Subject : Giving Back Stolen Items is a Condition for Repentance
Fatwa Number : 780
Date : 16-06-2010
Classified : Things that rescue, good relations with relatives
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

When I was a school student, I used to steal money from my parents, and one day, I stole two gold liras from my brother`s house. Thanks to Allah, I have repented from this sin. What am I liable for, and what is the expiation that I should pay, taking into consideration the fact that I don`t remember the exact sums?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

The person who has committed theft must repent as soon as possible and give back rights to whom they belong because this is among the conditions for true repentance. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "He who has done a wrong affecting his brother's honor or anything else, let him ask his forgiveness today before the time (i.e., the Day of Resurrection) when he will have neither a dinar nor a dirham. If he has done some good deeds, a portion equal to his wrong doings will be subtracted from them; but if he has no good deeds, he will be burdened with the evil deeds of the one he had wronged in the same proportion." {Bukhari&Muslim}.

Dear asker, if you have repented, then praise be to Allah Who has guided you to that, and we pray that He accepts from you. However, you must give back what you have stolen; therefore, you need to ask about the price of the two gold liras and give it back to your brother, and you must also give back what you have stolen from your parents. But, if you can`t afford that, then you should promise to deliver what you owe them, ask them to accept receiving it by installments, or ask them to clear you from the liability.

Nonetheless, if your confession will lead to conflict, dispute and severance of kinship ties, then it is permissible that you give back the sums you have stolen without telling them about that. For example, you could do this by placing the money in an envelope on which you write: "This is yours" and send it to their address. You could also send it as a present" and the like.

Al-Imam An-Nawawi (May Allah have mercy on him) said: "If a person doubts that his-relative or friend- will allow him to eat from the fruits of his garden and house, then it is unlawful for him to do so according to the unanimous agreement of the scholars.

However, if he thinks that it is most probable that his relative or friend will approve of it and won`t dislike his doing such a thing, then he is permitted to eat the amount which he thinks that he will approve of, and this varies according to person, time, place, wealth, and situation." {Al-Mjmou`, vol.9/pp.59}. And Allah Knows Best.



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