What Can I Do After Refusing to Help Someone Financially?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: I was in my car when a man asked for help. His bike tire was punctured and I didn’t have the change that he wanted. I said I can guide him to the nearby shop to get his bike repaired. I am so worried about refusing to help him financially. What should I do?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate

Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you the best of states and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

Quite often when we’re presented with spontaneous events we get flustered and it is difficult to think calmly and collectively, and make the right decision, decisions that in a normal situation we would make easily and thoughtfully. The incident you mention took place at a traffic signal, and this would have in no doubt added to the situation’s urgency. Things are always clearer in hindsight.

Despite this, what you did in this incident, and your regret of not helping the man even more than you already had, is in of itself a tremendous act of kindness. Many people would not have even gone out of their way to guide the man to the repair shop. What you deem as a small act of goodness is nevertheless a very significant deed with Allah. As such, you have more than satisfactorily fulfilled the hadith that,

‘Whoever relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his hardship on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever helps ease someone in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps the servant so long as he is helping his brother.’ [Sahih Muslim]

Intention

The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) stated that, ‘Acts are according to intentions.’ [Muslim]. Not helping the man in the way you felt you should have, was not intentional. This feeling itself is praiseworthy, and furthermore, you will be rewarded for wanting to have given him more, even if you didn’t.

God’s Mercy

Do not despair of God’s mercy, as it is prohibited and not becoming of the faithful. Allah, Most High, tells us in the Qur’an,

‘And despair not of Allah’s Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the unbelieving people.’ [Surah Yūsuf 12:87]

Therefore, being in good cheer and look at the positive side of each event that comes your way. Learn any lessons you feel are important from such incidents and move on. Allah will send many other opportunities in your path inshallah, and you will be in a better position to know how to handle it in a way you feel is best. Allah does not expect us to be perfect, but he does want us to strive to be the best we can be, and to do this we have to make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward.

Finally, if you still want to do the man a good turn, then raise your hands in supplication to Allah, and pray for him and his family. He may not know of your du’a for him in this life, but he will in the next, but most of all, God knows.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, Jamir is a qualified homeopath and runs a private clinic in Amman.