Praise be to Allah.
Taking wealth from non-Muslims in
treacherous and deceitful ways is haram (impermissible), because deceit is
haram in Islam, whether it is done to a Muslim or to a non-Muslim.
What a Muslim is obliged to do is to
respect the agreement that exists between him and that country, even if it
is a kafir state, because the fact that it is kafir does not mean that it is
permissible for him to violate that agreement or betray it and consume its
The brother should have disclosed his work
regardless of the debt that he concealed from them.
If Allah guides a Muslim to repent from
taking people’s wealth unlawfully, then one of the conditions of this
repentance is that he should return to people what is rightfully theirs,
even if they are kafirs. If there is the fear of humiliation or criminal
charges if he returns money to the social services department, then it is
permissible for him to look for a suitable way of preserving his dignity
whilst also returning money to its rightful owner without embarrassing
himself, such as sending the money in the mail or delegating someone to take
it to them without mentioning his name or what he did to them. That is
because it is not essential for the one who wants to return things to their
rightful owners to disclose himself or his identity, because the purpose is
to return things to their rightful owners.
For information on the evidence for this
ruling, the views of the scholars and what he must do after having repented,
please see the answers to questions no.
If he does not have the whole amount, he
may return what he can afford now, and the rest will remain a debt that he
owes, which he must return when he is able to.
And Allah knows best.