On Charity

On Charity

1. On Charity.

2. There are various ways of ascertaining where charity is deserved, and a description of this is given below. A way should be opened for the happiness of worthy and excellent people, for the good of the souls of the devout people, and for (the relief of) every follower of the good religion, who may be unable to preserve himself against hunger, thirst, and (the rigors of) summer and winter. (The poor) should be supported for a long time from the interest on the capital and from the receipts of the income.

3. Charity should be extended towards those among men, who are worthy of being taken care of. In like manner one should be charitable to the poor of superior worth, who are, for years together, without (proper) sustenance. People of evil religions, who may be in danger of suffering from hunger, thirst, and cold, should be saved from these (hardships). Also Margarzani sinners (i.e. those deserving of capital punishment), who may be in dread of religious justice and be unable to help themselves, should be protected. As far as possible one should not partake of food till after feeding the needy. Moreover it is proper for one to be liberal towards the creatures, who, from a religious point, are under his control And other good men, who are the reciters of the Avesta and are the doers of good deeds, should be given the means of sustenance.
(Holy Denkard, Book V, Chapter 19, English translation by Peshotan Dastur Behramjee Sanjana, 1900

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