Saturday 16 Jumada al-ula 1444 - 10 December 2022
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Giving money to clear the transaction: when is it a bribe and when is it not?

Question

I work as an accountant in a shipping company. Recently I found out that the company for which I work gives bribes to some workers to clear some shipments (get them released from the customs) and the like. I work as an accountant in this company, and I give this money to the manager, so that he can give it to the workers as bribes, and I have found out about this. Is there any sin on me? What should I do in this case?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly:

It is not permissible to deal with bribes, either accepting them or giving them. This is a major sin, because of the report narrated by Ahmad (6791) and Abu Dawood (3580) from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the one who gives a bribe and the one who takes it. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (2621).

But there are exceptions to that, as follows:

1.. If the person who has a right to something cannot take what is lawfully his except by paying a bribe, then the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) stated that it is permissible for him to give the bribe in that case, and the prohibition applies to the one who takes it, not the one who gives it. This has been discussed previously in the answers to questions no. 70516 and 72268 .

So if clearing the shipment can only be done by paying money, or not paying money will result in delay in releasing the shipment and will be detrimental to the one who has the right, it is permissible to pay the money in that case, and the prohibition applies to the one who takes it.

2.. Paying money to remove or alleviate wrongdoing, such as giving it to someone who will waive taxes that have been imposed on the Muslims. There is nothing wrong with that.

3.. Giving the money to a worker or office to go to the official bodies and do what is needed to clear the transaction. There is nothing wrong with this, and it does not come under the heading of a bribe; rather this comes under the heading of hiring someone to do a task.

Secondly:

If what the manager receives comes under the headings mentioned above, there is no blame on you for giving this money to him and recording that, and the like.

But if you have found out that it is a bribe that is given to clear things that are prohibited, or it is paid when it is possible to clear the transactions without it, without any delay that is detrimental to the company’s interests, or other matters that do not come under the headings of the things mentioned above that are permissible, then it is not permissible for you to help in giving that money to him or recording it, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty} [al-Maa’idah 5:2].

You should advise your manager and explain to him that bribes are haraam for the giver and the taker, and that it is haraam to help in that.

You should understand that whoever fears Allah, may He be exalted, He will protect him and suffice him; whoever adheres to His commands, He will grant him more of His bounty. So do not let fear of people prevent you from speaking the truth when you know it.

Imam Ahmad (11030), at-Tirmdihi (2191) and Ibn Maajah (4007) narrated from Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) stood up to deliver a khutbah (sermon), and one of the things that he said was: “Indeed, fear of people should not prevent a man from speaking the truth, if he knows it.” This hadith was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

May Allah help us and you to do that which He loves and is pleased with.

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A