Fatwa n° 727
Category: Fatwas about financial transactions – Donations
Concerning the confusion
between the gift and the bribe
What is the ruling concerning taking or eating the food that some students bring to the teacher of Qur’ân, or the money and gifts that their parents send to him, knowing that he (the teacher) does not ask them to do that? May Allah reward you.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers until the Day of Resurrection:
The basic principle is that the gift is to be accepted, provided that the gift-donor aims getting affection, acquaintance and kindness, and on condition that the gift-receiver is not an administration official, a judicial responsible or any person who has responsibility over the others; according to his saying صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم:“Offer gifts to one another, you will love one another” (1). And it is detestable to reject the gift if there is not a religious prohibition as stated in the hadith: “If anyone does you a kindness, recompense him; but if you have not the means to do so, pray for him until you feel that you have compensated him” (2). Nevertheless, if the gift-donor aims at nullifying a right or turning a wrongdoing into a right; in this case what he gives as gift is considered as a forbidden bribe which is impermissible to be accepted, and its donor is cursed by the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم as he said: “Curse of Allah be upon the bribe donor and the bribe receiver” (3).
Generally, bribes are given under the guise of gifts to people who are in charge in an administration, in judicial sector and suchlike, for the purpose of acquiring their sympathy. The prohibition regarding the bribe is indicated in his saying صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم: “The workers’ gifts are Ghulûl.(4)” (5), and his saying صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم: “Whomsoever we hire for a particular job and provide him with sustenance, then all that he takes beyond that is considered Ghulûl”(6). Also included in this, the person who satisfies the gift-donor’s a [personal] need, according to his saying صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم: “If anyone intercedes for his brother and he presents a gift to him for it and he accepts it, he approached a great door of the doors of usury”(7). Ibn Mas‘ûd رضي الله عنه said when he was asked about As-Suht (the unlawful): “The man asks a man to fulfill his personal need, then he fulfills it for him; upon this he presents him a gift for that and he accepts it”(8). The underlying reason for prohibiting the gift in these cases is for fear that it will be transformed into a bribe: either in the ruling itself, or something that a person in charge should do, for “What leads to the forbidden is forbidden”.
To sum up, the basic principle is that the gift is permissible, and it is detestable to reject it unless there is a religious prohibition based on a religious text that excludes it from the accepted gifts; -in this case- it has the same ruling concerning the forbidden bribe as previously mentioned regarding those who occupy positions in administration, government services (departments) and suchlike.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ; and our last prayer is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayers of Allah are to Muhammad and his Family, Companions and Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers on: Jumâdâ Ath-Thâniya the 9th, 1428 H
Corresponding to June the 24th, 2007 G.
(1) Narrated by Al-Bukhârî in “Al-Adab Al-Mufrad” (594) and by Al-Bayhaqî in “As-Sunan Al-Kubrâ” (11946), from the hadith of Abû Hurayra رضي الله عنه. Al-‘Irâqî said in “Takhrîj Al-Ihyâ’ ” (2/53): “Its chain of narration is good”. It is also judged Haşan (good) by Ibn Hajar in “At-Talkhîs Al-Habîr” (3/1047) and by Al-Albânî in “Al-Irwâ’ ” (1601).
(2) Reported by Abû Dâwûd (1672) and by An-Naşâ’î (2567), from the hadith of ‘Abd Allâh Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-‘Irâqî in “Takhrîj Al-Ihyâ’ ” (1/300), by Ahmad Shâkir in his “Recension of Musnad Ahmad” (8/63) and by Al-Albânî in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (254).
(3) Narrated by Ibn Mâjah (2313), from the hadith of ‘Abd Allâh Ibn ‘Amr رضي الله عنهما. This hadith is judged Haşan (good) by Al-Baghawî in “Sharh As-Sunna” (5/330). It is also judged authentic by Ahmad Shâkir in his “Recension of Musnad Ahmad” (11/172) and by Al-Albânî in “Sahîh At-Targhîb” (2211).
(4) Ghulûl: is what is taken from the war booty before its distribution. Translator's note.
(5) Narrated by Ahmad (23601), from the hadith of Abû Humayd As-Sâ‘idî رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albânî in “Al-Irwâ’ ” (2622).
(6) Reported by Abû Dâwûd (2943), from the hadith of Burayda Ibn Al-Husayb رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Ibn Al-Mulaqqin in “Al-Badr Al-Munîr” (9/564) and by Al-Albânî in “Sahîh Al-Jâmi‘ ” (6023).
(7) Reported by Abû Dâwûd (3541), from the hadith of Abû Umâma Al-Bâhilî رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged Haşan (good) by Al-Albânî in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (3465).
(8) Narrated by At-Tabarî in his “Tafsîr” (6/154), and by Ibn Abî Shayba in “Al-Musannaf” (16617).