ok to given your leftover food to beggars in the street?

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BritishBahai
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 1:21 pm
Location: UK

ok to given your leftover food to beggars in the street?

Postby BritishBahai » Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:33 pm

This has been on my mind for some time:

(Background info for those who arent Bahai)
To the best of my knowledge, Bahais arent allowed to give money to beggars sitting on the street because by doing so, we are helping them to remain idle (Vs them putting in effort to improve their situation themselves). For example, i know that in loads of countries, there are places where the homeless can go to where they get financial help and can get bathed etc.

Heres my question:
Several times, Ive seen beggars on the street and whilst walking by I am aware that I have had food in my bag (e.g. food that I know that would be thrown away anyway, such as half-finished sandwiches, or the last few biscuits in a packet, or whatever).
Ive always thought about giving it to them but never have... (Reason: theyre sitting there expecting money, and if some random person gives them food, they would think "what the ____?!" and I know that the passers-by will also look at me because its an unexpected act)


What do people think? Do you think its ok to give food to beggars? What do you do? Have you ever done this?

brettz9
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
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Re: ok to given your leftover food to beggars in the street?

Postby brettz9 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:03 pm

"We have been asked to share with you the following extract from one of the Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá on the subject of begging:

'By the sacred verse: "Begging is forbidden, and it is also prohibited to dispense alms to a beggar" is meant that mendicancy is forbidden and that giving charity to people who take up begging as their profession is also prohibited. The object is to wipe out mendicancy altogether. However, if a person is disabled, striken by dire poverty or becomes helpless, then it is incumbent upon the rich or the trustees to provide him with a monthly allowance for his subsistence. When the House of Justice comes into being it will set up homes for the incapacitated. Thus no one will be obliged to beg, even as the supplementary part of the blessed verse denotes: "It is enjoined upon everyone to earn his livelihood"; then He says: "As to those who are disabled, it devolveth upon the trustees and the rich to make adequate provision for them." By "trustees" is meant the representatives of the people, that is to say the members of the House of Justice.'

"The Universal House of Justice does not wish to go beyond the elucidation given by the Master in the above passage and wishes, for the time being, to leave any matter not entirely covered by this text to the conscience of individual believers."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, August 13, 1974)


You can come to your own conclusions, but I highlighted a portion of the above passage to indicate a possible 'out' for giving to beggars in countries where public aid is not available. In even some developing countries, however, professional beggary is highly skilled and often unrelated to actual need, and may even be compelled. It's can be a tough call...

There's also this quote:

"Regarding your question concerning helping the poor: The Bahá'ís should not go so far as to refrain from extending charity to the needy, if they are able and willing to do so. However, in this, as in many other things, they should exert moderation. The greatest gift that we can give to the poor and the down-trodden is to aid to build up the divine institutions inaugurated in this day by Bahá'u'lláh as these institutions, and this World Order when established, will eliminate the causes of poverty and the injustices which afflict the poor. We should, therefore, do both, support our Bahá'í Fund, and also be kind and generous to the needy."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 11, 1942)


best wishes,
Brett

BritishBahai
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 1:21 pm
Location: UK

Re: ok to given your leftover food to beggars in the street?

Postby BritishBahai » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:50 am

thanks for that

useful info :thumbs:
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"

Highmountain
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:50 am

Re: ok to given your leftover food to beggars in the street?

Postby Highmountain » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:59 pm

Hi BB,

I personally see no problem with doing that. I've been asked for cash by beggars before and who knows what they'd spend it on (drugs,booze, etc.)? So I figure why not give them some food that they probably need anyways.

Cheers,

HM


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