Q: First: I work with my father in the field of
to act on behalf of some companies. The job involves clearing the imported goods in the customs through a series of procedures and steps, which we usually undertake with the customs staff who receive basic salaries from the government for their work. However, most of the customs staff requires customhouse brokers to pay additional fees and others do not require it. These fees may be requested before or after finishing the procedures, and the staff may not explicitly demand paying them, but in somewhat indirect ways. If we refuse to pay, they would impede our work at various levels, for instance, they may claim that we have not completed our papers, or that they suggest a condition which we do not meet in an attempt to hinder our work. This usually happens before accomplishing (Part No. 23; Page No. 543) our work. If we accomplish our work without paying them such bribes, they would hinder it on upcoming occasions. Am I permitted to pay these fees? If not, am I considered under necessity so that there is no sin upon me in doing that? Should I appoint another person to pay these fees? Should I leave this job and look for another one? It should be noted that paying such bribes does not cause Zhulm (injustice) or harm to any person, nor does it involve taking what is not my right. The companies which authorize us to clear their goods pay us money as a separate clause for the charges taking into account the bribes we give. It is often a specified sum of money, regardless of what is actually paid and the wages we obtain for clearing the goods. My father needs my help in this work so he asks me to remain with him.Second: Doing business necessitates that I deal with particular government employees, such as tax officers, health and supply inspectors and others, and this requires that I pay them bribes. Otherwise, they, out of revenge, will impose legal fines and penalties on whoever refuses to pay. Should I pay such money (Part No. 23; Page No. 544) to avoid their evil and alleviate harm from us? Is it impermissible for us to pay such money and should we endure their harm?
Bribery is Haram (prohibited). It was authentically reported on the authority of
Thawban that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
Allah has cursed the briber, the bribed, and the mediator between them.
It is obligatory on you and your father to give up such work as long as it is in the state mentioned above. If you leave it, you would be saved from sin - Praise be to Allah; otherwise, you should try your best to earn your living through lawful channels since there are many means of Rizq (sustenance) available. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says,
And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allâh, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allâh will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allâh has set a measure for all things.
You should not obey your father to remain with him when it comes to this work, because it is an act of disobedience and we know that no human being is to be obeyed in defiance to Allah. Nevertheless, be dutiful to your parents in goodness, since Allah (Exalted be He) says,
...but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience.
The money that the client pays to his deputy to spend on the goods should be spent on permissible channels without (Part No. 23; Page No. 545) extravagance or payment in prohibited matters. What remains of the money should be returned to the client unless he willingly gives it to his deputy.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.