The Begging Hand
Having sustenance and covering, the Prophet (Pbuh) was contented with these. Anything extra he (Pbuh) gave in charity and preached that at times of insufficiency more work is the solution, not beggary. While on the pulpit speaking about charity and chastity, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) warned against beggary, saying, “The upper hand is better than the lower hand. The upper hand is the one giving; the lower hand is the one begging.”
About the begging hand, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) further said:
“That one of you takes his rope and brings a bundle of wood over his back to sell, and by it Allah saves his face, is better for him than begging from people who may give or refrain from giving to him.”
“A person keeps on begging from people until he comes on the Day of Resurrection and not a shred of flesh is left on his face.”
“He who begs from people when he has what suffices him will come on the Day of Resurrection with his begging appearing on his face as bruises, scrapes, or scratches.” He (Pbuh) was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what should suffice him?” He (Pbuh)replied, “Fifty dirhams or its value in gold.”
The Prophet (Pbuh)strongly exhorted against the ill of beggary and rebuilt the value of work. He (Pbuh) explained in a practical way how to turn the begging hand into a good, working hand. Anas bin Malik t narrated that a man from the Ansar came to the Prophet (Pbuh)and begged from him.
He (Pbuh) asked him, “Have you nothing in your home?”
The man replied, “Yes, a piece of cloth – part of it we wear and part of it we spread (on the ground) – and a bowl from which we drink water.”
He (Pbuh) said, “Bring them to me.”
The man brought them to the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) who took them in his hands and asked, “Who will buy these two things?”
A man said, “I shall buy them for a dirham.”
He (Pbuh) said twice or thrice, “Who will offer more than a dirham?”
A man said, “I shall buy them for two dirhams.”
The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) handed them to him (the buyer) and took the two dirhams and gave them to the Ansari man, and said, “Buy food with one of them and give it to your family, and buy an adze with the other and bring it to me.”
The man brought the adze to the Messenger of Allah r, who fixed a handle on it with his own hands, and said, “Go, gather wood and sell it, and do not let me see you for fifteen days.”
The man went away to gather wood and sell it. He came back after having earned ten dirhams, and bought a garment with some and food with some.
The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “This is better for you than begging becoming a speck on your face on the Day of Resurrection. Begging is not lawful except for three persons: one who is in dire poverty, one who is heavily indebted, or one owing grievous blood money.”
- ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar, Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Zakah, Hadith no. 1339.
- Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awam, Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Zakah, Hadith no. 1378.
- ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar, Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Zakah, Hadith no. 1381.
- ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Sunan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Zakah, Hadith no. 588.
- Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Zakah, Hadith no. 1398.