How Can I Repent for Harming or Stealing from Others When I Can’t Reach Them?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


How do I repent from harming others or stealing from others if I am unable to reach them for various reasons?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Whoever has wronged their fellow Muslim regarding their honor or their wealth, let them seek from them to be released of the sin before the Day in which there is no gold or silver. One’s righteous deeds will be taken away, and if they have no more righteous deeds, they will be given their sins.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Imam al-Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) said,

“It is therefore necessary to seek release from the wrongdoing if one is able. If the person who one wronged is gone or deceased, then one must increase in seeking forgiveness and supplicating for them and increase in righteous deeds.” [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]

Additionally, one can supplicate Allah Most High to inspire that person to forgive.

Sound Repentance

Conditions of a Sound Repentance

In order for one’s repentance to be sincere and sound, one must meet the following conditions:

  • Sincere remorse over the sin;
  • Immediately abandoning the sin;
  • Having a firm resolve never to repeat the sin
  • If the sin relates to wronging the rights of others, a fourth condition must be met: The wrong must be redressed.

In case of theft, the item or its monetary value must be returned to the ownership of its original owner.

In case of violating one’s honor, one must apologize directly to them in detail. If this would cause more harm, then one will take the above advice. [Nawawi, Riyadh al-Salihin]

Stolen Wealth

If you know who the person is, you must seek forgiveness directly from them. If doing so would cause more issues, then one will apply the above advice in this case as well. As for the money, by whatever means you can get the money or the monetary value of the items stolen to the person or company that was stolen from it is an obligation and a prerequisite of repentance. [Ibid.]

You do not need to disclose what the money is for or even who it is from. It can be given as an anonymous gift. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he went on to study at Darul Uloom Seminary in New York and completed his studies at Darul Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen. There, he completed the memorization of the Qur’an and his study of the Islamic Sciences. Throughout his years of study, he was blessed to learn from many great scholars: al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, al-Habib Kazhim al-Saqqaf, al-Shaykh Umar bin Husayn al-Khatib, and others. Upon returning, he joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.