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Often times, I would go to a coffee shop, and a previous school mate works there. Now he gives me free coffee and food (this isn't authorized by the store) and I'm under the assumption that he expects a greater amount in monetary tip, so I put a good amount in the tip jar (the amount doesn't exceed how much I would have spent if I had bought the food though).

This makes me equate this action to bribery. Is the above action haraam?

Let's change the story up, and say I don't give any tip, and receive everything free. Now, it isn't bribery. Is this still haraam because the receiving of products for free isn't authorized?

Let's change the story up one more time, and say that I get a substantial discount. Is this discount haraam as well?

If so, it would mean there really isn't any benefit to having a friend work in a fast food restaurant, other than receiving suggestions.

For the sake of clarity, the actual place I get free drinks or food from is Dunkin Donuts.

I need to add that I also have the question of redemption. How can I make up for my past "stealing" or "bribery"? Do I just make repentance to God or do I have to pay back every single store where I got discount (with the total being inaccurate or incalculable)?

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There are a lot of questions here. If your friend is stealing (because it is undeniably stealing) and you know it, and you eat what he stole, then yes, it is forbidden. I might add "obviously".

I didn't understand what you meant by discount. If you mean there are some discount cards that your friend can distribute as it pleases him, and he gives you all the cards, that's fine.

If you're saying "instead of stealing 100% of the coffee, we only steal 20%" it is still stealing. So that's a no.

For the final part, which is a good question, it is preferable for you to make amends by giving back the money if able. Normally, a tawba nassouh should be enough in my opinion. There are countless of companions that killed a lot of people before becoming muslims, and they repented, evidently without paying back the lives they had taken (this is why I emphasized "if able" above).

Repentance has 3 conditions : regretting the deed, resolving never to do it again, and stop doing it. Most importantly, one has to mean that. Which is not always simple and not something you can be sure of.

This is one answer.

Another answer, that seems closer to the truth in my opinion, is the one brought up in Ibn Qudamah, al-Nawawi, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Hajar and others. For instance: al-Mughni, 14/193; Rawdat al-Talibeen, 11/245-246; Madarij al-Salikeen, 1/396; Fath al-Bari, 11/104.

These say that you cannot repent when you steal until you give back what you stole, some add "and apologize, unless it puts you in harms way". If you are absolutely unable to repay...I unfortunately have no answer.

But no matter what, this is wrong, and you should not take this lightly. Stealing, in any amount, is a grave sin.

  • JazakAllah Khair for this expanse and informative answer. It has benefited me, and I will certainly also share it with my friends. – Abdul Jan 29 '16 at 18:37
  • I can add a feel-good hadith, but I don't want you to take it lightly, as if committing the sin is no big deal. I will give it nonetheless because it fills me with hope: a man came to the prophet and started the following conversation: "if I commit a sin, will it be recorded"- "yes, it will" -"what if I repent"-"it will be erased"-"what if I sin again"-"it will be recorded"-"what if I repent"-"it will be erased"-"Untill when will it be erased?!"-"God does not get bored with forgiveness, you may get bored with asking for forgiveness". But remember: repentance, real repentance, is hard. – ZakC Jan 29 '16 at 18:54

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