- Islamqa by Shaikh al-Munajjid
- Hukm al-Hadaaya wal-Ikraamiyyat wal-Mukaaf’aat (the ruling of gifts, tips and bonuses to the employees) by Dr. Husaam ud-Deen ‘Afaanah
- Fatawa of the ‘Ulamaa Khutbah
- “The Ruling of giving Gifts to the employees, plumbers, etc. during their working time.” by Shaikh Ahmad ibn Naasir at-Tayyaar
- Al-Hadaayaa Lil-Muwadhdhafeen (Gifts of the Employees), by Dr. Abdur-Raheem bin Ibraaheem bin Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sayyid al-Haashim
- Al-Fatawa al-Islamiyyah by Darus-Salaam
Abu Humayd as-Saa’idi narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) appointed a man to collect the Zakaah, and when he had finished his work, the man came and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, this is for you and this was given to me as a gift.” On that, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Why didn’t you stay in your father’s or mother’s home to see whether you will be given gifts or not, if you are telling the truth?” Then the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) addressed us, testified (to the Oneness of Allaah) and praised Him as He deserves to be praised and then he said: “What is the matter with a Zakaah-collector whom we appoint, then he comes and says: ‘This is for you, and this was given to me as a gift.’? Why does he not sit in the house of his father or mother and see whether he receives any gifts or not? By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no one of you takes anything unlawfully but he will come on the Day of Resurrection carrying it on his shoulders, even if it is a camel that he brings groaning, or a cow that he brings mooing, or a sheep that he brings bleating. I have conveyed the message.” Abu Humayd said: “Then the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) raised his hands until I could see the whiteness of his armpits.” [Al-Bukhaari (7174) and Muslim (1832)]
1- Al-Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said: “This Hadeeth indicates that giving gifts to workers is Haraam (forbidden). Hence, in the Hadeeth he mentioned the punishment and the fact that he will carry what was given to him on the Day of Resurrection. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated in the same Hadeeth the reason why it is Haraam to give him gifts and that is because he is appointed to do this job. This is unlike giving gifts to someone other than a worker, which is Mustahabb (recommendable). The ruling on that which a worker takes in the form of a gift is that it must be returned to the giver, and if that is not possible it must be given to the Bayt al-maal.” [Sharh Muslim (6/462)]
According to this Hadeeth, it is not permissible for an employee to accept what is given to him because of his work. The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Why don’t you sit in the house of your father or mother and see whether you receive any gifts or not?’ because one is only getting these gifts because of the job for which he has been appointed.
If that is the case, then these gifts belong to the job and he has no right to take them for himself.
Shaikh Bin Baaz (Rahimahullaah) said: “This Hadeeth indicates that it is obligatory for the person who is employed by the state to do the job for which he has been appointed, and he has no right to take any gift that has to do with his work. If he takes it then he should put it in the Bayt al-maal (public treasury), and it is not permissible for him to take it for himself as stated in this Saheeh Hadeeth, and furthermore, it is a means that leads to evil and betraying trust.” [From Fataawa `Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam, p. 655]
2- Giving gifts to workers is a kind of Ghulul, i.e. stolen booty or wealth stolen from the war booty or Bayt al-maal of the Muslims.
Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Gifts given to workers (employees) are Ghulul (i.e. stolen war booty)” i.e., a betrayal. [This Hadeeth was classed as Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 7021]
Ghulul is one of the major sins. Accordingly, the gifts of the workers are also considered one of the major sins. An-Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said that the Muslims are in consensus in regards to the prohibition of Ghulul and it is one of the major sins. The person should return what he has stolen.” [Explanation of Muslim]
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Buraydah from his father that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever we appoint to do a task and we give him his provision, whatever he takes after that is Ghulul (stolen booty).”
[Reported by Abu Dawoud (2943) and classed as Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawoud]
What this Hadeeth means is: whoever we appoint for a task and give him money for that, it is not permissible for him to take anything after that. If he does take anything, it is Ghulul, which refers to wealth stolen from the war booty or the Bayt al-maal of the Muslims.
Hudhaifah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “The gifts of the workers are all Haraam (unlawful).” [Reported by Abu Ya’la]
3- The prohibition includes giving tips or gifts to workers who get a salary for their work.
Shaikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) was asked: “We are government employees and we get tips and Zakaah from some businessmen during Ramadaan, and we cannot distinguish between the tips and the Zakaah because we do not know what is what.
Our question is: If we take this money although we do not need it, and we spend it on widows, orphans and the poor, what is the ruling on that? If we spend any of it on our families and consume it, what is the ruling?”
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen replied:
“Giving gifts to workers is a kind of Ghulul i.e., if a person has a government job and someone who does business with him gives him a gift, this is Ghulul, and it is not permissible for him to take any of it, even if it is given willingly.
For example: let us assume that you have dealings with some department, and you give a gift to the head of this department or to his employees. It is Haraam for him to accept it, because the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Lutbiyyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) to collect the Zakaah and when he came back he said: ‘This was given to me as a gift and this is for you.’ The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stood up and addressed the people and said: “What is the matter with a man among you whom we appoint to do a task, then he comes and says: ‘this is for you and this was given to me.’ Why doesn’t he sit in the house of his father or mother and see whether he is given anything or not?”
It is not permissible for any employee in any government department to accept a gift in any dealings that have to do with this department. If we open this door and say that it is permissible for an employee to accept this gift, then we will have opened the door to bribery, and bribery is a very serious matter and a major sin. If employees are offered gifts that have to do with their work, they should refuse these gifts, and it is not permissible for them to accept them, whether they come in the name of gifts or charity or Zakaah, especially if they are well off, because Zakaah is not permissible for them, as is well known.” [Fataawa al-Shaikh al-‘Uthaimeen (18/ question no. 270)]
Gifts have an effect on the heart. Man is created in such a way that he likes those who are kind to him, so these gifts may make the employee biased towards the one who gave him the gift, so he may give him something he is not entitled to.
4- Some exceptions concerning the gifts:
a- If an employee works overtime, he deserves to be paid for that.
b- If an employee works during his holidays, then he deserves to be paid for that.
c- The difference between a Haraam gift and a permissible gift is that if it is given because of a person’s work, then it is Haraam. If the person is in the habit of giving a person gifts, i.e. he was a friend or relative of his, then there is nothing wrong with his accepting the gift in that case, because it has nothing to do with work.
But if the person is not in the habit of giving the employee gifts, it is not permissible for him to accept it. One should either give it back to the person who gave the gift or give it to his company where he is employed.
Ibn Qudaamah (Rahmimahullaah) said about the gift given to a judge: “It is not permissible to accept a gift from the one who was not in the habit of giving him gifts before his appointment as a judge. This is because a gift is usually given to draw the heart to him to take care of his case, and this is like bribery.” [Fat-h al-Qadeer]
d- The first company or the sponsor/employer permits the employee to take tips or gifts.
Ibn Hajar (Rahimahullaah) said about the gifts of the workers: “The workers are not allowed to take gifts in case the Imam (the leader or the head) did not permit that for him. This is based on the Hadeeth reported by at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Qais ibn Abi Haazim, on the authority of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent me to Yemen, telling me: ‘Do not take something without my permission because it is Ghulul.’” Al-Muhallab said: ‘Whatever is taken should be put in the Bayt al-maal. The employee will not be given any of it except what has been allowed to be given by the Imam.’” [Fat-h al-Baari 13/167]
e- It is permissible to give the employee a gift for his work by whomever is above him in rank such as his boss or manager or the Sultan, if it is given in return of accomplishment of a lawful task.
f- It is permissible for the administration or others to give the employee a gift after his resignation.
g- Some scholars allow a gift to be given to the ruler (or one who is in authority) to repel an oppression or gain a due right.
h- Some scholars permit a gift to be given in order to get one’s right, while it is unlawful upon the one who accepts it. [For example, giving money to an officer to process papers which he will not do unless he is given a gift] [Fatawa Lajnah ad-Daa’imah]
i- It is permissible to give gifts if there is no risk of bribery or favoritism involved in giving tips or gifts. [For example, tipping the worker who has finished his work and is not expected to do any more work for the giver of the tip- in that case, it is permissible for him to be given a gift to help him if he was poor, although it is better not to do so.]
j- It is permissible to give food and gifts to the workers in the neighborhood, i.e. the bakers, the shop keepers, the plumbers, the carpenters, etc. as long as it is not during their work for you, and there are no risks that are consequent upon the gift. [Shaikh Ahmad ibn Naasir at-Tayyaar]
k- It is permissible for an employee to give a gift for his colleague (fellow worker) or a closed friend as a way of showing love and honor. It should not be related to his work or his needs related to the job.
5- It is considered Haraam to give tips to the workers who are sent from a company with whom they are employed. [For example, plumbers, carpenters, and phone company employees, etc. should not be given a tip (whether or not they ask for it) after they have finished their work because they receive a monthly salary from the company whom they work for.]
It is a widespread, serious problem nowadays that many workers do not hesitate to ask for a tip, thinking it is their due right. And if a tip is given, there are some workers who argue about the amount. As well, some workers may be negligent in the performance of their job if they feel that they are not going to get a tip or they are going to be tipped poorly, and they will work harder for one who tips more generously.
There are many negative consequences that result from giving these tips. They may be summed up as follows:
a- If the worker is being paid by the one who sent him, then there is no point in giving him a tip. Rather the apparent meaning of the Sunnah is that this is Haraam, as mentioned in the Hadeeth about Ibn al-Lutbiyyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) whom the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent to collect the Zakaah.
b- These tips (bribes) tempt the worker to favor the giver, so that he may give him something that he is not entitled to, which will cause harm to the one who hired him.
c- These tips may cause the worker to resent others who do not give him anything, so he will not do a good job for them. Hence, he falls short in his work.
d- Tips may make the worker brazen in asking and demanding, causing him to expect tips and hope for them. This is a bad habit that should be stopped because Islam calls for Muslims to have pride and self-respect, and not look for that which is in the hands of others. Rather, Islam forbids us to ask except in the case of necessity. Islam does not want a large majority of the Ummah to become beggars, even if it is in the form of tips.
These negative effects may be weighed against the idea of being kind to the worker in different ways; i.e. one gives him (if he is poor) something extra as a kind of charity, or one responds to his request for more so as to avoid being unkind to him.
But the basic principle according to the scholars is that warding off harm takes precedence over seeking benefit. Based on this, it is not permissible to give so-called tips, except within narrowly-defined terms that are free of these evils. For example, if the worker has finished his work and is not expected to do any more work for the giver of the tip and there is no risk of bribery or favoritism, then in that case it is permissible to give him something as a way of showing thanks or helping him. However, according to the Fatwas issued by some scholars, as we shall see below, it is better not to do that, because that may cause him to get used to asking for or expecting tips, and it may make him resent those who do not give anything.
-Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan (Hafidhahullaah) was asked: “We have a banquet hall in which there are cooks, and some of them ask for tips in addition to their salaries. Is it permissible to give a worker some money as a tip, as he is used to taking from people?”
He replied: “If there is a worker who has a salary and he is paid a set amount by his employer, then it is not permissible for anyone to give him anything. This is because this might cause him to resent some people, e.g. people who are poor and cannot afford to give him anything. So doing this is a bad habit.” [End quote from al-Muntaqa fi Fataawa al-Shaikh al-Fawzaan, vol. 3, question no. 233]
-Shaikh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak (Hafidhahullaah) was asked: What is the ruling on giving a restaurant worker a tip, knowing that bills include a “service charge”?
He replied: “It is not permissible to give the worker a tip, because it is regarded as a bribe from you to the worker so that he will give you better service and more food than he will give to one who does not give him a tip. The worker has no right to single out anyone for better service, rather he should treat all people in the same manner. But, if there is no risk of bribery or favoritism being involved in the tip, i.e. you only intend to be kind to this poor and needy worker, and you are not going to go back to that restaurant, then there is nothing wrong with it.” [End quote from question no. 21605]
– Shaikh ‘Abdul-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad (Hafidhahullaah) was asked: “Can I give Sadaqah to the poor guard at a school, knowing that this help may compel him to favor me and my girls whenever I come to take them?” He replied: “Do not do that as long as there is the risk of favoritism. If you give Sadaqah it should be free of any mutual interest.” [Islamway.com]
Giving gifts to the Teachers
Giving gifts to the teachers by the students or the teachers to the headmaster, etc. falls under the category of giving gifts to the workers.
The scholars of the Standing Committee said: “No employee should take gifts from the clients, and similarly the headmaster should not accept gifts from the students or their parents. This is because all of these are considered Ghulul and it is forbidden, as the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Gifts of workers are Ghulul.’ This is because accepting these gifts leads to injustice in fulfillment of one’s responsibilities.” [Fatawa Lajnah ad-Daa’imah no. 582-23/581]
The scholars also said: “Giving gifts to the teachers in regular schools- government and private- is a kind of bribery which should not be given or taken. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade giving gifts to the workers.” [Fatawa Lajnah ad-Daa’imah no. 583-23/582]
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) was asked: “A group of teachers want to make a party honoring the director, in recognition of her work and efforts in the school. Is it permissible to give her a gift at the end of the year?” He (Rahimahullaah) answered: “There is nothing wrong in holding the invitation but giving gifts is not permissible.” [Fatawa Noor alad-Darb]
He (Rahimahullaah) was also asked: “Some students have given a gift to their teacher on special occasions. Some of them are among whom the teacher is presently teaching, and some of them will most probably be her students in the coming year, and some of them have graduated. What is the ruling in these cases?” He (Rahimahullaah) answered: “There is nothing wrong in the third case. As for the other cases, it is not permissible for them to give gifts even for her (the teacher’s) delivery (childbirth), and so forth. This is because these gifts will cause an inclination of the heart of the teacher towards these students.” [Liqaa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh]
He (Rahimahullaah) also said: “It is not permissible for a teacher to accept a gift from a student. This is included in the Hadeeth reported by Ahmad: ‘The gifts of the workers are Ghulul (i.e. treachery).’ This is because gifts bring about love. It is mentioned in the Hadeeth, ‘Exchange gifts and love each other.’ [Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad. It was also classed as Hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad, 463.] If the love for the student increases, it is feared that this might lead to injustice towards others. Therefore, it is a must on the teacher to refuse the gift, and let her say: ‘I do not accept gifts.’” [Liqaa al-Baab al-Maftooh (16/225)]
Shaikh Abdul-Muhsin al-‘Abbad (Hafidhahullaah) was asked: “It is common among the students in the centers for memorization of Qur’an, that if one of them passed the exam of memorizing parts of the Qur’an, she would pass by the teachers of the school in their classrooms and give them sweets showing her joy and gratitude to her Lord. Are these sweets and gifts considered of the gifts of the workers?” He (Hafidhahullaah) answered: “The matter is general, there is no distinction between one thing and another. Whatever has been given to the teachers is because they are teachers. There is no harm in exchanging gifts between the students but the teachers should not be given gifts by the students.” [Islamway.com]
It is permissible to give gifts to the Muftis, Khateeb, Imams of a Masjid and the teacher who is not responsible for testing or grading students. The gift should be given as an honor, in recognition of their religious knowledge and the attribute of righteousness that they are attributed with. This is because this gift is free of bribery and/or favoritism: it does not help one against an opponent, or nullify a ruling, or execute a judgment, and so forth. However, if the gift given to the Mufti or others like him is not as an honor for his knowledge and it is for the nobility of his position or to encourage him to perform his job in a better way, or to fulfill something unlawful, then it becomes an unlawful gift. If the person (to whom the gift is being given) knows of this intention, he should not accept it. [Radd al-Muhtaar 5/373, Mawaahib al-Jaleel 6/121 and I’laam al-Muwwaqq’een 4/232]
Q: I am employed at a delivery company that transports refrigerated goods (fruits and vegetables) to Madinah, Jeddah, Makkah, and Riyadh. When I reach my destination with the goods, the produce owner gives me 100 to 200 Riyals in recognition of my speedy delivery. My employer knows about this extra bonus or tip that I receive; in this situation, is it lawful or unlawful for me to receive that tip?
A: We feel that there is nothing wrong with your taking the money the produce salesman gave you for your speedy delivery of the perishable goods. Since both your employer and the produce owner know and approve of this tip, and considering that it is paid to encourage you to continue to do good work, there is nothing to prevent you from taking the extra money.
Shaikh Ibn Jibreen
These Gifts are a Form of Bribery
Q: I am currently employed as a manager of a department in a company. When people finish their dealings with me, some of them present me with a gift. I am certain that they cannot do without my services and know that they will come back to me in the future. Can I take their gifts with a good intention or are those gifts considered bribery and ill-gotten gains?
A: You must not accept these gifts, because they come under the ruling of bribery. Because of being gifted, you might be encouraged or feel indebted to give those people precedence over others in dealings, either from a desire for more gifts or out of shyness. There are reports from the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) that indicate that accepting this kind of a gift is not allowed.
You, and others in your position, should make your intention purely for Allaah in your work. You should also be sincere to every customer, fulfilling their needs according to merit, not according to friendship, relation, or desire. Giving precedence to people for these wrong reasons leads to delay in fulfilling others needs, and this is an infringement upon their rights. Allaah Almighty says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا
”Verily, Allaah commands that you should render back the trusts to those whom they are due.”
[Surat an-Nisaa’ 4:58]
Allaah Almighty says describing the successful ones in [Surat al-Mu’minun 23:8]
“وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَتِهِمْ وَعَهْدهمْ رَاعُونَ”
”Those who are faithfully true to their trusts and to their covenants.”
And with Allaah is the facilitation to do what is right.
Shaikh Bin Baz
Paying Money to Get a Contract
Q: A brother of mine is seeking employment in the Kingdom. He is – all praise is due to Allaah – following the guidance of Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) (as far as my knowledge of him can tell). In his present job, my brother has many problems, some of which have to do with transgressing the proper bounds of lawful and unlawful. He sent me (a copy of) his degree in commerce which he obtained from Alexandria University in 1974. A Saudi who I know, has offered my brother a job with Saudi Airlines if we pay him 5000 Riyals. Is it allowed for us to take this offer?
A: Based on what you said, paying for a contract to work in Saudi Airlines or the like is one of the major sins. Also, accepting that money is unlawful because it is bribery. In an authentic Hadeeth, the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) cursed the one paying a bribe and the one receiving it.
One should instead, seek sustenance by lawful means, for the doors of lawful sustenance are manifold. Fear Allaah Almighty and put your trust in Him:
“وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ”
“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine.”
[Surat at-Talaq 65:2-3]
May Allaah send blessings upon Muhammad, upon his family, and upon his Companions.
The Permanent Committee