Giving false information to receive welfare
Fatwa No: 338359

  • Fatwa Date:5-1-2017 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 7, 1438
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Question

I am young and have finished high school. However, my grades were poor, so I took a pause of one year to improve my grades and start university next year. So I am unemployed, and I may also seek social welfare in my country because I do not have a job. While seeking social welfare, I fullfilled every criteria for it, but I did make a misstake twice. The mistake is that I wrote the date for my searched jobs to the government. For example, you must show proofs of having searched jobs per month, but because I am lazy sometimes, I did not make the deadline and instead searched for jobs late. I then wrote wrong dates for my searched jobs. I fullfilled every thing and every thing was right, but I did not tell the truth regarding the date when I searched for jobs; otherwise, I would not obtain the money. You must write a list of your searched jobs per month. For instance, you must write the jobs that you looked for from 1-31 September, but I searched jobs in October and wrote that I searched jobs on 3, 5, 8 September, and so on. So I did this twice. Is this haram or halal? If it is haram, is this haram wealth then? What should I do with clothes and shoes that I bought with this money? I am not aware of the Sharia ruling regarding this.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

If this mistake is significant and critical in relation to receiving the social welfare, in the sense that had you said the truth, you would have been denied the welfare, then you have to return the money to the concerned authority, even if indirectly, as you are not entitled to it. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “The hand that takes is responsible for what it has taken until it returns it.” [At-Tirmithi] Your action falls under prohibited lying and making false statements. Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {...and avoid false statement...} [Quran 33:30] Ar-Raaghib  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that the "false statement" in the verse refers to lying.

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “False means describing something contrary to its actual truth. It may refer to a statement indicating lying, or a false testimony, or a false action ...” [Fat-h Al-Baari]

Hence, you should seek forgiveness from Allah, The Exalted, repent to him of this act, and resolve never to do it again. Also, return what you have received, and you may use the things that you bought with that money.

If you cannot return the money even indirectly, then you should pay it to the poor and needy. If you are poor, then you may take it yourself. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “If the unlawful wealth is offered to a poor person, it is not deemed unlawful for them; instead, it is lawful and pure for the poor to spend. The person whose wealth or income is acquired through unlawful means may give his (unlawful) money as charity to himself or his dependents if he is poor; rather, they deserve his charity more than anyone else; and he may take what is proportionate to his need because he is also poor.” [Al-Majmoo’]

Allah knows best.

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