Is It Theft to Ride a Bus Without a Ticket if Driver Allows?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered By Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Fayez Awad


Am I considered a thief if I enter a bus or public transportation without a ticket but with the bus driver’s permission?


Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and (peace and blessings be upon His noble messenger), his family, and all his companions.

Unjust Wealth

Allah (Most High) has forbidden the consumption of wealth unjustly, as He says,

“Do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly.” [Quran, 2:188]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), warned against taking money unjustly, saying,

“This property is green and sweet. Whoever takes it rightfully and places it rightfully, it is an excellent aid. Whoever takes it without right is like one who eats but never gets full.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

He also said,

“This money is green and sweet. A Muslim who gives it to the poor, the orphan, and the wayfarer is good. Whoever takes it without right is like one who eats but never gets full, and it will be a witness against him on the Day of Resurrection.” [Ibid.]

Betrayal and Theft

Using public transportation without payment falls under this category and is a form of betrayal, even if the driver allows it because he is an employee of the company and does not own the bus or other transportation means. However, this does not fall under theft but rather consuming people’s wealth unjustly, as it does not meet the definition of theft.

Theft, linguistically, is taking something from another stealthily. Technically, it is when an adult of sound mind stealthily takes a minimum amount (nisab) or its equivalent value, belonging to someone else, in which the thief has no doubt of ownership. [Shirazi, al-Muhadhab; Ramli, Nihayat al-Muhtaj; Qalyubi and ‘Umayra, Hashiyata al-Qalyubi wa ‘Umayra; Bahuti, Kashaf al-Kina‘; Maqdisi, Matn al-Iqna‘]

We ask Allah to honor us with lawful provision and keep us away from unlawful wealth and earning it, as He is the Hearer, the Responder.

And Allah knows best.

[Shaykh] Dr. Muhammad Fayez Awad

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Fayez Awad, born in Damascus, Syria, in 1965, pursued his Islamic studies in the mosques and institutes of Damascus. A graduate of the Islamic University of Medina in 1985, he holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Bahauddin Zakariya University in Pakistan.

He has extensive experience developing curricula and enhancing the teaching of various academic courses, including conducting intensive courses. Shaykh Awad has taught Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Quranic sciences, the history of legislation, inheritance laws, and more at several institutes and universities such as Al-Furqan Institute for Islamic Sciences and Majma‘ al-Fath al-Islami in Damascus.

He is a lecturer at the Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih Waqf University in Istanbul, teaching various Arabic and Islamic subjects, and teaches at numerous Islamic institutes in Istanbul. Shaykh Awad is a member of the Association of Syrian Scholars, a founding member of the Zayd bin Thabit Foundation, a member of the Syrian Scholars Association, and a member of the Academic Council at the Iman Center for Teaching the Sunna and Quran.

Among his teachers from whom he received Ijazat are his father, Shaykh Muhammad Muhiyiddin Awad, Shaykh Muhiyiddin al-Kurdi, Shaykh Muhammad Karim Rajih, Shaykh Usama al-Rifai, Shaykh Ayman Suwaid, Shaykh Ahmad al-Qalash, Shaykh Muhammad Awwama, and Shaykh Mamduh Junayd.