Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Should someone’s expensive designer clothing be destroyed and thrown away because they previously stole or defrauded others, made a lot of money, and purchased them with it but no longer know the people they cheated?
What if they don’t know the people they robbed and have no money to donate? What if their clothes can’t be donated because there is no organization?
What should I do? The cost of the clothing was €15,000.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
The rulings of an item purchased with illicit money depend on whether it was purchased with illicit money only or with mixed wealth (i.e., a mixture of permissible and impermissible wealth).
Types of Wealth Used in the Purchase
If you purchased the clothing with the exact money that was stolen or you mixed the stolen money with other permissible wealth and spent from your total wealth more than the permissible amount therein – the clothes are illicitly acquired and strictly prohibited to keep or use. [Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘]
Suppose one is unable to return the clothing or the money. In that case, it is obligatory for them to donate the clothing to the poor (preferably poor Muslims) with the intention of merely removing the prohibited clothing from one’s possession. [Ibid.]
Methods of Donation
It is not a requirement that the person/organization know the nature or reason behind the donation. Putting the clothing in a donation bin or giving it directly to a poor person is sufficient.
There may be no organizations in your area, but it is unlikely that there are no poor people (especially the homeless) in your area.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever buys a garment with ten coins, one of which is of illicit sources, Allah will not accept their prayer as long as it remains on them (…).” [Ahmad; Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman]
From this narration and the above details, it is clear that one must be cautious regarding the sources of their income. The food one eats, the clothes one wears, etc., profoundly affect one’s religious practice: food more so than clothing.
In the city of Tarim, a tradition has been passed down that wife would tell their husband as they left to earn a living, “Fear Allah regarding us. We can be patient with hunger, but we can not be patient with the Hellfire.”
Related Link: Reader on Stealth and Returning Stolen Items
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.
He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.
In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.