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Whoever Misuses any Amount from Public Money is Required to Give it Back

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
I used to serve in the Jordan Armed Forces. I have doubts that during my service I took, by mistake, an amount of money. Will I be cleared from liability before Allah if I gave that amount to the Social Solidarity Fund of the Military Iftaa`, as "clearing liability" is one of this Fund`s resources?

Answer:

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.

Public fund encompasses money, commodities, lands, machinery, factories and the like, and belongs to all citizens for it is allocated to be spent in the best of their interest, in accordance with what the people in charge see fit.

Funds from the public treasury are spent on public interest; thus, whoever took any of it-even a little-must give it back as it is the property of every and each citizen, and such a person will go to hell on the Day of Resurrection. Khawlah al-Ansariyah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Some men acquire Allah’s Property (such as the funds of the Muslim state treasury, Zakah etc.) and they will go to Hell on the Day of Resurrection.” {Related Al-Bukhari}. In addition, 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'as (May Allah bepleased with them) reported: A man named Kirkirah, who was in charge of the personal effects of Messenger of Allah (PBUH) passed away and the Prophet (PBUH) said, "He is in the (Hell) Fire." Some people went to his house looking for its cause and found there a cloak that he had stolen. [Al-Bukhari].

Muslim jurists are agreed that whoever spoils or misuses public funds by means of theft, looting, smashing or vandalism is required to offer guarantee. Thus, he is required to give it back if he has it, give an exact equivalent or give its value, even if a long time had passed over committing that unlawful act, because he did what he did through usurpation and embezzlement. Allah the Exalted says, "It is not for any prophet to embezzle. Whoso embezzleth will bring what he embezzled with him on the Day of Resurrection. Then every soul will be paid in full what it hath earned; and they will not be wronged."{Al-Emran, 161}.

A Muslim should be honest and preserve public funds to be acquitted before Almighty Allah. If he takes anything by mistake then he should give it back and make sincere repentance since one who repents from sin is like one who didn`t sin, as stated the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).

In conclusion, the funds of the Jordan Armed Forces are part of the public money. Thus, whoever misused any amount of it is required to clear himself from liability by giving it back, giving an exact equivalent or giving its value. You (Asker) are allowed to give back the amount, you took by mistake, to the Social Solidarity Fund of the Armed Forces so long as "clearing liability" is a resource of that Fund. And Allah the Almighty knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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