Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Transferability of Sin

I had a Muslimah friend tell me the other day that we shouldn't give money to homeless people because if they use it to buy alcohol or drugs it counts against us as one of our sins.

Yeah, you read that right. We are accountable for someone else's choice.

....REALLY? She honestly believed this to be true.

But the Qur'an says:

35:18 "And none can carry the load of another; and even if it calls on another to bear part of its load, no other can carry any part of it, even if they were related..."

74:38 "Every soul is accountable for their own sins."

Nobody is held responsible for anyone else's sins but their own. Period. You have no control over anyone else, and they have no control over you.


  1. Ok yeah thats ridiculous. We can't possibly be responsible for someone else's choice.

  2. True. You're giving the money in good faith, believing that they'll use it for something that they need. You can only be responsible for what you do and your own intentions.

    *However*, on a related tangent: I think there's also a level of reasonable expectation, I think I want to call it. By which I mean, charity is good, yes. But you have a responsibility to at least have an idea of what the person or organization you're giving to is going to do with it. In the case of the homeless person, I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that they will use it for food or clothing or some other essential item. Is there a possibility that they will use it for drugs? Yes. But the possible good, imo, outweighs the change that they're going to do themselves harm with it.

    But I know a woman who gives to a tele-evangelists ministry every month. We were talking and she explained that she's never looked into the ministry, never questioned what happens with her money. To her, the fact that she's giving is the most important thing. I think that, especially in the case of a supposedly charitable organization, there is a responsibility on the part of the person giving to make an effort to be informed about what their money is being used for.

    tldr: Giving is good. Giving in willful ignorance is not.

  3. This is a great point, and I agree with Amber.