Do I Need to Donate the Undeserved Money Given to Me by My Employer?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


My employer allows me to be flexible with some of my work hours (doing less or more than one week, then making it up after while still reporting “regular” hours). For some time, I overused this allowance well beyond what is customary and accumulated many undone hours. I repented from this, separated the money I was given for those hours, and now I plan to do all that missing work time.

Should I also donate that money as well?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

There is a customary amount of time that the employee may not be engaged in tasks yet still deserve the salary. It is unreasonable and uncustomary for an employer to demand 40 hours a week of solid work without any break or pause. This may even be unethical and against employee rights.

However, if the employee wastes time and goes beyond the limits of what’s allowed customarily, they violate the trust of the employee-employer relationship or contract. As an employee, one must fulfill their side of the contract and act in the employer’s best interest. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

If one has transgressed the above limits yet was still paid for that time due to the employer’s lack of knowledge of the situation, one must either seek permission to keep the money or return the money to the employer. [Ibid.]

The money may be returned to the employer in any manner that causes a transferral of ownership of the wealth in question: gifts, donations, etc… The employee does not need to disclose the nature or reason for giving the money. [Ibid.]

Only if one cannot give the wealth to its appropriate owner (in this case, the employer) does one give the money to charity. [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then 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 stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest 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 Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.