Underpaying fares

 

Question:

Respected Shaykh,  I live in the city of Sharjah (UAE) and often take a taxi to go to the neighboring city of Dubai (UAE). Whenever a person takes a taxi from Sharjah to Dubai, there is a 20 Dirham toll that the taxi company charges the customer (in addition to whatever the journey itself costs).

Now a few years ago, there were some journeys I took (from Sharjah to Dubai) where sometimes the driver himself suggested that he would take me to Dubai without charging the 20 Dirham toll. He would simply not plug the charge into the meter. Other times I suggested to the taxi driver to take me to Dubai without charging the 20 Dirham toll, and he agreed.

The issue is that this money belonged to the taxi companies, and not to the driver or me. The driver was merely an employee of the company and I was their customer. So it is a form of stealing & deception because the taxi company did not waive the 20 dirham toll in any of those instances.

I was investigating how to go about returning the money or to give it in charity on behalf of the taxi companies. However, I got two different opinions (from scholars) on whether I should in fact pay at all.

  1. a) One opinion is that since I was the customer, it is my responsibility to return the money to its rightful owners, or give it in charity on their behalf. The taxi driver was merely an agent (or intermediary) between myself and the company, and therefore he (the taxi driver) is not held responsible.
  2. b) The second opinion is that I do not have to pay anything because the driver (being the employee of the company) was the responsible party. He knew full well what the rules of the company are, and as their employee, he made the decision to agree with my suggestion (or in some situations initiated the suggestion himself) and not charge the 20 Dirham toll. Therefore, according to this scholar’s opinion, I am not responsible to pay anything.

Could you please advise which opinion is the correct one, and what I should do?

Wassalamu Alaykum,

Asif

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

A Muslim should always remain distant from elements of dishonesty or deception, whether directly or indirectly.

Even if it was the taxi driver that neglected the toll fare, Imaan requires a believer to refrain from such dealings. One should seek forgiveness from Allah, with the intention of abstaining from such dealings in future.

 

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said,

إِذَا حَكَّ فِي نَفْسِكَ شَيْءٌ فَدَعْهُ

If something turns in your heart (making you feel uncomfortable) then abandon it. (Ahmad 22159)

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net