Whether male or female, begging as a profession is not permissible in Islam. But, it is allowed for life and death situation or as a last resort of survival.
It is permissible to ask for people for money, for the one who is in need and does not have enough to suffice him and he is not able to earn a living. If there is no way and it is necessary to ask for help, it is allowed. Begging as a profession is not allowed if it is not a life and death situation, but seeking help is allowed in certain conditions (condition like mentioned in the question).
Some Hadis on discouragement for Begging,
- Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) says,
“Some of the people of the Ansar asked something from Rasulullah (ﷺ), and he gave it to them. Then they again asked him and he gave them until he had spent everything he had. He then said, “If I had anything more, I would not withhold it from you. If someone refrains from begging, Allah will spare him from needing to ask. If someone wants to be independent, Allah will make him so…”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1469)
- Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (ﷺ) said:
“By the One in whose hand my life is, it is better for one of you to take a rope and carry firewood on his back than for him to go to someone and beg, who will either give him or refuse to give him anything.”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1470 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1042)
- Sayyiduna Hakim ibn Hizam (radiyallahu ‘anhu) says:
“I asked Nabi (ﷺ) for something, and he gave to me. I asked him a second and third time, he gave me as well. The third time he said,
‘O Hakim, this wealth is lush and sweet. Anyone who takes it (without greed) will be blessed in it but anyone who takes it in a desirous way will not be blessed in it, just like someone who eats and is not satisfied. The upper hand (the hand that gives) is better than the lower hand (the hand that receives).'”
Hakim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) says, “I said, ‘O Rasulullah, by the One who sent you with the Truth, I will never again ask anyone for anything until I leave this world.'”…
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1472)
- Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (ﷺ) said:
“A man who continues to beg, will not have any flesh on his face on the Day of Qiyamah”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1474 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1040)
- Abu Huraira is reported to have heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying:
It is letter for one among you to bring a load of firewood on his back and give charity out of it (and satisfy his own need) and be independent of people, than that he should beg from people, whether they give him anything or refuse him. Verily the upper hand is better than the lower hand, and begin (charity) with your dependants.
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1402)
and will provide him sustenance from whence he never even imagined.
Whoever puts his trust in Allah, He shall suffice him. Surely Allah
brings about what He decrees; Allah has set a measure for everything.
(Noble Quran 65:3)
It is haraam (prohibited) to beg, whether it is male or female.
But, the condition you stated is not normal. If someone is in that position, it is our duty to help him/her financially and socially. It is a right of one Muslim over another. But, unfortunately we are unaware of our Deen and refraining our hands from charity. It is one of the main reason behind this type of conditions.
Woman outside home for Rizq (sustenance):
It is not allowed for a woman to go outside for unnecessary reason. But, it is allowed to go outside and work outside to collect rizq (sustenance) in halaal (legal) way. If a woman outside home, it is mandatory to be sure about the condition of workplace. It must be safe environment for a woman to work.
Ayah (verse) on encouraging woman to stay in safe condition,
“And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of
the times of ignorance”[al-Ahzaab 33:33]
Hadis on allowing women to go outside to collect sustenance,
Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: my maternal aunt got divorced and wanted to go and pick some fruit from her trees. A man told her off for going out, so she went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he said, “Never mind, go and pick the fruit from your trees. Maybe you will be able to give it in charity or do something good with it.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1483)
Although, if there is no way and it is extremely necessary to beg, she can do it as last resort.
Allah does not burden any human being with a responsibility heavier
than he can bear. Everyone will enjoy the fruit of the good that one
has earned and shall suffer for the evil that one has committed. (O
Believers, pray like this to Allah: “Our Lord! Do not seize us if we forget
or are mistaken; our Lord! And do not place on us a heavy burden
(responsibility) as You did on those before us; our Lord! And do not
impose on us a burden, for which we do not have the strength; and
pardon us – and forgive us – and have mercy on us – You are our
Master, therefore help us against the disbelievers.”
(Surah Baqarah: 286)
Ruling on Begging
Woman working outside home