Will it be a sin if we give rushwat for taking our own property which is wrongfully seized?

Question:  A construction company applied to the municipality for saving our land which is announced as green land unjustly. It turned out positive. But the municipality asked illegal money for completing the procedures. The company told us “you can either have your land with this money, or lose it all”. So what if now, we give the money to the persons in municipality? Will it be a sin for us?

Answer:

The verse about bribery is as follows:

“Do not consume your wealth between each other by illegal means and do not give it to the authorities in order to obtain some of other people’s wealth by sin while you know it.” (Al-Baqarah / The Cattle 2:188)

The word for bribery in Arabic is “rushwat”. Rushwat is derived from “reshaa” which means rope. Rushwat is like reaching the water in the bottom of the well by tying a rope to a bucket. The person taking rushwat is like the bucket. The person giving rushwat is like taking the water which he doesn’t have the right by using the rope and the bucket. According to this verse, rushwat has two characteristics.

1. The purpose of taking other people’s wealth without right.

2. Giving something to the people in charge in order to attain this purpose.

If someone gives something to an authority to obtain his own right, the situation is examined:

– If the person in charge has done his work without expecting something in return, it would be a gift.

– If the person in charge has done his work only with the condition of taking something he doesn’t have the right to take, then that person has taken rushwat.

For example: If someone has fulfilled all the necessary procedures to buy a house, but couldn’t get the license from the authority which he has the right, and is forced to give rushwat; this becomes a sin for only the receiving party, not for the giving. But if he gives it in order to obtain someone else’s right, then both of them will be sinned.

If you are forced to give money for taking back your own property which you claim to be confiscated without right, this will be a sin for only the receiving party, not for you.

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Date: Jan 27, 2013