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SEB
12-13-2015, 09:50 PM
As-salamu Alaikum.

A brother claimed grants from the government while he was at university for things such as books and a computer. He claimed these grants by lying about his circumstances as he wasn't really eligible for the grants. He now feels really guilty about this and has calculated everything that he has claimed wrongly and would like to pay this back in some way.

He wanted to know whether if he repents and gives away the claimed money, will be forgiven for what he has done? And is it necessary that he pays the same amount back to be forgiven?

Secondly, he cannot return the money back to the government. He would have to voluntarily contact the benefit agency and could be charged with fraud. Can be give this money to charity instead, or must it be returned to the government (which is virtually impossible to do) in order to be forgiven?
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Eric H
12-14-2015, 05:20 AM
Greetings and peace be with you SEB; and welcome to the forum,

Wow, this has to be a first, I am not sure about how Islamicly correct this idea might be, but how about writing a letter to the benefit office, something like this....

I am a Muslim, I am very thankful for the grants that helped me through university, I would now like to voluntarily repay some / or all. Please accept this payment.

Blessings

Eric
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MuslimInshallah
12-14-2015, 01:51 PM
Assalaamu alaikum SEB,


Mmm... you sound like you are from the UK. I'm afraid I don't know the UK system. But I did look around a bit on the internet. I found this Forum, that might be able to help you: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...efits-and-HMRC
And this thread seemed interesting: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...ant-to-confess

Another point: even if the brother's fraud has not yet been discovered, it may be in the future. And then he'd be expected to pay the sum back. And be more likely to incur negative consequences of his wrongdoing.

Personally, I think that repaying the whole amount would be the best thing to do. And paying it to the one who was defrauded. (mildly) It is not virtually impossible to repay the government. It is just that the brother may have to face a penalty for his wrongdoing. But I suspect that if he comes forward voluntarily, especially if he is not even under investigation, the penalties would not be so great. But this is where professional advice would be best.

(meditatively) All in all, I think that what I would do if I were in this position, is to consult with three different lawyers with knowledge of benefits fraud matters. I say three, because this will give you the opportunity to find someone you feel is the most competent and with whom you feel the most comfortable. Getting different points of view is helpful, too. (smile) I'd do the same for an important medical opinion, or any other professional advice on a difficult point. It is a bit costly, but then you will likely feel more knowledgeable and secure in your decisions. In the UK, there also seem to be some Citizen's Advice bureaus that may have knowledge on these matters. But I'm afraid that I really do not know enough about these to comment.

(smile) You could also ask about Eric's option perhaps. It is a clever idea, but I'm not sure how it would work out.

(gently) This is a stressful thing for the brother to be experiencing. I pray Allah will Give him strength to do what is best, and that he finds some inner peace from the torment he is probably feeling.


May God, the Compassionate and Oft-Forgiving, have Mercy on us all for our many, many mistakes.
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SEB
12-14-2015, 11:21 PM
Originally Posted by MuslimInshallah
Assalaamu alaikum SEB,


Another point: even if the brother's fraud has not yet been discovered, it may be in the future. And then he'd be expected to pay the sum back. And be more likely to incur negative consequences of his wrongdoing.

Personally, I think that repaying the whole amount would be the best thing to do. And paying it to the one who was defrauded. (mildly) It is not virtually impossible to repay the government. It is just that the brother may have to face a penalty for his wrongdoing. But I suspect that if he comes forward voluntarily, especially if he is not even under investigation, the penalties would not be so great. But this is where professional advice would be best.

(meditatively) All in all, I think that what I would do if I were in this position, is to consult with three different lawyers with knowledge of benefits fraud matters. I say three, because this will give you the opportunity to find someone you feel is the most competent and with whom you feel the most comfortable. Getting different points of view is helpful, too. (smile) I'd do the same for an important medical opinion, or any other professional advice on a difficult point. It is a bit costly, but then you will likely feel more knowledgeable and secure in your decisions. In the UK, there also seem to be some Citizen's Advice bureaus that may have knowledge on these matters. But I'm afraid that I really do not know enough about these to comment.

(smile) You could also ask about Eric's option perhaps. It is a clever idea, but I'm not sure how it would work out.

(gently) This is a stressful thing for the brother to be experiencing. I pray Allah will Give him strength to do what is best, and that he finds some inner peace from the torment he is probably feeling.


May God, the Compassionate and Oft-Forgiving, have Mercy on us all for our many, many mistakes.
Would it not be possible for him to give the full amount to charity instead? The grants were from the government but from a special student funding body. It would be difficult for him to pay this money back to them. Also if he admits this to the authorities and gets charged with fraud, he could lose his job and have other adverse consequences long term.

The brother wants to rectify what he has done by giving back the money but to admit this to the authorities will cause a lot of hardship for his family due to the knock on effects I mentioned.
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LaSorcia
12-15-2015, 12:44 AM
Perhaps he could make restitution by finding another student who is eligible for the grants, and giving them the money. That way he is paying back the government as well, assuming the student agrees to take the money instead of a grant.
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BeTheChange
12-15-2015, 09:37 PM
Walaikumasalaam,

The below article may interest you in sha Allah;

175812: Is it permissible to make use of money acquired by haraam means to relieve his financial hardship?


My question is that before I started practicing Islam, my father put me in a fraud accident case to lie which in turn made me receive money. At that time I was younger, I was not practicing, however I was ordered by my father to carry lie. However now I am married and I am facing a lot of financial problems currently and I am unemployed and really need this money, and I am meant to receive the accident money soon. I acknowledge that the money is haram earned due to lie, but it was done when I was younger, not practicing, was forced by my father, and did not realise the sin due to ignorance. And I also acknowledge Islam is a mercy from Allah and in certain situations things become permissible i.e ribba to save someones life etc. So can I use this money since I am really in need of this money for my wife and my self?



Praise be to Allah
It is not permissible to obey any created being – even if he is one of the closest of people – in disobeying the Creator, may He be glorified; rather obedience is only with regard to that which is right and proper. Please see the answer to question no. 162423



If you have repented from this sin, then you have done well, but it is essential to note that repentance does not waive duties owed to people; rather you have no choice but to return to them that which is rightfully theirs.



In al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah (14/129) it says:



Repentance in the sense of giving up what you have done in the past and resolving not to go back to it is not sufficient to waive that which you owe to other people. The one who steals or takes by force the property of another, or harms him in some other way, cannot discharge his responsibility merely by regretting it, giving up the sin and resolving not to do it again; rather it is essential to right any wrongs that have been committed. This is the basic principle upon which there is consensus among the fuqaha’. End quote.



The basic principle, “Necessity makes permissible that which has been forbidden” is one that people often repeat, then if a person falls into some troubles because of his sin or he has a need that is not desperate, he permits for himself that which his Lord has forbidden to him, on the basis of this principle.

The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked:



There are some people who deal in riba, and they also include riba in the principle that “Necessity makes permissible that which has been forbidden”. What is the ruling on that? There is someone who has a debt and he must either pay it or go to court, so he decided to get involved in riba.

The committee replied: It is not permissible to deal in riba at all. End quote.



Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 13/294



It should be noted that what has happened to you of hardship and difficulty has only befallen you because of your sin. In fact this is by the kindness and mercy of Allah, so that one of us will check himself and return to his Lord. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much”
[ash-Shoora 42:30]



“And We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to Allah’s Obedience).”

[al-A‘raaf 7:168].



What you must do is pay attention to this basic principle and act accordingly. Whatever befalls you of trials and need is only because of the sin, so that you will repent from it in the hope that Allah will accept it from you. But now you want to make this need a legitimate reason to persist and indulge in sin. This is something that it is not appropriate for you to do, and it indicates that your repentance and steadfastness therein are not as they should be.



One of the conditions that is required in the case of repentance is to return property or money to its rightful owners; repentance cannot be valid, in cases where the sin has to do with the rights of other people, unless it is returned to them – as stated above – or pardon is obtained from them.



Al-Bukhaari (2449) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his pardon today, before there will be no dinar or dirham (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection).”



The scholars of the Standing Committee said


The one who has taken the property of another person without his permission must return it to him, even if he was a child at the time when he took it, and he should ask him to forgive him, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to take the property of a Muslim unless he gives it willingly.” He (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) also said: “Whoever has wronged his brother, let him seek his pardon today, before there will be no dinar or dirham (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection).”
End quote. Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 15/373



Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:



The true meaning of repentance is to give up sins, regret what one has done in the past and resolve not to go back to it. If he has wronged people with regard to themselves, their property or their honour, he must restore it to him or seek their pardon.

End quote. Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 16/33



If you do not know who it belongs to, or it was public wealth, then you must give it in charity in general terms or give it to the poor and needy.

Shaykh al-Islam (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If it is not possible to return wealth to its owners because it is not known who they are, for example, it may be spent on the public interests of the Muslims according to most of the scholars. The same applies if a person has wealth but does not know who its owner is, such as those who took it by force or betrayed others or dealt in riba and so on, who have now repented but have in their possession wealth that does not belong to them and they do not know who its owner is. In that case it should be given to those who are in need or spent on the public interests of the Muslims.

End quote. Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 28/568



It is not permissible for you to take this haraam money and use it to relieve your hardship and solve your problem, especially when you have not yet taken possession of this money that you want to use. Cheating and tricking people are sins, and taking this money that you have not received yet is contrary to your repentance which is conditional upon giving up the sin and regretting it, yet here you are, planning to fall into sin again?



So return the money to its owners, ask Allah for forgiveness, repent to Him and put your trust in Him; He will grant you after hardship ease and after difficulty relief and a way out. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):



“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).



3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things”

[al-Talaaq 65:2-3].



You must also advise your father and guide him to repent, and tell him to do what Allah has enjoined upon you of giving up evil and persisting in it.



It should be noted that the one who acquires wealth by haraam means will never become independent of means; rather it is negligence based on illusions.

See the answer to question no. 65649 and 169424



And Allah knows best.



https://islamqa.info/en/175812 (Please ensure this site is your school of thought)
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SEB
12-15-2015, 09:50 PM
Thank you. Very informative.

'If you do not know who it belongs to, or it was public wealth, then you must give it in charity in general terms or give it to the poor and needy.'

My interpretation of this bit is that the brother will be able to pay back the money by giving to charity as it is 'public wealth' that he took in a way.
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hisnameiszzz
12-16-2015, 08:08 PM
Hiya,

Just to say wow and well done to your friend for being so honest. His Imaan must be so strong!

The amount of people who lie and defraud the system is appalling and the worst thing is they normally get away with it. I work for the local authority and the number of people I see claiming benefits wrongly for housing / hardship etc is outrageous.

Normally when you claim a benefit / grant from the government in the UK, there is a disclaimer / declaration which specifically states that if you lie or give false information, you MAY BE prosecuted - could be expected to pay all the money back and be fined. So it is up to your friend as to how honest he wants to be. There is a chance he will get prosecuted and there is also the chance his whole family will get checked up on also. But would he rather face punishment in this world or in the hereafter?

I work in housing. I assess customers for homelessness and when I take a homelessness application, the client is made to sign a disclaimer. They have to read the disclaimer, I read it out to them and make sure they have understood it and then get them to write their name, sign and date it. I then sign in front of the customer. The disclaimer specifically states that if the client has lied about anything, the local authority will prosecute them up to a maximum of £5000. I've had about 8 clients tell me full and complete lies but none of them were prosecuted.

Personally, I am unsure about giving the money to charity. I don't know how grants work but if it is the same as claiming benefits then the grant would have come from taxpayers money. In effect he has indirectly stolen from them and it is them who he needs to give it back to. I don't understand how a charity would fit in there. But that is my personal view.

Like I said, thumbs up to your friend for being so honest.
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Asiyah3
12-16-2015, 08:44 PM
Originally Posted by hisnameiszzz
The amount of people who lie and defraud the system is appalling and the worst thing is they normally get away with it. I work for the local authority and the number of people I see claiming benefits wrongly for housing / hardship etc is outrageous.
Even worse, they don't even admit it's wrong. Do they thank Allah for the existence of a system that strives to help the needy by stealing and taking advantage of it, while someone in real need could've used it? Do they raise your children with haram money or expect your prayers to be answered?

I don't know how grants work but if it is the same as claiming benefits then the grant would have come from taxpayers money. In effect he has indirectly stolen from them and it is them who he needs to give it back to. I don't understand how a charity would fit in there. But that is my personal view.
I agree with the above. If you tell them the truth, I am sure they will appreciate your honesty. I do not know the Islamic stance on this or whether it'd be unwise to expose your sins while Allah has hidden them, but morally speaking paying it to charity does not help the organization you wrongfully took the money from. Can't you just give the money back to the same bank account that paid you as a 'thank you' etc.

Jazakallahu khairan brother for intending to do the right thing.
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hisnameiszzz
12-17-2015, 10:02 AM
Originally Posted by Asiyah3
Even worse, they don't even admit it's wrong. Do they thank Allah for the existence of a system that strives to help the needy by stealing and taking advantage of it, while someone in real need could've used it? Do they raise your children with haram money or expect your prayers to be answered?
Hiya.

Sorry to take over your thread OP. But auntie you are right with what you have said completely. My personal biggest bug bear is you get the older generation sitting in the Mosque between Asar and Maghrib discussing ideas on how to fleece the benefits system and boasting about what they are claiming and how much they get. I am certain this does not happen at every Mosque and mine is the only one, but they talk about how you can only claim benefits if you have less than £10K in your bank, so if you have more, you buy a property back home in India under someone else's name and then you get your rental income coming in that way along with all the cheated benefits they also get from the UK. Another good one is going to the GP complaining about a bad back, getting a walking stick and getting more Disability Living Allowance. I think I have already mentioned the part time blind man who is blind when he is out and about in town but when he comes to the Mosque his sight miraculously comes back and there is no need for the stick or anyone to hold his hand. How they do this in the house of Allah is beyond me. Allah is practically sat in front of them. Do they have no shame? Do they have no kauf?

PS. I am sure there are people of other faiths and people of no faith who also defraud the system, but I sure they would not sit in a church and discuss ways of fleecing the system.

I've just had an idea OP but I don't know if it is safe. Could your friend not email (fake email address) or call (if the phone number is an 0800 number, he could always call from a public phone box) the agency that deals with the grants and make an anonymous confession saying he was only young when he did it (I am presuming he was a young student) and that he has realised what he did was wrong and that he wants to pay the money back, and what, if any, the consequences would be. If it's just anonymous contact, he wouldn't have to give his detail and at least that way he would know what could or might happen.

I don't know how Islam works, but could your friend not tell a small lie and say he was unaware of a bank account he had (which his parents set up) and he thought he had no money hence claiming it, but wants to pay it all back now. I really commend your friend for his honesty but it's just the consequences which worry me. Normally when someone gets caught abusing the system, the whole family gets watched like a hawk, so you must tell him to be careful.

I wish there were more Muslims like him who would be open and honest and I am sure it would overturn the negative feeling people have about Muslims in the UK.
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SEB
12-21-2015, 09:46 PM
JK for all your replies. The brother has suggested a possible solution, not sure if this will work.

In the UK, taxpayer's money go to a pot of money called the treasury. So in theory, he hasn't stolen from the treasury when claiming the grants. He has found out that the government accepts donations from the public for the treasury. This money is then used to help pay off the national debt.

Will it be ok if the brother gives the money he has claimed to the treasury? He is in effect returning taxpayer's money in this way.
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SEB
12-21-2015, 09:55 PM
JK for all your replies. The brother has suggested a possible solution, not sure if this will work.

In the UK, taxpayer's money go to a pot of money called the treasury. So in theory, he has stolen from the treasury when claiming the grants. He has found out that the government accepts donations from the public for the treasury. This money is then used to help pay off the national debt.

Will it be ok if the brother gives the money he has claimed to the treasury? He is in effect returning taxpayer's money in this way.
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hisnameiszzz
12-22-2015, 07:24 PM
I would agree to what your friend has suggested. It sounds like an excellent idea. The grant money would have come from the pot the taxpayer pays into so returning it like that sounds perfect.

If he could speak anonymously to them (is that even possible or can they track everything?), I would suggest that. I doubt your friend is the only one who has done this. It could be a regular thing and they might actually say "you don't need to pay it back just make sure you never do it again" or something along those lines.

All the best to him and well done.
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Karl
12-22-2015, 08:51 PM
I suppose he could cut his right hand off and pray for forgiveness. But then again the government is kuffar and extorts money off the people and throws some money to the down and out plebs, but most goes into the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats getting enormous incomes even though they produce nothing but oppression. Maybe that grant money was only the cost of a bomb that the military is always dropping on some innocent people. I suggest prayer will suffice and don't do it again.
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