Question: “My mother is a civil servant. Sometimes, there are members of society -of whom she was servicing- who gave us present without being asked by my mother. The presents weren’t meant to be a bribe so that my mother will give better service for the them, but it was given due to her dedication in serving the society. Mother is a civil servant who is serious in servicing the society and she serves them fast, whoever the person is. Due to the rarity of such civil servant today, some people just want to give her an appreciation for her work. One gave her a bottle of honey. What is the ruling of such present? What is the ruling for me if I, as her child, consumed such present? ”
The answer of Sheikh Mahir Ibn Zafir Al Qahthani, “Imam Ahmad narrated in his book, “Musnad”, from Abu Humaid As Sa’idi; that the Messenger of Allah said,
هدايا العمال غلول
‘Present received by an employee is a property of betraying the mandate,’
Your mother is not allowed to accept and take the present when she is still working as a civil servant who are obliged to serve the society. If it is a plain present, in other word a lawful present, then, if your mother is already retired, thus she just spends her time sitting in her home, is there anyone who’ll bring her a present?
There are two kinds of unlawful property. Firstly, it is unlawful because of the property itself. Such as the result of stealing, and the like. Secondly, the unlawful property due to some factors out of the property itself, such as the result of usury. Presents received by the civil servant, would probably fall into this second category.
The first category is unlawful for all people, whether for the first handed receiver, or the second handed who obtain the property from the first one through lawful ways, such as inheritance, or present.
The second category, the unlawful property due to the transaction, for example the yield of usury, is unlawful for the first handed person, but it is lawful for the second handed who get the property from the first handed person through fine ways, such as inheritance, living, and present.
There are 2 indications indicating the truth of the stance which gives the details above.
First, there is a valid narration from Ibn Mas’ud regarding his comment over the property obtained from usury transaction, which was presented by the usurer to other, or a feast invitation at the house of the usurer. He said,
لك غنمه وعليه غرمه
‘’For you the delight and the sin is for him’
Second, the Prophet accepted food as a present from a Jewish woman, whereas the Jews were people who often obtain wealth from unlawful ways.
Based on the explanation above, it is alright for you to obtain those goods from your mother through lawful ways, for example as a living bequest. In such condition, the present is unlawful for your mother, even though it is lawful for you.
Author:Ustadz. Aris Munandar, S.S., M.PI.