Do I Have to Return Money Donated on a Lie, or Can it Be Given to Charity?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


I asked people to donate to my PayPal to help me get a camera, but rather than just ask directly for money to buy a new camera, I instead said that I needed the money to get a replacement camera because my former one had been stolen. This was a lie, as this was the first time I had a previous camera. Now, I’ve received donations for the camera, but I’m afraid of using the money to buy one because even though people gave me their money willingly & knew what they were donating it for, I still lied to them by saying it was to get a replacement camera rather than to get a new one. Can I use this money to buy the camera? Should I give it back? I can’t admit to them about lying in the first place; it would hurt our friendship. Can I give it to charity?


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

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question and for seeking guidance.

You can do the following and repent and seek forgiveness for doing this:

  • Buy a camera with your own earned money; or
  • Borrow some money from someone else other than the friends who have donated.

Then, return the money to everyone and say you genuinely will not need the money. You have come to own a camera through some other means, and there is no need to mention the reason. Thank them for their time and donation.

Money Has to be Returned to its Original Owner

You must return the money to its original owner. You may transfer and let them know, as mentioned above.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made it clear that one is liable to repay any money obtained through such means. And while it is true that Islam clears the sins of one’s past, this doesn’t lift any financial liabilities one has. [Khadimi, Al-Bariqa Sharh al-Tariqa]

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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.