Decency – Dr. Shawqi Abdelkarim

decency

Decency is defined as the state of contentment with whatever little one has and to appear rich with it despite being poor.They do not ask people persistently.

Certainly, Allah the Almighty is the sustainer and no person can either increase or decrease your sustenance. Therefore, a true Muslim is the one who firmly believes to the bottom of his heart such a concept. It builds a barrier against committing a prohibition which emerges from the human desire of increasing one’s gains which do not come through lawful means.

Such a tenet makes the one abstain from both prohibitions and begging from others. This is because he is confident that Allah the Exalted, has predestined his provision without resorting to trickery, “If the son of Adam flies to escape from his provision, it would go with the lightening until it reaches him”

Modesty is a basic Islamic virtue which is commanded in many places of the holy Qur`an as Allah says:

And whoever, [when acting as guardian], is self-sufficient should refrain [from taking a fee]; and whoever is poor – let him take according to what is acceptable. [al-Nisa`: 6].
Moreover, Allah praises those who enjoy this manner and highly recommends them when He says:

[Charity is] for the poor who have been restricted for the cause of Allah , unable to move about in the land. An ignorant [person] would think them self-sufficient because of their restraint, but you will know them by their [characteristic] sign. They do not ask people persistently [or at all]. And whatever you spend of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. [al-Baqarah: 273]

The Quranic confirmation on this wonderful characteristic which a Muslim must observe coincides with a prophetic confirmation on training the soul to such values.

Bukhari and Muslim included the narration of Abu Sa’id al-khudri [may Allah be pleased with him, that Some people of the Ansar; asked the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] and he gave them, they again asked him and he gave them until all what he possessed was exhausted. Then the Prophet [pbuh] said: “Whatever wealth I have, I will not withhold from you. Whosoever would be chaste and modest; Allah will keep him chaste and modest and whosoever would seek self-sufficiency, Allah will make him self-sufficient; and whosoever would be patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is granted a gift better and more comprehensive than patience”.

The Prophet [pbuh] regarded chastity as one of the values which, when attained by a Muslim, the whole good is attained. The Prophet [pbuh] said: “If you have four things, don’t worry about anything you missed in this world: Truthfulness in speech, preserving one’s trust, good conduct and purity of food.” In a different context, the Prophet [pbuh] said: “I was shown the first three to enter Paradise: the martyr, the one who is chaste and proud and the slave who worships Allah with devotion and is faithful and sincere towards his master.”

Certainly, it is a great status and praiseworthy attribute which we must be keen to adopt. The question is which chastity do we mean? Is it avoiding sins or abstaining from asking others without need?

I say, both kinds are involved here, because fasting as act of worship trains the one to abstain from desires that are objected by the organs. Fasting purifies the soul from these desires and trains it to chastity in order neither to look nor talk unlawfully.

The other meaning is one of the calamities widespread at the present time. Many people ask from people whether they need or not, streets, institutions and authorities have become full of beggars. We find several kinds of begging other than those we are aware of. This is because of the absence of chastity which preserves human dignity and modesty.

In this article, I’m concerned with deriving texts and evidences to address those who undertake begging as means of livelihood in the street, at work or through ways their doers think they wouldn’t be legally blameworthy.

Before delving into these texts, I would like to confirm that Islam encourages spending and giving charity within a framework that unites the Muslim community. The rich gives the poor and the poor regards the rich’s wealth as his own wealth, so he wouldn’t be envious. This way the concept of the same structure is achieved which the Prophet [pbuh] talked about and texts concerning Islam encouraging giving charities are too numerous to be counted.

Some might say that what makes some people ask others is their need and that charity doesn’t reach its recipients. These claims don’t justify the disastrous spread of this disaster which harms the feelings and denigrates the values of our civilized Islamic countries.

To be more clear, I mention a hadith for the Prophet [pbuh] teaches the nation how to be chaste and warns against this dangerous plight, He said: “A man keeps on asking others for something till he comes on the Day of Resurrection without any piece of flesh on his face.” What a serious threat?

Afterwards, the Prophet [pbuh] specifies doing such act as if he was establishing a juristic maxim which is “Necessity is measured by its extent”. He answers those who drive reasons for begging when He says: “Anyone who asks from people in order to accumulate wealth, he is as begging for stones from Hell; so let him reduce it (his punishment) or let him increase it as he wishes.”

 

Dr shawqi

This is another text specifies those who are allowed to ask others financial assistance and those who aren’t. By contemplating it, a person becomes capable of recognizing these determinations which were confirmed by the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] in the hadith reported by Qubaisa ibn Makhariq al-Hilali who said: I guaranteed somebody else’s loan, so I went to the Prophet [pbuh] asking for his assistance. He said: “O, Qubaisa begging is forbidden except in three cases:
1. The person who has given the guarantee of (somebody else’s) loan to the extent of that loan and should then stop.
2. The person whose wealth is destroyed by a disaster can beg until his life is set right.
3. A person who becomes poor and destitute so much so that 3 wise people of his community testify that so and so has become poor and destitute, for this kind of person begging is permissible; so that person can remain alive and fulfill his necessary needs. Other than these three cases, it is unlawful to ask for others’ financial assistance.”

After that, the Prophet [pbuh] calls for working and production which is better than these easy gains when He said: “It is better for one of you to take ropes and bring a bundle of firewood on his back, sell it and gives charity to others than to beg from others who then give him or refuse.” In another narration, the Prophet [pbuh] said: “It is better for one of you to take a rope and carry firewood on his back, sell it, gives charity and becomes in no need for others than going to a man to beg from him who then may give him or refuse.”

Hakim ibn Hizam [may Allah be pleased with him] said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] and he gave me, I asked him again and he gave me, then he said: “O, Hakim! This wealth is like green sweet (i.e. fruit), and if one takes it without greed, then one is blessed in it, and if one takes it with greediness, then one is not blessed in it, and will be like the one who eats without satisfaction. And an upper (i.e. giving) hand is better than a lower (i.e. taking) hand,’ I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! By Him Who has sent you with the Truth. I will not ask anyone for anything after you till I leave this world.” So, when Abu Bakr during his Caliphate, called Hakim to give him (some money), Hakim refused to accept anything from him. Once ‘Umar called him (during his Caliphate) in order to give him something, but Hakim refused to accept it, whereupon ‘Umar said, “O Muslims! I give him (Hakim) his right which Allah has assigned to him from this Fai` (booty), but he refuses to take it.” So Hakim never took anything from anybody after the Prophet until he passed away.” This is because the Prophet [pbuh] forbade him from asking others, so what about you?

The reward for abstaining from asking others is Paradise. Thawban [may Allah be pleased with him] narrated: The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] said: “If anyone guarantees me that he will not beg from people, I will guarantee him Paradise. Thawban said: I (will not beg). He never asked anyone for anything. When Thawban’s web fell and he was riding, he never asked anyone to give it to him. He descends and takes it, because he desired the Paradise and hated worldly pleasures.

We need such spiritual discipline which enables us to understand Islam as a comprehensive religion and determine our relation with Allah, the community and with ourselves.

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