Praise be to Allaah.
1 - It is permissible to give charity – other than the obligatory
charity (zakaah etc.) – to poor non-Muslims, especially if they are
relatives, on condition that they do not belong to people who are in a
state of war against us and have not committed acts of aggression that
would preclude our treating them kindly. Allaah says (interpretation of
does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not
against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes.
Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity. It is only as regards
those who fought against you on account of religion, and have driven you
out of your homes, and helped to drive you out, that Allaah forbids you to
befriend them. And whosoever will befriend them, then such are the
those who disobey Allaah” [al-Mumtahinah 60:8-9]
Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allaah be
pleased with her) said: “My mother came to me when she was still a
mushrikah – at the time when there was a peace treaty between Quraysh
and the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) – accompanied by her father. I consulted the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), saying, ‘O Messenger
of Allaah, my mother has come to me and she is asking for help. Should I
uphold the ties of kinship with her?’ He said, ‘Yes, uphold the ties
of kinship with her.’” (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, no. 2946).
It was narrated that a Jewish woman came
begging to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) and she gave her
something. The Jewish woman said
to ‘Aa’ishah, “May Allaah protect you from the punishment of the
grave.” ‘Aa’ishah did not like that, and when she saw the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) she
asked him about it and he said “No.” ‘Aa’ishah said:
“Then later on, the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: ‘It has been revealed to me that you will be
tried in your graves.’” (Musnad Ahmad, no. 24815).
two ahaadeeth indicate that it is permissible to give charity to the
kuffaar. But it is not permissible to give zakaah funds to the poor among
the kuffaar, because zakaah can only be given to Muslims to spend on the
poor and needy among them as mentioned in the aayah of zakaah.
Imaam al-Shaafa'i said: “There is
nothing wrong with giving charity to a mushrik as a naafilah
(supererogatory) action, but he has no right to charity from the
obligatory (zakaah). Allaah praised people who, as He says (interpretation
of the meaning): ‘… they give food,
inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the Miskeen (the
poor), the orphan, and the captive’ [al-Insaan 76:8].” (Kitaab al-Umm, part 2).
charity to poor Muslims is preferable and more befitting, because spending
on them helps them to obey Allaah, and it helps them in both their worldly
and spiritual affairs. This
helps to strengthen the bonds among Muslims, especially nowadays when the
poor among the Muslims far outnumber the rich. And Allaah is the One Whose
help we seek.
2 – If the person who is asking for the
money is Muslim and is definitely in need,
then give him what you can in charity. The same applies even if he
is not Muslim. But it is better for Muslims who are in need to refrain
from begging in the streets. If they have no other choice, they should go
to Islamic charity organizations which exist to channel charitable
donations to the poor and needy. By the same token, those who want to give
charity can also contact reliable charitable organizations so that their
charity will reach those who deserve it.
3 – If the person who is asking for
money –regardless of whether he is a Muslim or a kaafir – is asking
for it in order to commit sin and buy something that is haraam, or he is
going to use the money to help him to do something haraam, then it is not
permissible to give that charity to him, because by doing so, one is
helping him to commit that haraam action. Allaah says (interpretation of
you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness
and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression”
And Allaah knows best.