Taking Unbelievers’ Money
It is forbidden for Muslims to take any money from non-Muslims or non-Muslim countries with whom they have a pledge if they are not entitled to it. If this happens it is considered as a willful breach of the low.
Taking Unbelievers’ Money
appropriating unbelievers’ money;
Stealing unbelievers’ property;
Considering unbelievers’ property lawful to take away.
Some Muslims in non-Muslim countries may resort to tricks and deceive non-Muslim individuals, companies or authorities to take their money or property. This may be in non-payment of what they owe to non-Muslims or tax avoidance. They justify their action by saying that they want to weaken the country or that as these people are unbelievers their property is lawful to take.
It is not permissible to take the money or property of unbelievers with whom one has a contract or a pledge, except in what is right and legal. Such a contract exists in the very document of citizenship or residence which allows Muslims to stay in a country, whether he is an immigrant or a visitor. The same applies to ethnic Muslims through the common agreement of citizenship that is applicable to everyone, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
This view is expressed by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa and included in its Fatawa.
When a Muslim enters a non-Muslim country he is bound by a pledge of safety, which is the visa that permits him to enter. If he takes some money from non-Muslims without being entitled to it, he is in breach of that pledge.
‘Be true to all your promises, for you will be called to account for all that you promise.’
‘Believers, be true to your contracts.’
The Prophet says:
‘Three qualities mark out a hypocrite: he lies when he speaks; he breaks his promise; and he is untrue to his trust.’
(Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 33; Muslim, hadith No. 59)
Al-Shafi'i said: ‘If a Muslim enters a land of war [...] and he finds himself able to take some of their property, it is unlawful for him to take anything, great or small. If he is safe with them then they are also safe with him. Under such an arrangement of safety, nothing is lawful to him from them except as is lawful for him to take from Muslims or those under Muslim protection.’
An authentic hadith mentions that al-Mughirah ibn Shu[bah accompanied some people before he became a Muslim. He killed them and took their property. He then came to the Prophet and adopted Islam.
The Prophet told him:
‘As for your acceptance of Islam, I accept it; but I will take nothing of this property.’
(Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 2,731) Another version quotes
the Prophet as saying to him:
‘As for Islam, we accept; and as for the property, it came through treachery and we refuse to take it.’
(Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 2,765)
Ibn Hajar says in comment: ‘It makes clear that it is unlawful to take through treachery the property of unbelievers with whom one has been living in safety. Companionship implies trust and trust must be fulfilled and delivered to their rightful owners, whether Muslims or unbelievers. However, it is lawful to take the money and property of unbelievers through war and battle. Perhaps in this case the Prophet allowed al-Mughirah to hold on to the property in the hope that his people would embrace Islam and he would give their property back.’
Mut’ib al-Qahtani (ed.), Is'af al-Mughtaribin bi Fatawa al-'Ulama’ al-Rabbaniyyin.
Fatawa al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah, by a group of scholars.
Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari.
Fatawa, by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa.
- Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.
- Vol. 23, pp. 441–7 and vol. 26, p. 311.
- Al-Shafi'i, Al-Umm, vol. 4, p. 284.
- Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, vol. 5, p. 341.