A Store Worker Did Not Make Him Pay For Coffee
Fatwa No: 418141

Question

My father went to a small store, obtained an item, and stood in line in order to purchase it. The line was long and my father's item was small (cup of coffee), so one of the workers said to him to just leave with it (without paying), so he did that. I assume that the worker was not allowed to do such a thing. I do not feel that this is halaal, as I believe that my father should have waited in line and then paid for the item. Now, what should I do in this situation? Do I only need to advise my father? If he refuses to pay to the store the price of the coffee, then should I do that? If yes, then can I do it without telling him? And lastly, must I also pay for the tax which is part of the sale price (if my father bought the item)? Note that the store sells both haraam and halaal items.

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is most likely that the worker would not give permission to your father except with regard to something that he is authorized to give permission for, or perhaps he would pay on behalf of your father voluntarily. Therefore, you should not dwell on this subject because it opens the door to satanic whisperings. The matter is not serious, because the worker gave him permission to take the cup of coffee, and he acts as an agent of his employer; his action should be interpreted as valid and authorized, especially since the price of the cup of coffee is mostly insignificant. If you wish to adhere to caution and clear your father’s liability, then pay the price to the store, and you are not required to inform your father of that. 

Allah Knows best.

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