Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings (Fiqh)
Fatwa#: 14831
Asked Country: United Kingdom

Answered Date: Jan 19,2007

Title: I want to return the money to the person i cheated on

Question

I have got 3 questions to ask. (1) I am a muslim male aged 26 years and I am a U.K. qualified lawyer. I work in a law firm which deals primarily in corporate matters and mergers and acquisitions. Our work also involves advising conventional banking and financial institutions on various aspects of banking law and finance. Please tell me whether this work is Haram and whether the money earned through such a work is Haram for me?; (2) I owe some things and money which I have stolen from people and whom I cannot trace now and who do not live in my country and live abroad. Please tell me what can I do regarding this as I have realised my this huge mistake and want to repent and make good of this situation AND (3) Whether my prayers and other forms of ibadaat will be accepted while I owe these stolen monies and things to people?

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Find attached a brief guideline on the limitations of assisting in sin.

1) Your knowledge of banking law is analogous to an item that can be used for the halal as well as haram like grapes. If your responsibility is merely to advise the bank and it is up to the bank to accept or reject your advise, then you will not be responsible for assisting in sin.

2) If you are unable to trace the people you have cheated then you should dispose off the equivalent of the stolen money to the poor and needy on behalf of the owners. You should also make tawba and Istighfaar. InshAllah your Ibadat and Zikr will be accepted.

And Allah knows best


Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa


 

الإعَانَةُ عَلى الْمَعْصِيَة

 

Assisting in sin

 

The responsibility of the Ulama:

1)      To guide people towards the obedience of Allah Ta’ala.

2)      Identify sins and warn the people against them.

 

Sins

1)      Clear sins.

2)      Unclear sins.

 Examples of unclear sins:

1)      Is it permissible to sell a car to person known to be engaged in immoral acts? E.g. a sex worker.

2)      Is it permissible to hire a building to a bank?

3)      Is it permissible to hire a building to a butchery who will sell Haraam meat?

4)      Is it permissible to work for a non-Muslim government?

5)      Is it permissible to work in a bank?

6)      Is it permissible to be a taxi driver? Passengers would want to go to a pub or nightclub?

 
It is the responsibility of the Ulama to issue rulings on such unclear issues? Are they in actual fact sins or not?

If all the abovementioned examples are reviewed, one will conclude that one is not engaged in clear sins. But the question is: are all the above assisting in sins or not?

 According to the Holy Quraan, it is Haraam to assist in sin. Allah Ta’ala says:

   وَ لاَ تَعَاوَنُوْا عَلى اْلإثْمِ وَ الْعُدْوَان[1] 

This is when a person intends to assist in sin, either حَقِيْقَةً  (in reality) or حُكْماً (it is understood that his intention was such)

 1)      حَقِيْقَةً (in reality) will mean:

a)      The individual has it in his mind that through him the sin will be committed. E.g. I own a building and I want someone to open a cinema there. I approach someone intending to open a business. I appeal to him to hire the building from me and open a cinema on the premises.

b)      When the sin is mentioned in the contract. E.g. I own a building and advertised it for rent. Someone interested approaches me to hire it. When we are drawing up the contract, he mentions his intention of opening up a bottle store.

Although initially, I did not intend assisting in sin, but at the time of contract my intention was found. (I am hiring the building out to a bottle store)

2)      حُكْماً (Understood intention) I sell/hire out an item/place which has only one purpose, i.e. commit sin. E.g. I sell a tabla or I hire out a piano.

Although my express intention was not found, but my intention is understood that I want to assist in sin, since there is no other purpose for these types of items.

When a person has no حَقِيْقِي (express) or حُكْمِي (understood intention) to assist in sin, then such agreements and contracts will be permissible. E.g. I sell a car to someone. After buying the car, he feels like testing the potential of the car and takes a drive to Wild Coast on a gambling spree.

To become a means : التَّسَبُّبْ 

To become a direct سَبَبْ in sin is Haraam according to the Quraan and Sunnah.

Allah Ta’ala says:

 وَ لاَ تَسُبُّوْا الَّذِيْنَ يَدْعُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللهِ فَيَسُبُّوْا اللهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْم[2]

It is mentioned in the Hadith:

 عن عبد الله عَمْرو رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: إن مِن أكبر الكبائر أن ّيلعنَ الرجلُ والدَيه. قِيل: يا رسولَ الله! كَيْفَ يَلْعَنُ الرَّجُلُ والدَيه؟ قال: يَسُبُّ الرَجُلُ أبا الرَّجُلِ فَيَسُبّ أباه ويَسُبُّ أمَّهُ فَيَسُبّ أمَّه.[3] 

The word التَّسَبُّبْ has a very vast meaning. E.g. a shopkeeper sells bread to Mr. A; he eats the bread and later on commits adultery through the energy he gained from the bread. Is selling bread also considered as التَّسَبُّبْ for committing sin? If this is the case, then hardly any transaction in the world will be free from التَّسَبُّبْ!

Review of few examples: 

a) A farmer plants seeds, fruits grow, they are sold in the market, a thief purchases them, gains strength after eating them and commits a crime?

b) A tailor sews clothes; a bank manager purchases them and conducts interest bearing transactions?

c) A brick manufacturer makes bricks, sells it to Mr. A, he goes and builds a casino with them?

Where do we draw the line? What is really considered as التَّسَبُّبْ and what is not?

 

التَّسَبُّبْ (means)is of two types:

1)                القريب ( a close means/assistance)

2)                البعيد (a far off means/assistance)

 

1)                             السبب القريب

 

It is of two types:

1.1)                  السبب القريب المحَرِّك :

 Such a sabab that incites a person towards sin, i.e. if this sabab was not found then sin would not have transpired.

The Quraan refers to this category when it declares التَّسَبُّبْ as Haraam.

 

Examples:

1)      It is Haraam for us to swear the false gods of the disbelievers, as it will incite them to swear Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quraan:

 وَ لاَ تَسُبُّوْا الَّذِيْنَ يَدْعُوْنَ مِنْ دُوْنِ اللهِ فَيَسُبُّوْا اللهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْم[4]

2)      It is Haraam for a woman to speak to strangers in alluring tones, as this will incite their passions. Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Holy Quraan:

 فَلا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَض[5]

Note:

To commit such a sabab is like committing the sin itself.The action of a فاعل مختار in-between will not prevent the sin from being attributed to the person who was the sabab for the sin.

This is supported by the following Hadith:

 عن عبد الله عَمْرو رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: إن مِن أكبر الكبائر أن ّيلعنَ الرجلُ والدَيه. قِيل: يا رسولَ الله! كَيْفَ يَلْعَنُ الرَّجُلُ والدَيه؟ قال: يَسُبُّ الرَجُلُ أبا الرَّجُلِ فَيَسُبّ أباه ويَسُبُّ أمَّهُ فَيَسُبّ أمَّه[6]

 Here Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam considered the musabbib to be involved in a major sin even though there was a فعل فاعل مختار in-between.

 

1.2)                  السبب القريب غير المحرك:

The second type of السبب القريب is a close sabab, but does not incite a person to commit sin; rather it assists him in fulfilling his prohibited intention. The sin is committed by the second person on his own accord without being incited by the musabbib.

Examples:

1)      I sell grapes to a Winery. I am not inciting a winery to squeeze the grapes into wine. This they are doing that on their own accord. If they wish, they can squeeze wine out of them, or if they wish they can sell the grapes to a fresh produce market.

2)      I hire out my building to Mr. A and he goes and opens a bottle store on the building. I did not incite him to open a bottle store. Had he wished, he could have opened a supermarket there, or any other store. He opened the bottle store on his own accord without me inciting him to do so.

The ruling of this category is based on a person’s intention:

a)      If I sold the grapes to a Winery so that wine could be squeezed, then it will be Haraam to sell grapes to the winery.

b)      I did not have the intention for sin to be committed with the item,

This is of two types:

b.1) I had no intention to commit any sin with the item that I sold nor did I know what the purchaser intends doing with the item.

 This will be permissible.  

Examples:

a) I sold bread to Mr. A. He intended to commit adultery. He bought the bread to gain some strength for his evil motive. I had no knowledge of his intention, nor did he inform me of it. It will be permissible for me to sell the bread to such a person.

b) I hire out a house to someone assuming he is going to stay there; subsequently he opens an escort agency.[7]

 

b.2) my intention was not to commit sin, but I knew with certainty that if I sell the item to such a person, he will commit sin with it.

 

E.g. I sell grapes to the Winery without any intention for sin, but I know very well that the Winery only uses the grapes to squeeze wine out of them. They do not use the grapes for any other purpose.

The ruling of such a transaction will be makruh.

This makruh transaction is of two types:

                                                         

1)                                              المكروه التحريميّ: The exact item sold/hired out is used as is to commit sin. E.g. selling readymade weapons to the enemies. Or constructing a building in the shape of a bank and hiring it out to a conventional bank.[8]

2)                                             المكروه التنزيهيّ: The exact item is not used in its sold form to commit sin; rather the sin is committed after some alterations/changes are made to the item. E.g. I sell grapes to a Winery without the intention of sin, but I know for sure, the Winery will squeeze wine out of it.

2) السبب البعيد:

 There is no direct link or assistance in the sin. There is a far link. This will be of no harm to the seller. He will not be liable for any sin.

 For example, a farmer sews seeds, fruits grow, they are sold in the market, a thief purchases them, gains strength after eating them and commits a crime. The farmer will not be liable for the crimes perpetrated by the thief. The farmer’s income will be perfectly in order.

 
And Allah Ta’ala knows best

Darul Iftaa

 



[1] سورة المائدة رقم:2

[2] سورة الأنعام رقم:108

[3] البخاريّ رقم5973دار السلام الرياض, مسلم رقم259 دار المعرفة بيروت لبنان, سنن أبي داؤد رقم5097 مؤسسة الريان,سنن الترمذيّ رقم1902 المكتبة الثقافيّة بيروت لبنان. و هذا لفظ البخاري من النسخة اليونينية مع الحواشي بتحقيق الشيخ الدكتور زهير ناصر الناصر.

[4] سورة الأنعام رقم:108

[5] سورة الأحزاب رقم:32

[6] البخاريّ رقم5973دار السلام الرياض, مسلم رقم259 دار المعرفة بيروت لبنان, سنن أبي داؤد رقم5097 مؤسسة الريان,سنن الترمذيّ رقم1902 المكتبة الثقافيّة بيروت لبنان. و هذا لفظ البخاري من النسخة اليونينية مع الحواشي بتحقيق الشيخ الدكتور زهير ناصر الناصر.

[7] After the lessee opened the agency, the leaser came to know of it. What should he do? Does his Ijaara contract terminate? Mufti Muhammad Shafee’ (A. R) says: “It does not cease; rather it is the leaser’s duty to prevent the lessee from these sinful deeds. His duty terminates here; if the lessee continues his sinful deeds, the leaser will be absolved of his duty and the rent earned will be Halaal.” (Jawaa-hir al-fiqh vol.2)

 

[8] Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhianwiy (A.R) draws a distinction between Muslims and non Muslims. He says that according to him if a property is hired out to a bank then we should see: if the owner /director is a Muslim ,then it will be makruh tahrimiy to hire it out in the above case, and if he is a non Muslim, then it will be makruh tanzihiy.(Ahsan al-fataawa vol.6)

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