How Can I Pay Back Stolen Goods if the Company Can’t Be Reached?

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

Back in my teenage years, my friends and I used to take food from the canteen without paying. We didn’t know how wrong that was but have now realized we have debts to pay. However, we have been unable to get in touch with the catering company after several attempts of contacting them. Is there an alternative method with the equivalence of paying this debt?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is a great blessing and mercy from Allah Most High that you have realized your mistakes from your younger days. We should repent to Allah and ask forgiveness, resolve never to repeat the acts we did, and try to restore the value of the stolen property to the rightful owners. [Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din]

What to Do

Regarding the company, you must try every means of contacting them, including emails, phone numbers and even seeing if you can visit their premises if they don’t respond. If the business is still in existence, there will be a way to reach them. Then, you can determine how best to refund them the estimated amount you owe them. Repayment can also be made anonymously or without admitting what the amount is for, such as by purchasing vouchers or products but not taking any product in return.

If the Company Cannot Be Traced

If the company cannot be traced, then the amount can be given in charity at last resort in hopes that removing this from your possession will be accepted as part of repentance.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.