Date: 16th June 2017; 20th or 21st Ramadan 1438; Bismillahi Rahmanir Rahim
ISLAMIC AL-JUMUAA REMINDER AND LEGACY GROUP, (http://aljumaareminder.com/), now oppressed but put our trust in Allah:
A SPECIFIC TAX THAT THE PROPHET OF ALLAH SPOKE AGAINST
It is best for us to begin by saying we are not going to a give any fatwa about tax. What we will share is a fact. Just as we Muslims know that Riba (interest) is haraam (impermissible) even if everyone in the world says it is permissible. It is wise to take note that there are things which the majority of the people in the world find okay even though they are oppressive and not allowed by Allah and His Messenger.
We are going to share some fatwas that we found; there are some things one may agree on or may not agree on but we believe it is necessary to put the fatwa as it is. We will put it as it is because:
- We don’t qualify to give the fatwa
- To raise awareness. If one does not know he is being oppressed then he cannot ask the King (Allah) for justice. We believe that one has to know what he can claim from whom on the Day of Judgment for being oppressed. Whether one will take the oppressors’ good deeds or give the oppressors his bad deeds, Allah is the Best of Judges and in Him we put our trust.
What is the ruling on customs tax paid on imported goods? Is it permissible to pay a sum of money to any of the customs officers in order to reduce the customs payment? For example – paying a sum of money to the officer who evaluates the customs so that he will charge less for customs or submit a report that does not tell the truth?
Praise be to Allah. With regard to the maks (duty, tax) that is taken from the Muslims, this is haraam, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly” (Qur’an 4:29)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to take the wealth of a Muslim except with his consent.” (Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 1459).
Siddeeq Hasan al-Bukhaari said in al-Rawdah al-Nadiyyah, 2/215, concerning customs duty that is levied on the Muslims: “ If we think about it, this is undoubtedly nothing more than the maks.”
Maks is a kind of tax and refers to money that was taken from vendors in the market-places during the Jaahiliyyah, or taken from merchants when they passed through. (See ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, hadeeth no. 2548).
This tax is one of the major sins, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, concerning the woman who had committed zina (adultery), then came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so that the hadd punishment might be carried out on her, “By the one in Whose hand is my soul, she has repented in such a way that if the one who wrongfully takes the maks from people had repented like this, he would have been forgiven.” (Narrated by Muslim, 3208). Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim (11/203): “This shows that the maks is one of the most evil of sins and actions that condemn a man to Hell.”
If a Muslim cannot find any means of warding off this evil from himself other than paying a sum of money to the customs official, then it is permissible for the one who is paying to do that, but for the official who takes this money, it is haraam for him. See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (30/359, 358). This is so long as no greater evil will result from that unavoidable bribe. But if a greater evil will result from that, then it is not permissible to pay it in that case. Also, we must point out the importance of not telling lies. If a person is forced to pay then he should pay and seek the reward for his being wronged with Allah. And Allah knows best.
Is it permissible for him to cheat a kaafir government and take money from them? Here in one of the western countries they give a monthly allowance to everyone who comes and seeks to settle here. They say to everyone who applies: If you find work, you must tell us, so that we can stop the monthly allowance and you will have just the salary from your work. They take 30% in taxes from salaries. Is it permissible to avoid the taxes by not telling them that I have found work, thus getting both the monthly allowance and a salary? I am here for the sake of work and study, and do not plan to settle permanently.
Praise be to Allah.
Firstly: We have quoted on several previous occasions the evidence to prove that it is not permissible for a Muslim to settle in any kaafir country except in cases of need or necessity, subject to certain conditions.
Secondly: If a Muslim enters such a country, he must adhere to the conditions that have been stipulated. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Fulfil (your) obligations” (Qur’an 5:1)
It is not permissible for a Muslim to betray them or cheat them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Render back trusts to the one who entrusted you, and do not betray the one who betrays you.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3534; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described one of the attributes of the hypocrite as being: “When he enters into a covenant, he proves treacherous.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 34; Muslim, 58.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to send his companions to fight the mushrikeen, and one of the things he advised them was: “Do not be treacherous.” Narrated by Muslim, 1731.
This is something which demonstrates the greatness of Islam and the perfection of its laws, for it forbids its followers to be treacherous or to cheat even its enemies.
This state has allowed you to stay there, subject to certain conditions, so you are obliged to fulfil them. Based on this, it is not permissible for you to conceal your work from them so that you can avoid paying taxes and take the monthly allowance when it is not permissible for you. And Allah knows best.
Is it permissible to steal from the kuffaar? Is stealing from the kuffar haram if you live in a kaafir country? The person I’m thinking of is certainly not starving or in need of the things that he steals. It is also rather safe to live as a muslim in this country and the oppression is not grave.
Praise be to Allah.
No one is unaware of the fact that stealing is a major sin, for which Allah has enjoined the punishment of having the hand cut off. Sharee’ah makes no distinction between the wealth of a male and the wealth of a female, or between the wealth of a minor and the wealth of an adult, or between the wealth of a Muslim and the wealth of a kaafir. The only exception made by sharee’ah is the wealth of kaafirs who are waging war against the Muslims.
The Muslim should be a good example of trustworthiness, honouring agreements and good character. When Muslims have had such characteristics, this has been the cause of many kaafirs entering Islam, because they saw the beauties of Islam and the good character of its people.
The Muslim who regards the kaafirs’ wealth as permissible, whether he is in a Muslim country or in a kaafir country, is doing the kaafirs a great favour and helping them to distort the image of Islam and Muslims; he is thereby helping those who are launching attacks against Islam.
When a Muslim enters a kaafir country, it is as if he entering into a peaceful agreement with them – which is the visa which is given to him to enable him to enter their country – so if he takes their wealth unlawfully, then he is breaking that agreement, in addition to being a thief.
The wealth that he steals from them is haraam. It was narrated that al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah kept company with some people during the Jaahiliyyah. He killed them and took their wealth, then he came and entered Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “As for your Islam, I accept it, and as for the wealth, I have nothing to do with it.” According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, “As for your Islam, we accept it, and as for the wealth it is obtained through treachery, and we have no need of it.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2583; Abu Dawood, 2765; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2403).
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said:
The phrase “and as for the wealth, I have nothing to do with it” means, I will not touch it because it was obtained through treachery. What we learn from this is that it is not permissible to take the wealth of the kuffaar by treachery when they have trusted you and granted you safety, because when people accompany one another (when travelling), they do so on the basis of mutual trust, and that trust should not be betrayed, whether the other person is a Muslim or a kaafir. The wealth of the kuffaar is only permissible in the case of combat and war. Perhaps the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) let him keep the wealth in the hope that the people of its owner might become Muslim, then he could return their wealth to them.
Fath al-Baari, 5/341
Al-Shaafa’i (may Allah have mercy on him) said: When a Muslim enters dar al-harb (the non-Muslim lands) on peaceful terms, and finds himself in position to take something of their wealth, it is not permissible for him to take it, whether it is a little or a lot, because if he is safe from them, they should be safe from him, and because it is not permissible for him to take anything from them when they have given him safety except what it is permissible for him to take from the wealth of the Muslims and ahl al-dhimmah (non-Muslims living under the protection of the Muslim state). Wealth may be forbidden for a number of reasons:
If the owner is a Muslim
if the owner is (a non-Muslim) living under the protection of the Muslim state
if the owner is one with whom there is a peace deal, until the deal expires; such people are considered to be like ahl al-dhimmah as far as the sanctity of their wealth is concerned, until the deal expires.
Al-Sarkhasi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is not right for a Muslim who is on peaceful terms with them to betray them, because betrayal is haraam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Every betrayer will have a banner by his backside on the Day of Resurrection, by which his betrayal will be known.”
If he betrays them and steals their wealth, and brings it to the Muslim lands, it is not right for a Muslim to buy from him if he knows about that, because he has obtained it in an evil manner, and buying from him is encouraging him in that, which it is not right for the Muslim to do.
The basic principle in this matter is the hadeeth of al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (may Allah be pleased with him), when he killed his companions and brought their wealth to Madeenah and became Muslim, and asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to take the khums of his wealth, and he said, “As for your Islam, we accept it, and as for the wealth it is obtained through treachery, and we have no need of it.”
And Allah knows best.
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