In the holy religion of Islam, being a burden on others is roundly condemned. It recommends that each one must strive to earn to fulfill his expenses with his efforts. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said,
“One who eats through his own striving will pass on the Seraat (the Bridge) like a flash of lightning. “
(Jaame al—Akhbaar, page 139.)
In another tradition, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) says,
“One who eats of his own striving, Allah will look at him with mercy and never ever punish him.
In yet another tradition, he (s.a.w.a.) informs, “One who strives for the expenses of his family is like the one who fights in the way of Allah.
(Behaarul Anwaar. vol. 96. page 324.)
In the statement of Imam Ali Ibn Moosa al-Reza (a.s.), such a person is regarded as higher in reward than the one who fights in the way of Allah.
“One who struggles to acquire from the grace (of Allah) in order to fulfill the needs of his family members is greater in reward than the one who fights in Allah’s way.
(Behaarul Anwaar. vol. 78. page 339.)
There are numerous such traditions, which clarify that seeking sustenance for one’s family is regarded as divine worship in Islam; that too, the greatest form of worship, viz. Jehaad. Thus, in Islam, Jehaad does not only mean to go and fight in the battle field. Rather, it implies the struggle to fulfill the basic needs for one’s self and one’s family.
Where seeking of sustenance is glorified and extolled in Islam, in the same breath, it vehemently denounces and criticizes idleness and laziness. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) warns,
“Divine curse is on the one who is a burden on the people.”
(Tohalul Oqool. p. 37)
That is, the one whose expenses are borne by others and he is loafing around, idle and unemployed.
Kindly pay attention to the following tradition: When somebody came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), he (s.a.w.a.) would enquire, ‘What do you do?’ If he replied, ‘Nothing’, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) would express his disgust saying,
“He has fallen from grace in my eyes.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar. vol. 103. page 9.)
Zoraarah narrates from Imam Ja’far Sadeq (a.s.), “A person came to Imarn Sadeq (a.s.) and said, “My hands are not healthy enough to work nor do I have a capital to invest in business. In such a situation, what do I do?’ (i.e. Since I cannot work, can I beg for a living?) Imam (a.s.) retorted,
“Work even if you have to carry loads on your head but be needless of the people.”
(Mahajjah al-Baizaa. vol. 3, page 3.)
From the above tradition, one can decipher the level of modesty and shame taught by Islam. It considers carrying burden on one’s head and being a labourer far better than begging or being an encumbrance on others.