2 quarters or a dollar never hurts now and then

Q: Salam Alaikum Imam,

Sometimes there is a homeless person standing in the parking entrance/exit of grocery stores. On one such instance, I wanted to give some small money to a homeless person while we were exiting the parking lot in our car. However, my sister didn’t think it was a good idea. She was afraid that we would be held liable if they were to spend it on alcohol or drugs. Because once, she saw a homeless person who was standing at the entrance of the parking lots while she was entering and a while later, she saw that same homeless person buying alcohol from the store. That’s why she was concerned. But, then does that mean we should never give money to people that stand at the parking lot exit/entrance of stores?”

Anyways, so we both wanted to ask what is the proper way in these situations? If we are to give money to a homeless person, would we be sinful if they were to spend the money on alcohol, drugs? What should we have done/do in cases like these?

Jazakumullahu khairen
Time: Saturday July 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm

A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

  • Based on what i know, your sisters concern is valid.
  • Ask the person what food they want, ask them if you can get it for them. That would take care of the drug issue.
  • If you carry an extra sandwich (a good one, not some left overs that is to be thrown away) then offer it to them. If the person is always polite about your offerings, then for you to later give a few dollars would not be an issue.
  • Not all homeless people are bad, some are homeless due to the current economic crises.
  • It would take you a while to figure out fake from real. It has been done, and you can do it too. If you have a blessed heart, try to assist the needy to the government programs/shelter. This would be super. For many at times do not know where to start when they lose their jobs, families, suffer from mental illness, etc.
  • Helping the poor would bring you great reward and cool of the Anger of the Creator. So keep up the good work.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

2 responses to “2 quarters or a dollar never hurts now and then

  1. As-salaam-alaikum.Alhamdulillah, I just had this situation recently. While fasting myself,I had offerred to bring breakfast from our favorite bakery to a sick friend,upon exiting a man asked for money for a meal.So, I told him I would buy him a meal instead.I preceeded inside, told him I could not order any pork and purchased for him but, he could order what he wants from the menu. He ordered an egg panini and I offerred him coffee and I paid, tip and all. He thanked me but, my sick friend (who decided to meet me at the restaurant instead) was worried about me doing this and waited for me in her car and thought I should not have done so; I told her I did not give money because he may purchase drugs /alcohol and I am blessed to be able to pay for a meal I should help those who cannot. I also know that man will have a positive impression of Muslim women which was so very rewarding for me.His situation was not my business and in the past I have seen people give a burger bag to a homeless person and they throw it away. I always remember that our Prophet(pbuh) always gave his last morsel of food to nieghbors/strangers and his best when he didn’t have for himself and his family.May Allah(swt) reward you for your charity. Ameen.