Too embarrassed to return stolen property to its owner

Reference: Fataawa Noor ‘alad-Darb – Question No.6285, Page 116, Volume 12

Question: I stole a shirt from the house of one of my friends, and [now] I feel very embarrassed to return it back to him. I am extremely sad at what I had done, so what should I do now?

Response: You are required to return the shirt back to its owner, and if it has been lost, then you must return one similar to it; and if you can’t find one similar to it, then you must return its value to him.

That being the case, he will find himself in an uncomfortable situation – how should he return what he has stolen back to its owner? If he were to say, [here you are] this is the money which I had stolen from you, then he may find himself in a problem; quite possibly the owner may report him to the authorities, or he may claim that he is owed more money than that – or something similar, so what should he do?

He should give the stolen property or money to someone whom he trusts, and ask him to go to the owner and say to him: ‘This property is from someone who has asked me to give it to you’ – and that will suffice. And if he had some money, then he can place it in an envelope and send it by post. And if he does this with the intention that he has relinquished himself of the responsibility of returning the stolen money, property – or its value to the owner, then that is what is required.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.

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