Returning money unlawfully taken.

Question:

As-Salamu-Alaykum Shaykh,

I wanted to enquire what the status is of profits made from stolen/usurped money (or money that doesn’t belong to you)?

I realize that with regards to money/wealth that doesn’t belong to a person, this money needs to be returned to its rightful owners. However, what about profits made from this stolen money, does this too need to be given to the owners of the original capital?

Eg: 

a) You bought a house using money that doesn’t belong to you, and you put that house on rent for 15 years. You have now realised your mistake and wish to repent and return the original sum of money to the rightful owners. Do you return the original sum of money only, or do you also given them all the rental income (multiplied by 15 years) that you made? 

In this scenario, do you give them the original sum of money or do you give them the house (which was bought using their money) and transfer the ownership of the house to them? 

b) You put this money (which doesn’t belong to you) in a bank and accrued bank interest off of it. Do you give the rightful owners just the capital (original) amount of money or you give them the original plus all bank interest that you had accrued using this money?

c) Is inflation taken into account when returning money to their rightful owners?

Wasslaamu Alaykum.

Answer:

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

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

Stealing is a major sin and has negative consequences on one earnings and Ibadaat. Whatever is stolen must be returned to the rightful owner. It is impermissible to utilize or take any benefit from the unlawful monies. If one performs Ibadaah with a stolen item that Ibadaah is not accepted. Consider the following Hadith:

 عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ – رضي الله عنه – قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم -:  مَنْ اشْتَرَى ثَوْبًا بِعَشَرَةِ دَرَاهِمَ وَفِيهِ دِرْهَمٌ حَرَامٌ , لَمْ يَقْبَلْ اللهُ لَهُ صَلَاةً مَادَامَ عَلَيْهِ

Translation: It has been reported from Abdullah Ibn Umar that Nabi (ﷺ) said:

Whoever buys a cloth for ten dirhams and one dirham is haram, Allah will not accept his Salaah as long as that cloth is upon him.

In the inquired case, the original sum of stolen money will have to be returned. The house may be sold to acquire back the money.

Any benefits acquired from the unlawful money, such as the rental income will have to be given away in Sadaqah (charity)[1]. If the actual amount is unknown, an average should be made to the best of one’s ability.

Interest in itself is haram, and will have given away to the needy. Only the original sum of money that was unlawfully taken will have to be returned to the owner, without considering inflations etc.

Sincere Tawbah and Istighfaar should be made, and forgiveness must be sought from the owner to the monies.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

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


[1] البناية شرح الهداية (11/ 200)

قال: ومن غصب ألفا فاشترى بها جارية فباعها بألفين، ثم اشترى بالألفين جارية فباعها بثلاثة آلاف درهم فإنه يتصدق بجميع الربح، وهذا عندهما. وأصله: أن الغاصب أو المودع إذا تصرف في المغصوب أو الوديعة وربح لا يطيب له الربح عندهما.