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Carlzone

Should we give money to alcoholics and drug addicts?

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Salam aleykom, 

We have had discussions on shiachat before regarding not giving money to alcolics and drug addicts but rather buy then food etc instead which seems reasonable. But now I came across a hadith that makes me wonder if it's not ok to give them money too? What do you guys think after reading this:

 

"Coins

Ibn Abbas narrates: “Once, three hundred gold coins were gifted to the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) which he in turn gifted to the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s). As the Imam (a.s) took them, he declared: “By Allah! I shall surely give this amount in charity in a manner such that it shall be accepted by Allah.”

Later, Imam ‘Ali (a.s) narrates: “That night, after having offered the 'Isha prayer, I picked up one hundred gold coins and came out of the mosque. As I did so, I happened to encounter a woman and so handed over the money to her. In the morning the people were found to be talking amongst themselves, saying: “Last night ‘Ali (a.s) gave a hundred gold coins in charity to an adulteress.” I was greatly distressed to hear this.

The following night, after the 'Isha prayer, I picked up another hundred gold coins and came out of the mosque saying to myself: “By Allah! Tonight I shall give this in charity such that Allah shall accept this act from me.

As I emerged from the mosque, I found myself face to face with a man and handed over the money to him.”

At daybreak the talk amongst the inhabitants of Madinah was: “‘Ali (a.s) has given a hundred gold coins to a thief, and I became immensely despondent.”

The third night I picked up another hundred gold coins and said to myself: “By Allah! I shall surely give these hundred gold coins in charity to such a person, that Allah shall accept my charity.
After the 'Isha prayer, coming out of the mosque, I ran into a man and handed him the money. In the morning, the people of Madinah were found saying: “Last night ‘Ali (a.s) gave a hundred gold coins to a rich and wealthy person.”

I was extremely pained to hear this and so, approaching the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), I informed him of the incidents that had taken place.

Having heard me, he (s.a.w) said: “O' ‘Ali! Jibrail says: “Allah, the Exalted, has accepted your charities and considers them to be pure. (As for) the hundred gold coins that you had given to the immoral lady on the first night - returning home she turned to Allah in repentance over her past misdeeds and mended her ways. She has set aside the gold coins as her capital and is on the lookout for a husband.

The hundred gold coins of the second night had reached a thief who, upon reaching home, repented over his wrong-doings and utilized the amount for engaging in trade.

The hundred gold coins of the third night had reached the hands of a wealthy person, who had not been paying his zakat for years. Reaching home he began to censure himself saying: “How lowly and base can you be? While you have been violating Allah's ruling and not been paying the obligatory zakat for several years, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, despite not possessing anything, has given you a hundred gold coins.” Having rebuked himself, he then calculated his unpaid zakat of several years and disbursed it.”

It was due to this act on the part of Imam ‘Ali (a.s) that Allah revealed the following verse in his (a.s) excellence:

رِجالٌ لا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجارَةٌ وَ لا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَ إِقامِ الصَّلاةِ وَ إِيتاءِ الزَّكاةِ يَخافُونَ يَوْماً تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَ الْأَبْصارُ

“Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about.”

https://www.al-islam.org/anecdotes-reflection-part-3-sayyid-ali-akbar-sadaaqat/48-generosity

Edited by Hameedeh
[Mod Note: Moderators can reduce the size of excessively large fonts to a standard size of 14.]

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That is true,  if we know for sure. Most of the time we don't know. Even if someone is a drug addict, they may use that money to buy food (drug addicts, like the rest of us, also need to eat to survive). 

I think the point of the hadith is that if our niyyat when giving the sadaqat (voluntary charity) is good and is to help the person live, and not to encourage their haram actions, this charity will be accepted by Allah(s.w.a), which is the important part, and we should ignore the gheeba(back biting) of the people in regards to this act. 

 

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Thank you guys for your replies! 

So can we interpret this as it's ok to give them money as long as your niyya is to help a poor person out for the sake of God? 

I don't look down on alcoholics, drug addicts, poor people, or even prostitutes. I just hurt when I see them. I feel very sorry for them. I wish they weren't in this state. I can't imagine anyone would choose this destiny for themselves unless they felt that they had no control over themselves. They need help and love or faith in order to change. I'm sure it's very difficult.

I feel most compassionate towards people on the lowest levels of society. Weak people in general. It infuriates me when I hear about people abusing or laughing at them. I don't tolerate that when I'm around. 

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I think its important to keep in mind that in the hadeeth, it wasn't apparent at the time who the people were. It was only mentioned the following day. 

As a side note, I would be interested to see more about the hadith itself. It isnt clear where it was originally cited (no reference to a known book of hadith). I don't intend to cast doubt, but the language of the imam in this narration seems a bit unusual, particularly the fact the he seemed impacted by what the people were saying about him.

Wallahu a'lam

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25 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:

I think its important to keep in mind that in the hadeeth, it wasn't apparent at the time who the people were. It was only mentioned the following day. 

As a side note, I would be interested to see more about the hadith itself. It isnt clear where it was originally cited (no reference to a known book of hadith). I don't intend to cast doubt, but the language of the imam in this narration seems a bit unusual, particularly the fact the he seemed impacted by what the people were saying about him.

Wallahu a'lam

Well, checking the reliability of hadiths is out of my league. I'll leave that to more knowledgeable members of shiachat.

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The strange thing about this Hadith is that Imam Ali (a.s.) didn't know who those people were. I thought shia belief is that Infallibles can not only read minds but they can also tell about past, present and future of a person. I have observed that when I give money to a not-deserving person, he expects more next time. Such people are entitled and they always expect more and more. I heard about a college professor in Pakistan who was killed by an employee. It was later revealed that professor knew him for years, he was like a son to her and she had been lending him money for years. One day, he demanded a big amount and when she refused, he killed her. 

Another issue I have is that when you work hard for your money, you develop a love for it. We have to struggle so much to get a job, then we have to deal with employers, if you give your money, you want it to be used in a good way. Nowadays, people have to work really hard tonit even earn money but also to  save their money because there are people who are always asking for money. I have made so many enemies because I refuse to give them money. There is so much poverty in world, when you don't give money to people who really need it, aren't you doing an injustice? I don't have issue with pennies which you give to beggars on streets. I am talking about relatives and community members who are always asking for money and you know for sure that they are not needy. 

Edited by rkazmi33

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Don't we have a hadith that states that we should start by helping those closest to us first (like a poor relative) before giving to strangers? 

If this is correct than that's ok. 

But helping others as much as you can is not wrong either.

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37 minutes ago, rkazmi33 said:

The strange thing about this Hadith is that Imam Ali (a.s.) didn't know who those people were. I thought shia belief is that Infallibles can not only read minds but they can also tell about past, present and future of a person. I have observed that when I give money to a not-deserving person, he expects more next time. Such people are entitled and they always expect more and more. I heard about a college professor in Pakistan who was killed by an employee. It was later revealed that professor knew him for years, he was like a son to her and she had been lending him money for years. One day, he demanded a big amount and when she refused, he killed her. 

Another issue I have is that when you work hard for your money, you develop a love for it. We have to struggle so much to get a job, then we have to deal with employers, if you give your money, you want it to be used in a good way. Nowadays, people have to work really hard tonit even earn money but also to  save their money because there are people who are always asking for money. I have made so many enemies because I refuse to give them money. There is so much poverty in world, when you don't give money to people who really need it, aren't you doing an injustice? I don't have issue with pennies which you give to beggars on streets. I am talking about relatives and community members who are always asking for money and you know for sure that they are not needy. 

A person will be judged by Allah(s.w.a) for an act, and either rewarded or punished (if it is a wrong act) based on only three things. All hadith that I have read are very, very clear on this. 

1) Their knowledge of the act (whether it is halal or haram. There is also an irfani / esoteric part to this which I will not go into)

2) Their niyyat (intention in doing the act). For example whether their intention in doing the act is to obey or disobey Allah(s.w.a) based on #1. 

3) The outcomes of the act that they can control. 

If 1,2, and 3 are all correct, i.e. not wrong, then the act is accepted by Allah(s.w.a). Of course, with all three there are levels and degrees, which is why a wajib Salat of an alim is more praisworthy and the will get more thawab if their knowledge is greater, their niyyat is more perfect, and the outcomes that they can control are better (for example how well they speak the Quran, control their body movements, etc)

The parts of the outcomes of the act that we don't control, we are not judged by those and in the real and ultimate sense those make no difference. This is something that is hard for many brothers and sisters to understand. So I will explain it in relation to the example you gave above. 

If you give money to a person, and your Knowledge is correct (for example you know from your studies, etc, that it is correct according to what you know to give money to the person, in Islam), you Niyyat is correct (Qurbatin in Allahe Ta'la, seeking nearness to Allah), and you do the outcomes of the act that are under your control (for example you give something of value, you are kind to the person while you are doing it, you give enough so that the person can actually improve their life, even if in a small way, by it, etc). then you get rewarded and your action is accepted by Allah(s.w.a). Even if after you gave the money, the person killed you (like the example you brought up), you would be rewarded by Allah(s.w.a) for your act and the other person would be punished. But each judgement would occur independently, because these two thing are not related, in reality, because Allah(s.w.a) created each person with their own individual will and intention, and these things are not transferable from person to person. 

The religion of Islam is based on examining these three areas in yourself when doing the action or before doing the actions, and ignoring those other outcomes which you don't control. If you read, Nahjul Balagha, most of it is about this subject. That is the only way someone will progress spiritually. Because if you are too focused on the reactions of others to what you do, which is what most muslims are focused on, then you will be stagnant in your progress toward Allah(s.w.a) and this could even lead to nifaq(hypocrisy) or riya(haugtiness) in extreme cases, because you don't control the reactions of other people. They will react based on their own will and intention. 

Edited by Abu Hadi

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49 minutes ago, rkazmi33 said:

The strange thing about this Hadith is that Imam Ali (a.s.) didn't know who those people were. I thought shia belief is that Infallibles can not only read minds but they can also tell about past, present and future of a person. 

No this isnt the belief. They have access to levels of knowledge that the rest of us don't,  but ultimately only Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى has the complete knowledge of the unseen

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@Abu Hadi I mostly find your posts reasonable but I am unable to understand your post even after reading it several times. It seems like this religion is only suitable for narcissists, and we should all remain in abusive relationships whether it's the relationship with abusive husband, siblings or parents. I have plenty of relatives who are more rich than me, since I am unemployed, I should start pestering them for money. 

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13 minutes ago, rkazmi33 said:

@Abu Hadi I mostly find your posts reasonable but I am unable to understand your post even after reading it several times. It seems like this religion is only suitable for narcissists, and we should all remain in abusive relationships whether it's the relationship with abusive husband, siblings or parents. I have plenty of relatives who are more rich than me, since I am unemployed, I should start pestering them for money. 

No, the religion is based around Allah swt. If we are kind to our relatives, it is for His sake. If we perform good deeds and endure trials, it is for His sake.

It is not about narcissism, rather it is about submission to the Creator. 

Wallahu a'lam

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1 hour ago, rkazmi33 said:

@Abu Hadi I mostly find your posts reasonable but I am unable to understand your post even after reading it several times. It seems like this religion is only suitable for narcissists, and we should all remain in abusive relationships whether it's the relationship with abusive husband, siblings or parents. I have plenty of relatives who are more rich than me, since I am unemployed, I should start pestering them for money. 

Dear sister, I think you misunderstood the post. Abu Hadi wasn't saying that you should endure abuse. He was rather talking about how reward is calculated and accepted for people of differing degrees of faith according to those criteria. That's how I understood it anyway. But there's much more to that post that needs to be contemplated. 

Well done for reading it several times in order to understand it. Allah SWT will reward you for that InshaAllah, but don't be too sad if you don't understand it completely. I imagine that you have written before that you are autistic, right? One of the common problems in autism is the inability to understand hidden messages, both in text and in body language and facial expressions. So therefore Allah SWT will take that into consideration when you struggle with those aspects. Feel free to ask others here to help explain what is confusing to you. I always ask if I don't understand what is meant. There is no shame in asking in order to understand. 

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