Returning Stolen Property

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Sidi `Abd al-Rahim Reasat

Question: If a person takes something they are not allowed to from the company they work for and then after leaving the organization realizes the sin that they committed. What should one do after they have repented to Allah to make their repentance successful? Are they allowed to give items of their own away which will cover some of the total to charity and pray that the money in some way goes back to the company?

Answer: Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well. Alhamdulillah, your desire to make tawba and set things right is in itself a blessing from Allah, and should be taken as a good sign.

The products that were taken must be returned to the company seeing as it owns them. If that is no longer possible then their equivalent value should be given. You do not have to personally return the items, getting them to a manager or the like with an anonymous letter should suffice insha’Allah.

Your possessions that were given away will be considered as charity (sadaqa), and will go a long way, insha’Allah, in compensating for what was done, as mentioned by Imam al-Ghazali (may Allah Most High be well pleased with him) in the Ihya. He also mentioned that a repentance (tawba), when accompanied by all its conditions (remorse, leaving the sin, resolving never to return to it, and returning the rights of others), will always be accepted by Allah Most High.

“And when those who believe in Our signs come to thee, say, ‘Peace be upon you. Your Lord has prescribed for Himself mercy. Whosoever of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and makes amends, He is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.'” (6.54)

[Maydani, al-Lubab; Ghazali, Ihya `Ulum al-Din)

And Allah knows best.

‘Abd al-Rahim Reasat

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani