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Using Stolen Items after Paying for them

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

If you repay back the company you stole from for stealing a shirt, it is permissible to wear the shirt now? Or do you have to give the shirt away like to a charity or something.

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The principle is that whatever is stolen, it must be given back to whom it was stolen from. If the actual item that was stolen is present, then it must be given back and not its price or value.

The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“The stolen item itself must be given back if it still exists.” (Durr al-Mukhtar)

Imam al-Mawsili (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“After the hands of a thief have been amputated, and the stolen item still remains, it will be returned back to the rightful owner, for he owns it. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Whosoever finds his actual item, then he is most rightful of it”. Also, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) amputated the hands of the one who stole the sheet of Safwan, and returned the sheet back to Safwan. (Recorded by Musnad Ahmad and others)

If the item is destroyed, then the thief will not be responsible, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “There is no penalty after the amputating of the hands…However, if the amputating is waived (for one reason or another, or it is a non-Muslim land, m), then the thief will be responsible.” (al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’lil al-Mukhtar, 2/352)

However, if the item is destroyed or lost, then the value of it must be given back to the owner. (See: Radd al-Muhtar & al-Ikhtiyar)

It should be, however, remembered that one does not have to necessarily declare that he/she is giving back the stolen item; rather merely returning it back without declaring anything or even saying that it is a gift will suffice.

Therefore, in conclusion, you must return the stolen item back to the owner and not its price. However, if the owner agrees for the price to be paid back, then there is nothing wrong in doing that and then using the item. You do not have to give it charity, but if this agreement is not made, then you must return the item back.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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