Can I Pay Charity as Expiation for Damaging Someone’s Property?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat


I remember when I was younger and we had a neighbour who has moved now, they had quite a weak fence for the garden and one time I remember, wrongly, breaking it off. 

Now they have moved and no longer live here and my guess is to pay money to charity but I wonder what I would have to pay. It was only a part of the fence and not the whole thing but it was quite weak. 

Would I have to pay for the value of that section in relation to the whole or how should I pay? Is there an estimated value of how much to pay? 


I pray you are well.

Rectifying Wrongs

Breaking the part of the fence was wrong, and if you had passed puberty it was a sin from which you must repent. Repentance entails remorse, ceasing, resolving not to go back to something, and restoring financial rights. (Nawawi, Riayd al Salihin) There is no sin if you were a child, but the financial rights needs to be restored. (Maydani, al Lubab)

These rights do not have to be restored, however, if the owner forgives you. You should try to get contact with him and explain the matter and ask for forgiveness. The chances are that he will pardon you.

Paying People Back

If he does not then you must pay him the what it would have cost him in damage. You could maybe ask him for an estimate, or speak to someone who has some knowledge in this matter. Once you pay him the elements of the tawba will be complete. `

If you cannot locate him then give some charity, and do some other good deeds and donate the reward of them to him. This way you will have compensated him with what will be more valuable than money on the Day of Judgement. (Sha’rani, al Kawkab al Shahiq)

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.