The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not accept charity, whereas he used to accept gifts. Are we obliged to do the same and not accept charity if we are well-off? Note: I do not mean Zakaah when I say charity, as Zakaah has its due legitimate recipients according to the noble Quranic verse.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.
A Muslim should not ask others for charity, unless he is in need of it and deserves it. However, if a Muslim was given charity without asking for it and is not in need of it, then there is no harm in accepting it as there is no prohibition in this regard. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab : “Take whatever comes to you of this money (i.e. charity) if you are not keen on having nor asking for it. Otherwise (i.e. if it does not come to you then) do not seek after it.” [Al-Bukhari and others]
However, if one knows that this charity was intended for a specific category of recipients to which he does not belong, the poor or needy for example, then it is impermissible for him to accept such a charity.
We would like to clarify that what the questioner referred to in his inquiry about the impermissibility of accepting charity is exclusively for the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his noble family.
Allaah Knows best.