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2365712/06/2009

Taking help and asking for it from the state and from the church

Question: 132727

I live in America and we take some free services, especially since we are regarded as having limited income. But some of these services, such as food for example, can be taken from the churches. Is that permissible?.

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

There is nothing wrong with taking help from the state or
from organizations based on donations, even if they are churches, so long
as that does not lead to compromising on any issue of religion or
approving anything wrong or the children being influenced and so on. But
refraining from that and doing without it is preferable, because the upper
hand (the one that gives) is better than the lower (the one that takes),
especially with regard to taking from the church which usually has
ulterior motives in what it gives to the Muslims. Al-Bukhaari (1428)
narrated from Hakeem ibn Hizaam (may Allah be pleased with him) that the
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The upper hand
(the one that gives) is better than the lower (the one that takes). Start
with those for whom you are responsible. The best of charity is that which
is given when you can afford it, and whoever refrains (from taking
charity), Allah will help him; whoever tries to do without charity, Allah
will make him independent of means. ” 

Al-Bukhaari (1429) and Muslim (1033) narrated from Ibn ‘Umar
(may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say, when he was on the minbar,
speaking about charity and refraining from begging: “The upper hand is
better than the lower hand, and the upper hand is the one that gives and the
lower hand is the one that receives.” 

Asking for charity from people is something blameworthy, even
if one is asking from a Muslim, unless the one who asks is forced to do so,
because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Asking
for help causes a man to lose face, except when a man asks someone in a
position of authority or asks for something that he has no choice but to ask
for.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi and by al-Albaani in
Saheeh al-Tirmidhi. 

It was also narrated by Abu Dawood (1639) as follows:
“Begging (is like) wounds that a person scars his face with. So whoever
wishes to save face may do so, and whoever wishes not to save face may do
so, except if a person asks a person of authority, or is in a situation in
which he finds no alternative.” 

It says in Subul al-Salaam (1/548): Wounds means marks
or traces. As for his asking from a person in authority, there is no blame
in that, because he is only asking for what he is entitled to from the bayt
al-maal, and it is not a favour on the part of the person in authority,
because he is acting as a trustee, so it is like a person asking the trustee
to give him something to which he is entitled that he has with him. End
quote. 

Al-Bukhaari (1475) and Muslim (1040) narrated that ‘Abd-Allah
ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him) said: “A man will keep on begging from people
until he comes on the Day of Resurrection with not a bit of flesh on his
face.”  

And Muslim (1041) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be
pleased with him) said: “Whoever begs from the people in order to accumulate
wealth, it is as if he is asking for a live coal, so let him ask for a
little or a lot.” 

What is meant by the words “Whoever begs from the people in
order to accumulate wealth” is that he asks of people in order to accumulate
a lot of wealth when he is not in need of it.  

In these hadeeths there is an eloquent rebuke, which is
clearly aimed at putting people off begging, except one who is forced to do
that and can find no other alternative. 

Based on that, so long as you are not in urgent need of help,
you should refrain from asking for it, but if you are in need of it, there
is nothing wrong with you asking for it and taking it. 

We ask Allah to make you independent of means from His
bounty. 

And Allah knows best.

Source

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