Giving Charity While Not Knowing the Situation of the Recipient
Fatwa No: 85294

Question

My question is: For those people who come to the mosque and ask for money and Sadaqa and for those either male or female who stay outside the mosque or asking in the streets near the traffic signals asking people to give them money or Sadaqa, Is it okay to give them money and I treat it like Sadaqa although I feel not confident when I give them because I don not trust them whether they are poor or not or whether they really need it. Should I give them and Allah will treat it as Sadaqa or should I give the money for the official agency like Fatwa Center and Jalyiat Center where they can distribute it them selfish on the poor people. Please help me answering this question.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Allah, The Great and Almighty, urges Muslims to give Sadaqah (charity) and promises them good reward in this worldly life and in the Hereafter.

Allah Says (what means): {And those within whose wealth is a known right. For the petitioner and the deprived.} [Quran 70: 24-25]

Allah also dispraises misery and misers, as He Says (what means): {And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them.} [Quran 3: 180]

Based on the above statements, a Muslim is advised to give those who seek help and donation, especially if we do not know their true financial situation or we are sure that they are in need.

Suppose that one gives Sadaqah to another one who is not in need, we state that the giver will be rewarded, and he is not required to be sure of others' dire need, while the receiver will be sinful. It is sufficient to depend on one's appearance that may indicate need.

Thus, we are not required to search one's secret financial state, but we give Sadaqah according to our evaluation of the situation of the one to whom we give it to. Then, if it reaches one whom we do not want, our Sadaqah will be accepted and valid, Allah willing.

Our above opinion is based on the Prophetic Hadeeth that reads: “A man said to himself: 'Tonight, I will give something in Sadaqah, so he went out with his Sadaqah and (unknowingly) gave it to a thief. The next morning, he was told by the people that he had given Sadaqah to a thief. (On hearing this), he said: 'O Allah! Praise be to You. Certainly, I will give Sadaqah again.' So, he went out with his Sadaqah and (unknowingly) gave it to an adulteress. The next morning, he was told that he had given Sadaqah to an adulteress. The man said: 'O Allah! Praise be to You. I gave my Sadaqah to an adulteress. Certainly, I will give Sadaqah again.' Thus, he went out with his Sadaqah and again and (unknowingly) gave it to a rich man. The next morning the people said, the night before he had given his Sadaqah to a wealthy man. He said: 'O Allah! Praise be to You. I have given my Sadaqah to an adulteress, a thief and a rich person …it was said to him: your Sadaqah was accepted.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

However, if we are sure that someone is not poor – according to our evaluation and his appearance and other signs – then we should not give him.

At last, we believe that it is necessary to specify amounts of Sadaqah money to the reliable societies that have faithful means by which they recognize the poor and needy and give them through the best and most polite means.

Allah knows best.

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