)
Dawud (David) would work with his own hands even though he was king of the Israelites. He could have lived a life of luxury and ease, but rather he set for us an excellent example of responsibility and hard work.
Likewise, the Prophet Zakariyyah (Zechariah), upon him be peace, earned his living as a humble carpenter.
Abu Hurairah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Zakariyyah (Zechariah), upon him be peace, worked as a carpenter.” (Sahih Muslim 2379)
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would also serve himself and perform chores for his family, rather than having others work for him.
Aisha reported: She was asked:
“What did the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, do in his house?” Aisha said: “The Prophet was a man among men. He would remove fleas from his clothes, milk his sheep, and serve himself.” (Musnad Ahmad 25662)
In this regard, the Prophet would frequently ask Allah for the means to be self-sufficient.
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“O Allah I ask you for guidance, righteousness, abstinence and independence.” (Sahih Muslim 2721)
For those who are struggling to meet their needs, it is a virtue to give them charity but it is even better to give them the means to support themselves, as in the popular saying:
“Feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
On one occasion, a man came to the Prophet begging him for charity but the Prophet gave him the means to work for himself.
Anas ibn Malik reported:
“A man from the Ansar came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and begged from him. The Prophet asked: “Have you nothing in your house?” He replied, “Yes, a piece of cloth, a part of which we wear and a part of which we spread on the ground, and a wooden bowl from which we drink water.” The Prophet said: “Bring them to me.” He then brought these articles to him and he took them in his hands and asked: “Who will buy these?” A man said, “I will buy them for two coins.” He said twice or thrice: “Who will offer more than one coin?” A man said, “I will buy them for two coins.” He gave these to him and took the two coins and giving them to the helper, the Prophet said: “Buy food with one of them and hand it to your family, and buy an axe and bring it to me.” He then brought it to him. The Prophet fixed a handle on it with his own blessed hands and said: “Go gather firewood and sell it, and do not let me see you for a fortnight.” The man went away and gathered firewood and sold it. When he had earned ten coins, he came to him and bought a garment with some of them and food with the others. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, then said: “This is better for you than that begging, it should come as a spot on your face on the Day of Judgment. Begging is right only for three people: for one who is in grinding poverty, or for one who is in severe debt, or for a painful compensation for killing.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 1641)
My respected people!
Begging without a strong valid excuse is a major sin in Islam and there is no blessing in the charity one receives from such begging.
Mu’awiyah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Do not be persistent in begging. By Allah, if one of you asks me for something and I give it to him unwillingly, then there is no blessing in what I have given him.” (Sahih Muslim 1038)
Begging for charity is only permissible in cases of dire need such as overcoming a large debt, experiencing a calamity, or suffering in extreme poverty.
Qabisa ibn Mukhariq reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“O Qabisa, begging is not lawful except for one of three cases: a man who is in heavy debt, so begging is permissible for him until he pays it, after which he must stop; a man whose property is destroyed by a calamity, so begging is permissible for him until he can support himself; and a man who is afflicted by poverty attested to by three astute members of his people, so begging is permissible for him until he can support himself. O Qabisa, besides these three begging is forbidden and the beggar consumes what is forbidden.” (Sahih Muslim 1044)
For this reason, the Prophet taught the Companions not to beg and not to ask others for charity. In fact, this was part of the pledge of allegiance some of the Companions made to the Prophet.
Awf ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Will you not give your pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah?” Someone said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have already given you our pledge, so what are we pledging to now?” The Prophet said: “That you worship Allah and do not associate any partners with Him, that you pray for five prayers, that you listen and obey (the leaders), and that you do not ask people for anything.” (Sahih Muslim 1043)
The companions were so careful to obey this command that they would not ask for help even in small matters.
Awf ibn Malik said:
“Indeed, some of those people obeyed this to the extent that if his whip were to fall from his mount, he would not ask anyone to hand it to him.”
It is not necessary for Muslims to go so far, but this demonstrates how seriously the companions took this command.
Servants of Allah!
Despite the injunctions against begging, we should answer the request of the sincere beggars and give them charity, for the Prophet never refused anyone who asked him in the name of Islam.
Musa ibn Anas reported:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was never asked anything for the sake of Islam but that he would give it. He gave a man large numbers of sheep so the man went back to his people and said: O people become Muslim because Muhammad gives as if he has no fear of poverty.” (Sahih Muslim 4275)
Gamji Dan kwarai, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto follows the above teaching and succeeded.
The Prophet would even give charity to beggars who were rude and disrespectful.
Anas ibn Malik reported:
“I was walking with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while he was wearing a Najrani sheet with a thick border. A desert Arab overtook the Prophet and forcibly pulled his clothes. I looked at the shoulder of the Prophet and I saw that the edge of his shirt had left a mark because of the strength of his pull. The man said: O Muhammad, order them to give me something from Allah’s wealth which you have! The Prophet turned and he smiled, then he ordered that he be given charity.” (Sahih Bukhari 5738)
In summary, Muslims should develop a strong and responsible work ethic. We should do our best to provide for ourselves and others, rather than relying upon the charity of others. We should not beg unless it is absolutely necessary, but even then we should answer the request of the beggar.
Wallahu ‘Alam wa bihi at-tawfiq
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, his family and all his Companions.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul Hijjah 28, 1437 AH (September 30, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. The Imam can be reached via: +234 803 828 9761.