Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
If I had bought a mobile phone with haram money in the past, do I actually have to sell the phone and then dispose of the money by giving it to charity? Or should I simply give the equal amount of money from my possession to charity? Does the phone remain haram to use forever?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
No, you may keep your phone as you are only required to return the portion of the unlawfully acquired wealth (mal khabith) to its rightful owner, or when not possible, to give the amount away in charity (sadaqa) without any expectation of reward.
The basis is that money acquired through unlawful means, such as theft, misappropriation, bribery or otherwise, is unlawful to use for your benefit. Allah Most High says, “You who believe, do not wrongfully consume each other’s wealth but trade by mutual consent.” [4:29]
If it is used in some manner, however, the specific amount would enter your dues (dhimma). The same would apply in the case that the unlawful wealth was mixed with your other wealth, except that here it would automatically fall into your dues.
Nevertheless, you need to repent for your wrong: the wrong of having taken another’s wealth without permission, and the wrong of having used it instead of returning it. Consider also giving something extra in charity by way of remorse because good deeds wipe out bad ones.
But remember that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.” [Ibn Majah] So be of good cheer, and have hope in your Ever-Merciful Lord.
[Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘ (2.992/1018); Kasani, Bada‘i al-Sana‘i; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya]
Please also see: Accepting Wealth from a Person Whose Wealth is Predominantly Unlawful and: How Do I Get Rid Of Haram Money? and: Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.