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How to return back the things I stole many years ago?!

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 21st April 2016 14:16
Assalamu alaykoum everyone..

When I was about 14 years I stole from 4 different shops..usually I stole sweets and some other stuff like suitcase .. I did it because I was stupid and I just wanted to see what happens and how does it feel to do something stupid..

But now I regret it a lot. I repented many times and I read Allah don't forgive this sin until the stolen things are given back.. but how do I give back these things now after so many years.. this happened about 11 years ago..
I'm not ene living in that country anymore but my brother and sister still live there.. I could ask them to give the equivalent money to the shops but if they tell them what happened I'm afraid will be in trouble..
How do I resolve this situation.. please give me some idea.. how do I pay them back now?!

I'm afraid if I die with these sins I'll be in hellfire..
May Allah forgive me.. Ameen.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 21st April 2016 14:26
Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

I was wondering say someone took something while they were a kid or before pubescent do they have to return what they took?

Secondly does one return something that is equal to the value of that which was taken or the actual item itself… for example if I took a computer 5 years ago, price of lets say 5000 and today I wish to return it for Tauba but its actual market price today is like 200 dollars would returning the computer be sufficient to relieve one from the debt or would some sort of compensation be paid. Same situation with toys etc…

Thirdly, how hard must one search for the person to return the item to? Say for example I have taken many things could I just send them to goodwill per se?

Fourthly, does the actual exact item have to be returned as it may cause fitna so perhaps its equivalent in cost but then again this equivalence in cost overlaps with the second question… like how can one assess the value… like is this value based on the time it was bought or its value today?

The principle is that whatever is stolen, If the actual item that was stolen is present, then it must be given back and not its price or value. However, if the item is destroyed, then its current market value must be paid.

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate. May His abundant blessing and most perfect of peace be on His Beloved Prophet, the best of creation, and his family, companions and followers.

The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“The stolen item itself must be given back if it still exists” (Durr al-Mukhtar).

” if the item is destroyed or lost, then the value of it must be given back to the owner”. (See: Radd al-Muhtar & al-Ikhtiyar).

It should be, however, remembered that one does not have to necessarily declare that he/she is giving back the stolen item; rather merely returning it back without declaring anything or even saying that it is a gift will suffice.

Therefore, in conclusion, you must return the stolen item back to the owner and not its price. However, if the owner agrees for the price to be paid back, then there is nothing wrong in doing that and then using the item. You do not have to give it in charity. But if this agreement is not made, then you must return the item back.

Wassalam

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

islamqa.org/hanafi/qibla-hanafi/36994
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 21st April 2016 14:27
Answered by SunniPath Answer Service Team

My question concerns the return of ill-gotten property. During my youth I did many stupid things. One of these things included theft of various kinds. Now that I have come of age, I would like to know how I can remedy the infractions. Here are the different situations:
1) I found an anonymous credit card number off a receipt. I used it to place a personal announcement in the newspaper. I do not know whose credit card number it was. How do I repay/reimburse the amount of money I charged to this credit card? I am certain that the person whose credit card it is did not have to pay out of his pocket. However, the cost was incurred by the credit card company. I am not aware of which credit card company it is.
2) I stole a few rechargeable battery packs from a department store about 10 years ago. I still have the batteries, and the store is still in business. How should I reimburse them? Anonymously leave/mail money to the store? Can I keep the batteries after paying their cost or should I throw them away?
3) I stole a step ladder from this carnival a very long time ago. I still have the ladder. The carnival was near my home temporarily. I do not have any idea where it is anymore. What should I do with the ladder? I also stole a video game from there. I had discarded it a very long time ago.

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Wa Alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate

Based on what Sidi Faraz previously answered a question on what to do when one does not know who one stole from or how to find them:

1. You have to take all reasonable means possible to figure out who the money was stolen from.

2. If you are then sure of some of those people, you would have to pay them. Use your reasonable yet conservative judgment as to how much you stole from them.

3. If there are still unaccounted-for thefts, then:

The default would have been to actually return it to its rightful owners. Given that this is not possible, in the given case, we are legally obliged to effectively return it to them by giving it away in charity, so that even though their money does not go back to its rightful owner(s) its benefit does in the form of the benefit of charity given on their behalf.

It is only charity, however, with regards to the actual owners of the money. When you give this money away, you can only intend to get rid of unlawful filthy money from your holding, while repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness for disobeying Him in a matter He deems most hateful. To seek ‘good’ or reward when one gets rid of this money would be a serious sin in itself, the fuqaha tell us.

One may either give this money to those deserving of zakat (=the poor and needy), or to general charities. The first is superior, as many Hanafi scholars only allow it to be given to it.

As an aside, there is nothing wrong or dubious with accepting such money when it is given to one in charity, because the sin devolved back to the dues person who wrongful engaged in the unlawful transaction and not the actual money one is taking from them itself.

[Sources: al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha of al-Nahlawi, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar, with some details from questions asked of Shaykh Mahmoud Ashraf Usmani, and other scholars]”

Please see the following links in answer to your question:

Wassalam,

SunniPath Fiqh Team

islamqa.org/hanafi/qibla-hanafi/35629
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 21st April 2016 14:28
Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: When I was about 16, I didn’t really take religion seriously and used to hang out with the wrong people. So, my question is regarding theft, for we used to steal from different stores. How do I go about addressing that wrong?

1) The 1st store I stole from is a huge franchise. Therefore, I can’t really return the item and say I stole this and I’m sorry. And I can’t really donate to the store either.

2) The 2nd store I stole is no longer there. I’m not sure if it went out of business or relocated to another state. I don’t remember the name of the store either and neither do the current occupants of the building.

Answer: Jazakum Allahu Khairan for your excellent question! May Allah reward you for your noble intention to correct past mistakes.

Keeping a Proper Perspective on Repentance

Firstly, it’s important to remember that so long as your repentance is sincere, insha’Allah your sins will be forgiven. Islam is not a religion of despair, for Allah’s mercy is vast.

In order to properly repent, one must: a) leave the sin, b) feel remorse for it, c) resolve to never do it again, and d) return any rights or property that one took.

Returning Rights One Took from Others

In your case, this last condition is the most important. For this, you would need to return (in order of preference): the same items, items similar to them, or their monetary equivalent. For example, if you stole clothes that were worth $45, you should either return those same clothes, clothes like them of the same value, or $45.

When the Owner Can’t Be Found

As for the case where the store and the owner are no longer around, you should donate the stolen items to a non-Muslim charity. This is because stolen items are haram to be used by yourself as well as other Muslims.

Returning Items to Stores

As for the first case, where the store you stole from is still around, you still need to redress that wrong. However, precaution needs to be taken, as there is still a chance that you might be prosecuted for your past act, even though you are trying to fix it.

Rather, you could return the monetary value of the item (as per the example above, $45) with an anonymous note stating that you owe them that much money. This way, you would be restoring their right without risking prosecution.

Ensuring Your Repentance is Sincere

Finally, you must remember that the actions listed above are steps in the repentance process. In order to prove your true repentance to Allah, you must feel remorse for it and resolve to never do it again. Increase in good actions, leave the bad, and follow the Prophet
saw
, for those who do so are guaranteed Allah’s mercy and salvation.

Jazakum Allahu Khairan,
-Wasim

islamqa.org/hanafi/seekersguidance-hanafi/32153
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 21st April 2016 14:29
Q: If I robbed people many years ago and feel guilty as I don’t want them to take of my good deeds on the Day of Judgement, is there any sacrifices I should make besides making Tawbah (repentance)?
A: Besides making Taubah, you have to return the stolen items or the value to their respective owners. If you are not by the means to return the items, you have to seek their pardon for the items stolen. If you are by the means but cannot find a few of the people stolen from, give out the value of the stolen items on their behalf, without making an intention of reward (Thawaab) for yourself. If you are really sincere in your repentance, Allah will create a way for you to do the above.

Checked and approved by: Mufti Siraj Desai

islamqa.org/hanafi/askmufti/44596
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 21st April 2016 14:40
JazakAllahu khair! I think insha Allah I will give the equivalent money in charity but I'd like to return them to the shops owner..I only don't know how to find out who were the owner of the shops at that time.. I don't know if they are still the same owners.. and I thought to ask someone to buy in those shops something and to pay them much more without taking the rest...but will that be sufficent? Who will take the rest of the money?
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 1st June 2016 11:42
Assalamu alaikum wrwb,

I want to give money in charity to non muslims for the things I stole but I don't trust the online charity organizations.. does anyone know any reliable online charity where I can donate money to non muslims?
Jazakum Allahu Khairan!
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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd June 2016 10:20
Read the Story of Fudhail ibn Ayaz (RAH) ; that will give you motivation. He was a bandit once, later became a big sufi.
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