Giving a debt in charity on behalf of the owner with his consent

Q: I put my question to Your Honor so that you will give me your Fatwa. I am a camel shepherd and I went to Iraq to trade in camels. I was indebted to three persons before I traveled; one for one hundred riyals, another for thirty riyals and the third for twenty riyals. When I returned from Iraq, they were not available and I could not find any of them after a year of searching. What should I do in this regard? Should I pay the entire amount of money as Sadaqah (voluntary charity), or just part of it?

A: If the case is as you mentioned, and you could not get to them by any means, you may pay the amount as Sadaqah on their behalf. If it happens that you came across one of them, tell him what you did. If he agrees with your deed, then the reward of Sadaqah is for him, otherwise, it is yours and you must pay him his money. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.