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I am an eBay seller and I need to ship goods to customers around the world. But custom officers in my country are corrupted and they ask for bribes from me on each shipment. Now I am using a courier service. The person who manage the customs told me to write lower values on the item invoice. I am doing so from then but I think it is not right.

Is it permissible in Islam to bribe the person if he otherwise won't do his job legally even though he should?

Can I under value the items because the courier officer asks me to and wouldn't let me do my business otherwise?

In both the cases I'm compelled to bribe them for something that I have legal right to do. What is Islamic ruling in this regard?

  • It will be near to impossible, because my investments are high and lots of things are involved.. – user335 Jul 20 '12 at 8:44
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    AFAIK most of the countries have vigilance squads to caught corrupted officers , So you can report this issue to them (It is a responsibility to country). – Tachyons Jul 20 '12 at 8:56
  • It is a good idea... – user335 Jul 20 '12 at 9:05
  • @tachyons Certain countries do not take this responsibility seriously. For example, when I lived in Egypt a few years ago, this was how normal business was conducted. I don't know which country the OP is referring to, but I understand that this is extremely difficult (or impossible) to get around in countries like Egypt. If the OP is forced to pay a "bribe" so that his/her business can continue, I don't think he/she has any choice. – Hassan Jul 20 '12 at 15:23
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    Reporting the official involved is a good way to get yourself injured or killed in many of these places. When the Prophet was compelled to do such things, he moved away (hijrah), engaged in war with them (Rome/Persia/several tribes), or negotiated out of it. – Muz Mar 9 '13 at 1:08
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Bribes are not permissible. You should pay the customs or have your customer pay it, but it must be done according to the letter of the law.

The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the one who bribes (rashi) and the one who takes (murtashi).” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1595).

I'll try to find more references.

  • Brother, your post does not address the question. Its not helpful and I think you should delete it. – Sakib Arifin Apr 24 '16 at 14:12
  • @MohammadSakibArifin How is it unhelpful? If there is a "fee" which customs officer is charging to "expedite" shipments, then one has a choice ... either bribe or not bribe. One should trust in the system, and report the customs official. By bribing, one is hiding the problem, and forcing others to do the same. – Nasir Apr 30 '16 at 1:31
  • I know he has a choice but in such situation it is permissible for him to bribe because he is bribing for getting his own right. The question is asking for whether it is permissible or not. – Sakib Arifin Apr 30 '16 at 3:51
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Firstly, bribery is haram and a major sin in Islam. Allah almighty may he be exalted, says in the Quran (interpretation of meaning):

And their taking of Riba (usury) though they were forbidden from taking it and their devouring of men's substance wrongfully (bribery, etc.). And We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment. [4:161]

And you see many of them (Jews) hurrying for sin and transgression, and eating illegal things [as bribes and Riba (usury), etc.]. Evil indeed is that which they have been doing. [5:62]

The prophet (peace be upon him) cursed those who give bribes and take it.

It is narrated by Ahmad (6791) and Abu Dawood (3580) from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the one who gives a bribe and the one who takes it.

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (2621).

However, if a person who has a right and cannot get his right except by paying bribes, then it is permissible for him to give bribes in that case because he is compelled to do that. Allah almighty may he be exalted, says in the Quran (interpretation of meaning):

[6.119] And what reason have you that you should not eat of that on which Allah's name has been mentioned, and He has already made plain to you what He has forbidden to you-- excepting what you are compelled to; and most surely many would lead (people) astray by their low desires out of ignorance; surely your Lord-- He best knows those who exceed the limits.

Further reading: Islam QA Fatawa 72268.

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Giving a bribe is not allowed in Islam.

Following are the hadiths that prove it.

Dawud :: Book 19 : Hadith 2953

Narrated Dhul-Zawa'id:

Mutayr said: I heard a man say: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) in the Farewell Pilgrimage. He was commanding and prohibiting them (the people). He said: O Allah, did I give full information? They said: Yes. He said: When the Quraysh quarrel about the rule among themselves, and the presents become bribery, them leave them. The people were asked: Who was he (who narrated this tradition)? They said: This was Dhul-Zawa'id, a Companion of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him).

Here the prophet says to not accept gifts given as bribes.
Another hadeeth -

Dawud :: Book 24 : Hadith 3573

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As:

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes bribe.

When the prophet curses something then it has to be wrong.
Another hadeeth -

Malik :: Book 33 : Hadith 33.1.2

Malik related to me from Ibn Shihab from Sulayman ibn Yasar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to send Abdullah ibn Rawaha to Khaybar, to assess the division of the fruit crop between him and the jews of Khaybar.

The jews collected for Abdullah pieces of their women's jewellery and said to him, "This is yours. Go light on us and don't be exact in the division!"

Abdullah ibn Rawaha said, "O tribe of jews! By Allah! You are among the most hateful to me of Allah's creation, but it does not prompt me to deal unjustly with you. What you have offered as a bribe is forbidden. We will not touch it." They said, "This is what supports the heavens and the earth." (this is not complete)

So these three hadiths say that giving a bribe is wrong.

Also in the quran it is given that bribery is not allowed

And do not consume one another's wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]. [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:188] (Translation by Saheeh International)

And you see many of them (Jews) hurrying for sin and transgression, and eating illegal things [as bribes and Riba (usury), etc.]. Evil indeed is that which they have been doing. [Surat Al-Mā'idah 5:62] (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

O you who have believed, testimony [should be taken] among you when death approaches one of you at the time of bequest - [that of] two just men from among you or two others from outside if you are traveling through the land and the disaster of death should strike you. Detain them after the prayer and let them both swear by Allah if you doubt [their testimony, saying], "We will not exchange our oath for a price, even if he should be a near relative, and we will not withhold the testimony of Allah . Indeed, we would then be of the sinful." [Surat Al-Mā'idah 5:106] (Translation by Saheeh International)

And their taking of Riba (usury) though they were forbidden from taking it and their devouring of men's substance wrongfully (bribery, etc.). And We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment. [4:161] (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

Even these Quranic verses say that bribery is wrong.
May Allah guide you onto the right path.

  • @HasanKhan obviously not try some other proper method. Complain about that official or something similar. Anything haram should be kept as far from us as possible. – Ashu Jul 20 '12 at 20:05
  • @HasanKhan Yes, it is permissible in compulsion. Read my answer for details. – Sakib Arifin Apr 24 '16 at 14:07

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