The Lawful Bribe

The Lawful Bribe

In the book of “At Ta’rifat”, 1:36, it is mentioned that bribe is something given to certain people so that he or she cancels the right of a rightful person to receive it, or that he or she gives a right to an unrightfully one to receive it.

The Lawful Bribe

Bribe is one of the Major Sins

قال عبد الله بن عمرو – رضي الله عنهما- : “ لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الراشي والمرتشي” . رواه أبو داود وابن ماجه وصححه الألباني

“Abdullah Ibn Amr -may Allah be pleased with him- said, “That the messenger of Allah cursed a briber and the bribed one.” (Narrated by Au Daud, and Ibn Maja: classed sahih by Al Albani).

However, one who gave some money to the civil servant or the judge to obtain his right or to prevent transgression over himself is not considered as a briber in shari’a. This is the opinion of majority of scholars of Islamic law, among them were Atha, Jabir Ibn zaid, and Al Hasan al Bashri, Ibn Taimiya, and also the chosen opinion of Sheikh al Albani. One who bear the sin here is the one who received the bribe, because he was responsible to avoid any transgression and supposed to serve the society well without asking them for return.

قال صلى الله عليه وسلم : “ هدايا العمال غلول” رواه أحمد والبيهقي وصححه الألباني

The Prophet said, “A gift to an employee is ghulul (wealth obtained from betrayal). “ (Narrated by Ahmad, and Baihaqi, and classed sahih by Al Albani).

In the book of Raudhatu Ath-Thalibin wa Umdatu Al-Muftin 4:131, An Nawawee said, “Concerning bribery, if one bribed a judge so that he would win his case, while in fact he was the convict, or the judge would not give a right decision according to the facts, then the bribery here is unlawful. Whereas bribery done to obtain one’s right, is not unlawful, as the case of retribution of the captive.”

Ibn Qudama Al Hanbali in his book, “Al Mughni” 23:28 said, “Bribery in the court, and bribing the authorities is unlawful, without any different opinions regarding it’s status in the eye of the scholars. If the briber intended to give it so that the judge would win his case or to prevent other from taking his right, then such briber is a cursed one. “

Jabir Ibn zaid said, “We do not consider anything that is more beneficial than bribery during the reign of Ziyad.”

It is important to notice that bribery to obtain right or to prevent transgression also has negative side, that is to help the briber to commit a sin, whereas we are prohibited from aiding each other in wrongdoings. Thus, such act is prohibited, unless there is a need to do it, and it is impossible to obtain the right or to prevent transgression but by bribing.

Ash Shan’ani in his work “Subulus Salam” 6:47 said, “Bribing the judge so that he might win one’s case against other, while he was the convict, is an unlawful act for both the briber and the bribed one. Whereas bribing the judge so that he might win his case, whereas he was the right one, then it is forbidden to the judge but it is allowed for the briber because the briber itself was a tool to obtain his right; thus, it served as a cash given to a runaway slave to persuade him to go back to his master, and also as a wage to the attorney. But there are also people who said that bribery done to obtain one’s right is still unlawful because it will plunge others to sins. “


Author: ustadz Aris Munandar, M.Pi.


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