By His Eminence Shaikh Ahmed al Khalili, Grand Mufti of the Sultanate — Begging is an abominable phenomenon that should never exist within a Muslim society. It is an outcome of greed and adherence to worldly desires and pleasures. What’s more, this phenomenon stems from man’s deviation from the right path and degrading the soul to the lowest rank of humanity while showing utter indifference towards such a degradation. Man is dignified if his self-esteem is maintained and as long as he fends for himself without relying on others. On the other hand, man becomes servile when he is dependent on others.
Islam places emphasis on the matter of begging and Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, explained that a Muslim is prohibited from asking for money except when he experiences an extreme financial trouble that renders him totally penniless and to the extent that he becomes unable to make ends meet. In such a case, a Muslim is allowed to ask for money, but only up to the amount required for meeting food expenses and not more. Otherwise, the Muslim comes on the Day of Judgement or Resurrection (Al Qiyaamah) with shame and ignominy on his face.
A Muslim should distance himself from what brings humiliation upon him or causes him to become low. He should be keen on giving rather than taking as Islam teaches us that the upper hand is better than the lower hand.
The phenomenon of begging has several negative effects as beggars become accustomed to easily-obtained money; thus they become non-productive and unable to shoulder responsibility.
Allah has ordered Muslims to pay zakat (charity) to the poor and the needy as a means of solidarity within the Muslim society. Besides He ordered them to give out alms to the less fortunate among them so that they afford to meet their needs without having to ask for money. Allah says: “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but the righteous is the one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keeps up prayer and pays the zakat, and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflict — these are they who are true and these are they who are the pious”.