The Best Instance of Social Assistance and Solidarity
Alms Stones, one of the best instances of social assistance and solidarity, is known as one of the old charity systems that allow human dignity to receive aid without being hurt. The most obvious difference between other charity systems is that solidarity is established not only in the rich-poor line, but also among people with the same social status within a neighborhood. At this juncture, on the contrary charities such as foundations and imarets, alms stones act as help among people who live closer to each other and are in neighborly relations.
Through these alms stones, which were widely seen during the Ottoman period, aids were carried out in cash and kind. as cash aids coins were left instead of paper to prevent the money fly away, and as kind aids clothing and various foods were left. The poor and the needy took only as much as they needed from donations whose accumulated in the alms stones, and took care to leave to the other poor. These donations were usually made by leaving charity in the pit at the top of this stone, usually in the dark of night or at a time when no one else was there. Those who were afraid to beg even though they needed it would come to the stone late-night hour to get the amount they needed.
The alms stones widely used in the geography commanded by the Ottoman Empire have become one of the cultural elements that should be protected today. These stones, which are also referred to in various regions with names such as "Zakat Stone", "Zakat Well", "Beggar Altar", "Necessity Stone", "places for giving alms", "Poor Stone", "Charities Pit", they are erected in front of mosques, dervish lodge, madrasah courtyards, a corner which three or five neighborhoods unite and buildings poor, needy and sick people are housed (such as helpless dervish lodge in Uskudar). Also, it is known that alms stones were erected in executioners graveyards. Executioners were out of favour due to profession's. For this reason, they were buried in graveyards far from the settlement only by erecting a stone on the head of the tomb without their names written. people who visited graveyards at certain times left money for the alms stones erected on the edge of the executioner graveyard and left their charity so that the families of the executioners could get by.
Thanks to ayah about aid in the Qur'an and the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (sav), the charity was taken care of in Ottoman culture and the charity was seen as the most important issue of social balance in ideal Islamic societies. alms stones are a reflection of cities' charity culture which given without hypocrisy and hurting needy people.
On the other hand, Islam's approach to charity, without discrimination among people to help everyone in need -even everything - is universal. In this regard, it is important that the Prophet (Sav) change the practice of charity after the following verse:
"O son of Adam! If you give your surplus it is better for you, and if you keep it, it is worse for you, but there is no harm with what is sufficient. And begin(the giving) with your dependents, and the upper hand (giving) is better than the lower hand (receiving)." ( Tirmidhi Chapters On Zuhd 32 / Muslim The boof of Zakat 97 )
It is not required of thee (O Messenger.), to set them on the right path, but Allah sets on the right path whom He pleaseth. Whatever of good ye give benefits your own souls, and ye shall only do so seeking the "Face" of Allah. Whatever good ye give, shall be rendered back to you, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly. ( Baqarah 2/272)
It is known that the Prophet ordered that no charity should be given to anyone other than Muslims until this verse has come. But after this revelation, the Prophet informed that all those who opened their hands could be given charity without questioning their faith, and he applied it. In short, it is fixed that Islam has a universal criterion in its understanding of solidarity. We see a kind attitude on this subject in the memories of Ahmed Yuksel Ozemre as follows:
"Uskudar community kept coins in his pocket to give it to the poor consistently when he went out on the street. The charity would be given to those who wanted to. needy people, even if he was drunk, would never have been insulted. Uskudar people, who know well that the advice will not be influence to the drunk only pray that they will say, "May God remove you from bad habit, transform your things into usefulness. In response: "Amen, sir; God bless you."
Some places where the alms stones are located;
in the courtyard of Suleymaniye Mosque, the entrance of Soguk Cesme street Hagia Sophia Mosque, next to the entrance door of Karakoy Arab Mosque, in front of Cagaloğlu Haci Bashir Agha fountain, next to imrahor mosque at Uskudar Dogancılar, next to Uskudar Karacaahmet Fethi Ahmet Pasha Mosque, the courtyard of Karacaahmet Ascibasi Mosque, the courtyard of Karacaahmet Ascibasi Mosque, the right of the main entrance gate of Fatih Mehmed Aga Mosque, corner which Aksaray Sofular street and Ragıp Bey street converged, Kocamustafapasa Sumbul Efendi Mosque and tomb, the courtyard of Kocamustafapasa Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha Mosque.