The following is the translation of an Arabic Q&A from the website of the noble jurist, Islamic politician and mufassir Sheikh `Ata’ Ibn Khalil Abu Rashta (Allah preserve him).
Is it permissible to accept a gift from someone who earns his money through haram means (for example through gambling, riba (usury), insurance contracts, or selling wine)? Is it permissible for his family to accept his expenses from this money that is haram? Thank you very much.
There are types of haram:
- Haram in and of itself such as wine... It is haram to gift with it, so it is forbidden (haram) for the owner of the wine and for the one whom the gift is for. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
حُرِّمَتِ الْخَمْرُ بِعَيْنِهَا
"Khamr was forbidden in and of itself." (Narrated by an-Nasa'i)
- Haram for it is a human being's right (Haq) that is stolen or taken forcefully... This is forbidden (haram) for the thief and the usurper, in which it is not permissible to gift as it is haram for the one who took the money from it and for the recipient of the gift. This money is the right of its possessor, and wherever he is, the money must be returned to the rightful owner. Some of the evidences for this are:
أخرج أحمد عَنْ سَمُرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِذَا سُرِقَ مِنَ الرَّجُلِ مَتَاعٌ، أَوْ ضَاعَ لَهُ مَتَاعٌ، فَوَجَدَهُ بِيَدِ رَجُلٍ بِعَيْنِهِ، فَهُوَ أَحَقُّ بِهِ، وَيَرْجِعُ الْمُشْتَرِي عَلَى الْبَائِعِ بِالثَّمَنِ»
Ahmad has narrated on authority of Samurah that he said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "If a man has something stolen from him, or loses something, and he finds it in the possession of a man who bought it, then he has more right to it, and the one who bought it should ask for his money back from the one who sold it to him."
This is a text that shows that stolen money must be returned to its owner.
Money by force is also guaranteed to the one from whom it was forced, so the usurper must return whatever taken by force to its possessor.
عَنْ سَمُرَةَ، عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «عَلَى اليَدِ مَا أَخَذَتْ حَتَّى تُؤَدِّيَ»، أخرجه الترمذي وقال هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ.
It was narrated from Samurah that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The hand which takes is responsible till it pays," narrated by at-Tirmidhi and he said it is a Hasan Hadith.
- Haram for batil (invalid) transactions such as the money of usury and gambling... This is forbidden only for the one who received it, but the haram does not extend to the one who received the money through a permissible manner from the one who commits riba or gambles. For example, selling the one who deals with riba goods and receiving their cost, the wife receiving her expenses from her husband who deals with usury, the one who deals with riba brings a gift to one of his relatives, or any other permissible transactions. The sin for this haram money applies on the who dealt with usury and neither on the one who attains the price of his goods, nor on the wife receiving her expenses, or the one receiving a gift, and that is because the haram does not regard two people in this state. Some evidences on that are:
1. Allah سبحانه وتعالى said:
وَلَا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلَّا عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ
"What each self earns is for itself alone. No burden-bearer can bear another's burden."
2. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to deal with the Jews in Madinah, with the knowledge that most of their money was from riba. Allah سبحانه وتعالى said:
فَبِظُلْمٍ مِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ طَيِّبَاتٍ أُحِلَّتْ لَهُمْ وَبِصَدِّهِمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا* وَأَخْذِهِمُ الرِّبَا وَقَدْ نُهُوا عَنْهُ وَأَكْلِهِمْ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ
"For wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [certain] good foods which had been lawful to them, and for their averting from the way of Allah many [people]* And [for] their taking of usury while they had been forbidden from it, and their consuming of the people's wealth unjustly." The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to accept gifts from them.
ورد عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ: أَنَّ امْرَأَةً مِنَ الْيَهُودِ أَهْدَتْ لِرَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَاةً مَسْمُومَةً، فَأَرْسَلَ إِلَيْهَا، فَقَالَ: «مَا حَمَلَكِ عَلَى مَا صَنَعْتِ؟» قَالَتْ: أَحْبَبْتُ - أَوْ أرَدْتُ - إِنْ كُنْتَ نَبِيًّا فَإِنَّ اللهَ سَيُطْلِعُكَ عَلَيْهِ، وَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ نَبِيًّا أُرِيحُ النَّاسَ مِنْكَ.
It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that a woman from the Jews gave the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم a poisoned sheep, so he sent to her and said: "What induced you to do what you have done?" She said: "I liked - or I wanted- if you were a prophet, Allah will tell you, but if you were not a prophet, I should rid the people of you."
3. Some of the Sahaba and Tabi'een made it permissible to receive gifts from the one who takes riba:
جاء رجل إلى ابن مسعود فَقَالَ: إِنَّ لِي جَارًا يَأْكُلُ الرِّبَا، وَإِنَّهُ لَا يَزَالُ يَدْعُونِي، فَقَالَ: "مَهْنَؤُهُ لَكَ وَإِثْمُهُ عَلَيْهِ" أخرجه عبد الرزاق الصنعاني في مصنفه.
A) A man came to Ibn Masoud and said: I have a neighbor who eats from usury, and he still invites me, so Ibn Masoud said: "the good deed is for you, and the sin is for him" narrated by Abdul-Razzaq as-San'ani in his Musannaf.
B) Al-Hassan was asked: Can the food of moneychangers be eaten? He said: "Allah سبحانه وتعالى has told you about the Jews and an-Nasara, they used to eat from usury, and He made their food permissible for you"narrated by Abdul-Razzaq as-San'ani in his Musannaf (workbook) on authority of Ma'mar.
وسُئِلَ الْحَسَنُ أَيُؤْكَلُ طَعَامُ الصَّيَارِفَةِ؟ فَقَالَ: "قَدْ أَخبرَكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْيَهُودِ وَالنَّصَارَى، إِنَّهُمْ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا، وَأَحَلَّ لَكُمْ طَعَامَهُمْ" أخرجه عبد الرزاق الصنعاني في مصنفه عن معمر.
C) It was narrated by Mansour that he said: I told Ibrahim: I went to a worker's place, so he hosted me and offered me money. Ibrahim said: "Accept", so Mansour said: the worker takes usury. Ibrahim said: "Accept as long as you did not command him or help in his usury" narrated by Abdul-Razzaq as-San'ani in his Musannaf (workbook) on authority of Ma'mar.
عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ قَالَ: قُلْتُ لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ: نَزَلْتُ بِعَامِلٍ، فَنَزَلَنِي وَأَجَازَنِي قَالَ: "اقْبَلْ" ، قُلْتُ: فَصَاحِبُ رِبًا قَالَ: "اقْبَلْ مَا لَمْ تَأْمُرْهُ أَوْ تُعِنْهُ" أخرجه عبد الرزاق الصنعاني في مصنفه عن معمر.
4. However, it is better not to deal with possessors of forbidden (haram) money that stemmed from usury, so you neither sell them nor accept a gift from them motivated by piety; so the seller will not receive profit from his riba-contaminated merchandise, and do not accept their gift so that it won't be from the money of usury. In this way, Muslims distance themselves from everything that is impure, and the Companions of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم used to refrain from several permissible domains (Mubahat) for fear of approaching the haram.
أنه قال «لَا يَبْلُغُ العَبْدُ أَنْ يَكُونَ مِنَ المُتَّقِينَ حَتَّى يَدَعَ مَا لَا بَأْسَ بِهِ حَذَرًا لِمَا بِهِ البَأْسُ»
It was narrated from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم that he said: "No one will attain complete righteousness until he abandons (certain) unobjectionable (but doubtful) things so as to remain on his guard against something objectionable." (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, and he said it is a Hasan Hadith.)
In conclusion, it is permissible to sell the one who takes usury from the banks or other places, and it is permissible to accept his gift, but it is better neither to sell him nor to accept his gift.
4 Safar 1434 AH