Begging is a Social Curse

   By Sajjad Shaukatnawaz-sharif-idps

 Although begging is very common in the less developed countries, yet in case of Pakistan, it is free, having no restriction. It has turned into a profession and is not only for the poor, disabled, invalidated and injured people, but is owned as a choice by many who believe that begging is a thriving business. Presently the administration seems unconcerned as the social evil of begging flourishes under their nose.

 Begging which is a social curse is not caused by poverty; rather it reflects a predisposition, an attitude and an outlook, which entails use of disguising tricks to emotionally exploit the public. The aim is to fleece money. The menace of begging has become a spot of dirt on the face of the Muslim community throughout the world. It is regrettable that the Muslims are ridiculed and criticized because of this increasing curse. In this context, in October 2012, while talking in a Lebanese TV-talk show, Swedish-Algerian Journalist Yahya Abu Zakaria said, “In accordance with the European law for support of religions and cultural diversity, the state provides Muslims with funding, and the managers of the mosques steal those funds and every mosque in Europe suffers from theft.”

 However, we can witness that as the holy month of RAMZAN commenced with religious spur, spiritual drive and an inner urge to seek Allah’s blessing and enhance holy devoutness, an alarming upsurge in the number of beggars surfaced in every market and public place.

  Deplorably, begging has emerged as a profession, having correlation with divine months, sacred events and sanctified occasions. Beggars fully understand that people of Pakistan driven by their Islamic values and religious obligations offer charity with generosity and kindness during holy month of RAMAZAN. They also know the public belief system especially among God fearing wealthy and well to do families that magnanimous donations and charitable funds, given to the poor during RAMZAN would enable them to obtain Allah’s endorsement (RAZZA). Hence, they flood the marketplaces, busy streets and scuttled squares to get their share of charity.

 In this regard, the philanthropists perceive that beggars are poor, while the professional beggars artfully fleece money, using different pretexts and employing unique guises. The beggars usually resort to emotional exploitation of innocent people by observing the psyche of the latter. Public generally misperceive that poverty is the main cause of begging, whereas beggars use religion as a ruse or excuse to beg. Therefore, many beggars become fake pious persons with tall claims of spiritual strength and ability to ensure spiritual healings against psychological abnormality. Others simply extend their begging hands before every passerby, depicting their poverty ridden remorse and distress.

 The former president of South Africa and Nobel Prize winner for peace, Nelson Mandela, the late once said, “Poverty is not by accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is manmade and can be removed by the actions of human beings.

Islam clear denounces the menace of begging. In this context, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) loathed the culture of begging and introduced the system of ZAKAAT to help the needy with respect and honor. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also said that on the Day of Judgment, the beggar (professional) will not have flesh on his face. This indicates the extent of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)’s abhorrence for begging. But, despite this, beggars are being encouraged by the public and the government in one or the other way, in most of Islamic countries, especially Pakistan.

 There is an old maxim, ‘The beggars are not choosers, but, in fact, ground realities show, ‘The beggars are choosers.’

It is our misfortune that the profession of begging is heaving and surging in Pakistan and there is no official or administrative check on it. In this connection, the most alarming development is that there are rumours and unconfirmed media reports that terrorists are also using the symptomatic disguise of beggars. Some analysts remarked that Tarnole (Rawalpindi) suicide attack against services and agencies’ vehicle was undertaken by a man, dressed in beggar’s clothing. The attack resulted into martyrdom of two senior Army officers (Colonels). Hence, there is the need to control the increasing numbers of beggars in the country.

 Some reports and surveys also suggest that there are some ‘mafia groups’ which are behind the beggars, and use them in collecting money through this menace. Moreover, under the guise of beggars, some cases of theft have also come to the limelight. According to a sociologist, “begging darkens all the qualities of a person {Beggar},” could positively be utilized for the betterment of the society.
In order to check the begging, Pakistan’s religious scholars (Ulemas), sociologists and media must play their role because, it has become a social curse, which is resulting into other related problems, affecting other fields of the society. 

 These internal entities must propagate that in case of Pakistan, begging is free for all phenomenon. And has turned into a profession and is not only for the poor, disabled, invalidated and injured people, but is adopted as a choice by several persons who believe that begging is a flourishing business.

   By showing the true picture of the beggars, these entities must educate those wealthy persons who are always willingly to fulfill the desires of the former. They must point out that begging is not caused by poverty; rather it reflects an idiosyncrasy and a position which involves use of disguising tricks to emotionally manipulate the public psyche, with the sole aim to collect money.

 Nevertheless, increasing number of beggars on the roads, street, market and public places present awkward scenes which tarnish the national image of Pakistan in the comity of the civilized nations, while the millions are deceived by the beggars.

 Again, terrorists using beggars’ disguise become more lethal, as people tend to approach beggars, without fear to offer charities. Particularly, media and civil society must denounce begging, while administration—Police and other Law-enforcing agencies must check uncontrolled begging and undertake measures to provide ZAKAT to the needy by discouraging downtrodden way of making money (begging). The government needs to take necessary steps, and special squad be established to undertake the job. Strict action must also be taken against the ‘mafia groups’ which are backing the beggars in order to obtain money.

 Nonetheless, if not curtailed in time, the begging which is a social curse which in turn, brings   about ill-measurable social evils is likely to continue by giving a greater blow to Pakistan.




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