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Subject : Water Theft is Forbidden

Fatwa Number : 3016

Date : 24-11-2014

Classified : Miscellaneous Fatwas

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

What is the ruling on benefiting from water in an unjust manner that violates the conditions agreed upon with the water-company, either by deactivating the water meter, or pumping water directly from the company`s water pipes.

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah. Blessings and peace be upon Prophet Mohammad.

Water is a favor from Almighty Allah that human beings can`t live without as it is the essence of life. He Says in the Holy Quran (What means): “We made from water every living thing.” {Al-Anbiya/30}.Therefore, preserving it is a legal duty and a collective responsibility since our country faces a scarcity in its water resources. Prophet Mohammed said to a man who was performing ablution: “ Waste not, waste not “ { Ibn Majjah }.

Islam has forbidden unjust benefitting of water regardless of the method used, whether by theft, deactivation of water meters, or the like.

Since water companies are either public, or private, and supplying water to subscribers involves huge expenses shouldered by these companies in terms of drilling wells, water networks piping..etc.

Benefitting from water must go through the legal channels, otherwise, it becomes a matter of transgression and pillage , and the Prophet {PBUH} said in this regard: “ Piety is good manner, and sin is that which creates doubt and you do not like people to know of it.” {Muslim}. It goes without saying that one who benefits from water illegally doesn`t like people to know of it, and doesn`t feel any peace of mind because what he has done is a sin as well as a transgression.

The Hadith: “ Muslims share three things: food, water, and fire “ {Abu Dawood}, doesn`t include the above case since the water which people are allowed to benefit from is that which exists in seas and rivers, not that which is owned since it is forbidden to benefit from the latter without paying for it, or taking the permission of its owner, and it is axiomatic that water companies charge money for supplying subscribers with water. Consequently, those who commit this act are sinful and subject to punishment, so they must seek repentance, pay the value of the quantity that they had stolen as this act is a kind of misappropriation. Allah says in this regard: “If any person is so false, He shall, on the Day of Judgment, restore what he misappropriated; then shall every soul receive its due,- whatever it earned,- and none shall be dealt with unjustly.” {Al-Imraan/161}.

We must remember and remind others that the misappropriation of public funds-such as water- is one of the most forbidden acts since it is a transgression against the property of the Muslim nation. Prophet Mohammad {PBUH} said: “ Some people spend Allah's Wealth (i.e. Muslim's wealth) in an unjust manner; such people will be put in the (Hell) Fire on the Day of Resurrection.“ {Bukhari]. Each Muslim must be trustful, and safe-keep public funds with sincerity, so that he isn`t held liable before Allah in the Hereafter, and that his earnings are lawful and please Allah The Lord of the Worlds. And Allah knows best.



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