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Islam finds poverty repugnant and does not allow its followers to accept it as a matter of fact, but requires them to take positive action to stamp it out.

Begging is a nuisance for prevention of which the modern societies are trying to promulgate enactment. The Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) promulgated the sound policy in this matter, which has baffled the most fertile brains of the world.  He made it unlawful except in case of deserving persons. At the same time he left instructions to the rich not to return a beggar. The Holy Quraan says: “As for a beggar, don’t drive him”. (93:10) 

As a general rule, begging is unlawful in Islam for the following reasons:

  1. By begging, a man loses reliance upon Almighty Allah and complains indirectly against Almighty Allah gifts which are interwoven in his very person and all around the universe. Instead of turning to Almighty Allah for assistance and help, he turns towards men. Therefore, the Holy Quraan says: “And He will give him provision from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah He is sufficient for him.” (65:3)
  2. By begging, the beggar lowers himself before his fellow creatures and brings himself in contemptible estimation of the people. 
  3. By begging, the beggar gives uneasy trouble to one begged. The latter feels annoyance and is put between two horns of a dilemma – to pay or not to pay. If alms are paid, there is loss in property, and if not paid, there is loss in fame and fear of Almighty Allah.

Sayyiduna Zubair Bin Awam (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Glorious Prophet Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “That one of you takes his rope and then comes with a load of wood upon his back and sells it is better than to beg of men whether they give or reject him”. (Bukhari) 

Sayyiduna Qabisah Bin Makhareq (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “I became surety for a debt and came to the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to ask him about it. He said, ‘Wait till Zakaah comes to us, and then we shall order something thereof for you.’ Then he said, ‘O Dear Qabisah! Surely begging is not lawful except for one of these three reasons – a man who becomes surety for a debt; it then becomes lawful for him to beg till he gets it, after which he shall withhold; a man having met with a misfortune which has ruined his property – it is lawful for him to beg till it enables him to get livelihood (or he said means of livelihood); and a man who meets with dire necessity, till three men of understanding of his tribe stand up (and say): Dire necessity afflicted such one- it is lawful for him to beg till he finds means for livelihood. O Qabisah! What is besides these in begging is unlawful and its owner eats unlawful things.’” (Muslim) 

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said while he was on the pulpit speaking about charity and refraining from begging: “The upper hand is better than the lower, and the upper hand is that which gives and the lower is that which begs.” (Agreed) 

Sayyiduna Samorah Bin Jundub (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoso begs of men having sufficient means will come on the Resurrection Day with his begging as scratch wounds or bruises on his face.” It was questioned: “O Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)! What is sufficient for him?” He said: “Fifty Dirhams or their price in gold”. (Abu Da’ood, Ibn-e-Majah, Nisai)