A stranger comes up to you, out of the blue, and tells their story of how their car broke down and they need money for a taxi, they offer you their Civil ID as collateral for the money sometimes.
Has this situation ever occurred with you? If so, what was your response? Read on.
I have been in similar situations before, but as of late the act has become increasingly recurrent in Kuwait.
2 days ago as I was getting my work out done at the gym, a stranger approaches me (whilst on the elliptical machine) who recognizes me from a previous gym I attended. He told me he had made plans with a friend to pick him up after his work out, but said friend was no showing. At first he asked if I could give him a ride home, I was still not finished with my work out, also I had an errand to run after the gym. He then asks if I could loan him money to take a taxi. I told him, in all truthfulness, I had left my wallet in the car (I only remembered to take it out yesterday mind you).
Would you ever ask a stranger for some money?
I thought of this and came up with the following answer:
Now, each of us possesses a mobile, with numbers of relatives, neighbors, friends, colleagues, associates etc. i.e. people that KNOW us. If ever you are in dire straits and need assistance, financial or logistical, then it is a simple matter of calling up a friend and requesting assistance. This person knows you at least. As opposed to asking a stranger for money.
Some people counter argue by using Pride as a motive for not asking someone you know. If your pride prevents you from asking a favor from someone you know, then asking a stranger for the same is just an ignorant double standard.
I am all for helping people I know, strangers at times, but I remember two incidents that happened to me in Salmiya that left me cautious of aiding strangers in the streets:
1) A guy my age came up to me and asked for money to take a taxi. After I gave him some money and walked away, I returned only to find standing in the very same spot, approaching other strangers.
2) A woman (in an abaya) asked me for money in Salmiya as well, I pretended I did not speak Arabic, she responded in broken English, so again, I helped her out. I gave her some money, not what she had initially asked me for, and she actually asked for more.
Most Muslims will argue that you are rewarded based on your intent, and not on their intent. If a beggar is not sincere, it is not your fault. However, that is not the case.
Suppose you donated money to an organisation claiming it was feeding the poor of Sudan, whilst it was actually supplying weaponry to their tormentors. By not doing what you could have done to ensure that your money is going to the correct place, you helped take a life. Whether or not you will be punished for this, or whether or not it will weigh on your conscience is a moot point. That is YOUR money.
Hence, it is not simply a matter of blind faith when giving money to strangers. Exercise caution as well.