The Islamic Stance on Monetary Penalties

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The Islamic stance on Monetary Penalties


The Islamic Stance on Monetary Penalties

  • This is purely an academic research and no reference to any institute, school,college or madrasah.
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Any reader on fiqh must be aware of his capacity in the science of fiqh.  We are all muqalidūn (follow a particular school of fiqh) and hence are obliged to resort to the texts (عبارات) of the Fuqāhā’.  We are not armed enough to resort to the Qur’ān, Ahādīth and our own Qiyās to reach a conclusion.  This can be easily understood and witnessed by reading the works of the earlier scholars.  Their ingenuity will leave anybody humbled.

Shaykh Awwāmah Hafizahullah states the following quotes from the earlier expert scholars on the need of following the Fuqahā’:


وقال الامام ابن أبي زيد القيرواني رحمه الله: (الحديث مضلة الا للفقهاء) يريد: ان غيرهم قد يحمل شيئا علي ظاهره وله تاويل من حديث غيره، أو دليل يخفى عليه، أو متروك أوجب تركه غير شيء مما لا يقوم به الا من استبحر وتفقه (أثر الحديث الشريف، ص 63، دار اليسر

Imam Ibn Abi Zaid al-Qirwānī rahimahullah states,

 “Hadith is a cause of deviance for everyone except the Fuqahā’.”

The meaning of this is that people other than the expert Fuqahā’ at times take the explicit meaning whereas there is an interpretation for the hadīth induced by another hadīth, or an unknown evidence or an evidence neglected for no reason. Only a well versed and expert scholar can detect such intricacies.

 ,Sufyān ibn ῾Uyaynah rahimahullah mentions

وقال سفيان بن عيينة التسليم للفقهاء سلامة في الدين (أثر الحديث الشريف، ص 117 دار اليسر)

“Subjecting oneself to the rulings of the Fuqahā’ is safety for one’s dīn.”


,Imam Tirmidhī rahimahullah states

قال الإمام الترمذي رحمه الله :”وكذلك قال الفقهاء وهم أعلم بمعاني الحديث”  (سنن الترمذي باب ما جاء في غسل الميت)

“This is what the Fuqahā’ have said.  They are the ones who possess more understanding of the meanings of ahādīth.”

 This is enough to show that one cannot reach his own conclusions through the Qur’ān and Ahādith.  One has to resort to the works of the Fuqahā’.

Does anybody perform his own surgery? Will any person be happy with an unqualified surgeon to carry out a heart operation on him? We will be bent on acquiring the most experienced and qualified surgeon to carry out a heart operation.  In the same manner, how can we accept Sharī’ah from anyone besides the experts?

The scholars of the past like Ibn al-Nujaym and Ibn al-Abidīn rahimahumallah, despite compiling masterpieces which the whole Hanafī world rely upon, were not equipped enough to be mujtahids.  They wrote volumes works in the Arabic language, studied several classical texts and issued hundreds of fatāwā.  The most intricate of topics are discussed from every chapter of fiqh are presented in their writings.  Nevertheless, their reliance was totally on the earlier Fuqahā’ who were mujtahids of different categories. Therefore, we are all the more dependent on the Fuqahā’.

Any fatwā or mas’alah has to be based on the texts of the Fuqahā’.  Ibn Abidīn in Rasmul Muftī- A book which is studied by almost every student of Iftaa and is widely accepted as the usūl (principles) of Iftaa clearly states the principles upon which all the Fuqahā’ of the past until now have worked with:

“أن الواجب على من أراد أن يعمل لنفسه أو يفتي غيره أن يتبع القول الذي رجحه علماء مذهبه ، فلا يجوز له العمل أو الإفتاء بالمرجوح إلا في بعض المواضع” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 8 مكتبة البشرى)

“It is compulsory upon the one practicing and for the one who is in the position to issue fatwā to others that they do so in accordance to the view preferred by the scholars of his school of jurisprudence.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.8 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

“اعلم أن من يكتفي بأن يكون فتواه أو عمله موافقا لقول أو وجه ويعمل بما شاء من الأقوال والوجوه من غير نظر في الترجيح فقد جهل وخرق الإجماع” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 9 مكتبة البشرى)

“Know, whoever is satisfied that his fatwā or action concurs with any opinion found and he practices on any opinion without looking for the preferred opinion, has erred and breached the laws of Ijmā’ (consensus).” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.9 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

إن القاضي المقلد لا يجوز له أن يحكم إلا بما هو ظاهر الرواية لا بالرواية الشاذة إلا أن ينصوا على أن الفتوى عليها” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 18 مكتبة البشرى)

“It is not permissible for a qādhī who is a muqallid (not a mujtahid) to issue a ruling except that which is Zāhir al Riwāyah (the mainstream rulings of the Hanafi school).  They cannot issue a fatwā based on a solitary report except in the scenario where the Fuqahā’ state explicitly that the fatwā’ is on that opinion.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.18 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

“قال الكمال بن الهمام : لا يعمل بأبحاث شيخنا التي تخالف المذهب”  (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 35 مكتبة البشرى)

“Ibn al-Humām rahimahullah states,

One cannot practice on the research and opinions of the Hanafī school which contradict the mainstream school of jurisprudence (mathhab).” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.35 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

المفتي في زماننا من أصحابنا إذا استفتي عن (في) مسألة ، إن كانت مروية عن أصحابنا في الروايات الظاهرة بلا خلاف بينهم، فإنه يميل إليهم ويفتي بقولهم، ولا يخالفهم برأيه وإن كان مجتهدا متقنا، لأن الظاهر أن يكون الحق مع أصحابنا ولا يعدوهم، واجتهاده لا يبلغ اجتهادهم، ولا ينظر إلى قول من خالفهم، ولا تقبل حجته أيضا، لأنهم عرفوا الأدلة ، وميزوا بين صح وما ثبت وبين ضده.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 35 مكتبة البشرى)

“If a Muftī is asked a question the answer to which is mentioned by the earlier Fuqahā’, then he must adopt there ruling and issue a ruling parallel to theirs.  He does not have the prerogative to disagree with them with his own opinion even though he may be a diligent mujtahid.  The reality is that the correct opinion is what they opted for.  The diligent mujtahid’s level of expertise cannot surpass their expertise.  Consideration will not be given to the one who disagrees with the earlier scholars.  The scholars of the earlier times had a more profound understanding of the evidences of fiqh and discerned between authentic and unauthentic.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.9 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

“لأن هذا المفتي حيث لم يكن وصل إلى رتبة الاجتهاد يلزمه التقليد لمن وصل إليها، ولا يلزمه معرفة دليل إمامه إلا على قول.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 46 مكتبة البشرى)

“If a Mufti has not reached the level of Ijtihād, it is binding upon him to do taqlīd (follow a particular school of jurisprudence).  It is not necessary to know the evidences of the Imam one follows.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.46 Maktabah al-Bushrā)


It is clear from the above that any mas’alah today has to be based on the texts of the Fuqahā’.  One cannot base a mas’alah on Qiyās or his own judgements.  Fiqh has a codified system.  There is a modus operandi in diagnosing, medicating and reaching a conclusion in fiqh.

The following principle in the Hanafī school clearly defines that one cannot reach conclusions on his own:

“المقلد المحض ليس له أن يفتي فيما لم يجد فيه نصا عن أحد.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 53 مكتبة البشرى)

“An inexperienced muqallid Mufti cannot issue a fatwā in the event of not finding a basis for the fatwā.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.53 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

إذا لم يجد تلك الحادثة في كتاب – ليس له أن يفتي فيها برأيه، بل عليه أن يقول : “لا أدري”، كما قال من هو أجل منه قدرا من مجتهدي الصحابة ومن بعدهم، بل من أيد بالوحي صلى الله عليه وسلم.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 53 مكتبة البشرى)

“If a contemporary matter cannot be located in the books of fiqh, the inexperienced muqallid Muftī cannot issue a ruling based on his own opinion.  He must say, “I do not know.” This was exactly what the illustrious ones from the Sahabah and those after them said in such situations.  Let alone the Sahabah, the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam responded in a similar manner.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.53 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

“فعلى من لم يجد نقلا صريحا أن يتوقف في الجواب أو أن يسأل من هو أعلم منه ولو في بلدة أخرى.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 54 مكتبة البشرى)

“Whoever does not find a clear text must not hasten in issuing an answer.  He should wait or ask one who is more knowledgeable even though the more knowledgeable person may be living in a different city.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.54 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

“وليس للمفتي في زماننا إلا نقل ما صح عن أهل مذهبه الذين يفتي بقولهم، ولأن المستفتي إنما يسأل عما ذهب إليه أئمة ذلك المذهب لا عما ينجلي للمفتي.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 89 مكتبة البشرى)

“A Mufti must disseminate only that information which has been established from the giants in the school of fiqh.  A questioner only asks regarding the opinion of his school of fiqh and not the opinion of a Muftī.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.89 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

The above principles make it clear that if someone asks a question, one cannot apply his own reasoning to come to an answer.  The questioner is asking with regards to his school of fiqh and not the opinion of the person being asked.  Therefore, one has to narrate the Hanafī opinion.

Analysis of the ruling on charging disciplinary fines:

 Disciplinary fines are translated as التعزيرات المالية  in the Arabic language.

The classical Fiqhi manuals:

The Fuqahā’ state the following with regards to such fines:

قال أفندي رحمه الله : وَلَا يَكُونُ التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ مِنْ الْجَانِي فِي الْمُذْهَبِ (مجمع الأنهر ج 1 ص 609  دار إحياء التراث العربي)

Afindi rahimahullah states,

“A person who commits a crime cannot be fined with a monetary penalty.” (Majma῾ al-Anhur 1/609 Dār Ihyā al-Turāth)


قال ابن عابدين رحمه الله : وَالْحَاصِلُ أَنَّ الْمَذْهَبَ عَدَمُ التَّعْزِيرِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ، (رد المحتار ج 4 ص 61 أيج أيم سعيد)

Ibn Abidīn rahimahullah states,

“The view of the Hanafī school is that charging monetary penalties is not permissible.” (Radd al-Muhtar 4/61 H M Saeed)


التَّعْزِيرُ قد يَكُونُ بِالْحَبْسِ وقد يَكُونُ بِالصَّفْعِ وَتَعْرِيكِ الْأُذُنِ وقد يَكُونُ بِالْكَلَامِ الْعَنِيفِ وقد يَكُونُ بِالضَّرْبِ وقد يَكُونُ بِنَظَرِ الْقَاضِي إلَيْهِ بِنَظَرٍ عَبُوسٍ كَذَا في النِّهَايَةِ وَعِنْدَ أبي يُوسُفَ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى يَجُوزُ التَّعْزِيرُ لِلسُّلْطَانِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ وَعِنْدَهُمَا وَبَاقِي الْأَئِمَّةِ الثَّلَاثَةِ لَا يَجُوزُ كَذَا في فَتْحِ الْقَدِيرِ وَمَعْنَى التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ على الْقَوْلِ بِهِ إمْسَاكُ شَيْءٍ من مَالِهِ عِنْدَهُ مُدَّةً لِيَنْزَجِرَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدَهُ الْحَاكِمُ إلَيْهِ لَا أَنْ يَأْخُذَهُ الْحَاكِمُ لِنَفْسِهِ أو لِبَيْتِ الْمَالِ كما يَتَوَهَّمُهُ الظَّلَمَةُ إذْ لَا يَجُوزُ لِأَحَدٍ من الْمُسْلِمِينَ أَخْذُ مَالِ أَحَدٍ بِغَيْرِ سَبَبٍ شَرْعِيٍّ كَذَا في الْبَحْرِ الرَّائِقِ (الفتاوى الهندية ج 2 ص 167 مكتبة الرشيدية)

“Punishments can take place in the form of incarceration, slapping, stern words, hitting and by the qādhī looking at the offender with a mean look.

According to Imam Abū Yūsuf rahimahullah, it is permissible to for a sultan to penalise an offender by seizing the wealth of someone.  According to Imam Abū Hanīfah and Imam Muhammad and the other three mathhabs, this is not permissible.

Punishment by seizing wealth refers to seizing the wealth of someone temporarily.  The sultan will return the wealth back to him.  Seizing the wealth does not mean that the ruler can take the money for himself or the public treasury as some tyrants thing.  It is not permissible for any Muslim to take the wealth of somebody else without a valid Shar’i reason.” (Fatāwā Hindiyyah 2/167 Rashīdiyyah)


قال ابن نجيم رحمه الله:  وَقَدْ قِيلَ رُوِيَ عَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ أَنَّ التَّعْزِيرَ مِنْ السُّلْطَانِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ جَائِزٌ كَذَا فِي الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ وَفِي الْخُلَاصَةِ سَمِعْت عَنْ ثِقَةٍ أَنَّ التَّعْزِيرَ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ إنْ رَأَى الْقَاضِي ذَلِكَ أَوْ الْوَالِي جَازَ وَمِنْ جُمْلَةِ ذَلِكَ رَجُلٌ لَا يَحْضُرُ الْجَمَاعَةَ يَجُوزُ تَعْزِيرُهُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ اهـ.
وَأَفَادَ فِي الْبَزَّازِيَّةِ أَنَّ مَعْنَى التَّعْزِيرِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ عَلَى الْقَوْلِ بِهِ إمْسَاكُ شَيْءٍ مِنْ مَالِهِ عَنْهُ مُدَّةً لِيَنْزَجِرَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ الْحَاكِمُ إلَيْهِ لَا أَنْ يَأْخُذَهُ الْحَاكِمُ لِنَفْسِهِ أَوْ لِبَيْتِ الْمَالِ كَمَا يَتَوَهَّمُهُ الظَّلَمَةُ إذْ لَا يَجُوزُ لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ أَخْذُ مَالِ أَحَدٍ بِغَيْرِ سَبَبٍ شَرْعِيٍّ (البحر الرائق ج 5 ص 44 دار الكتاب الإسلامي)

“It has been reported that Imam Abu Yūsuf was of the opinion that for the sultan to punish by seizing wealth is permissible as has been reported in zahīriyyah.

It is mentioned in Khulāsah that the author heard from a trustworthy source that punishing by taking someone’s wealth will be permissible if the ruler sees benefit therein.

It is further mentioned in Bazāziyyah that the punishment by seizing wealth refers to seizing the wealth of someone temporarily.  The sultan will return the wealth back to him.  Seizing the wealth does not mean that the ruler can take the money for himself or the public treasury as some tyrants thing.  It is not permissible for any Muslim to take the wealth of somebody else without a valid Shar’i reason.” (al-Bahr al-Rā’iq 5/44 Dār al-kitāb al-Islāmī)


وَفِي الْخُلَاصَةِ يَجُوزُ التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ وَمِنْ ذَلِكَ رَجُلٌ لَا يَحْضُرُ الْجَمَاعَةَ. اهـ. وَسَيَأْتِي إنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى فِي مَحَلِّهِ أَنَّ مَعْنَاهُ حَبْسُ مَالِهِ عَنْهُ مُدَّةً ثُمَّ دَفْعُهُ لَهُ لَا أَخْذُهُ عَلَى وَجْهِ التَّمَلُّكِ كَمَا قَدْ يُتَوَهَّمُ كَمَا صَرَّحَ بِهِ فِي الْبَزَّازِيَّةِ (البحر الرائق ج 1 ص 365 دار الكتاب الإسلامي)

“It is stated in Khulāsah that it is permissible to take the wealth of someone as a form of punishment.  This ruling can apply to one who does not attend the congregation for salāh.  The meaning of this is to seize the wealth of the person temporarily and then to return the money to the rightful owner.  It does not mean to take ownership of the wealth as some think.” (Al-Bahr al-Rā’iq 1/365 Dār al-Kitāb al-Islāmī)

قَالَ فِي الْفَتَاوَى الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ: اعْلَمْ أَنَّ التَّعْزِيرَ قَدْ يَكُونُ بِالْحَبْسِ وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِالصَّفْعِ وَتَعْرِيكِ الْأُذُنِ، وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِالْكَلَامِ الْعَنِيفِ، وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِالضَّرْبِ، وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِنَظَرِ الْقَاضِي إلَيْهِ بِوَجْهٍ عَبُوسٍ، وَلَمْ يَذْكُرْ مُحَمَّدٌ التَّعْزِيرَ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ (العناية ج 5 ص 344  دار الفكر)

“Punishments can take place in the form of incarceration, slapping, stern words, hitting and by the qādhī looking at the offender with a mean look.  Imam Muhammad did not mention punishing by seizing the wealth of others.” (al-῾Ināyah 5/344 Dār al-Fikr)


Conclusion of the above:

The above texts clearly state that monetary penalties/fines/punishments are not permissible.  That is the view of the Hanafi School.

If penalties are permissible, then what is the issue with all the fines and charges of a conventional bank? Some try to draw a distinction between bank charges and fines charged by schools by saying they are two different entities.  Lions, lionesses and cubs belong to the same animal family despite the names being different.  Whether a penalty is charged in a bank for defaulting or charged in a school for coming late or charged in a school for a child not knowing his lesson, a penalty is a penalty.  A lion is a lion.  The Fuqahā’ have absolutely (مطلقا) said penalties are not permissible.  This is inclusive of all fines.  There is no difference stated between one or the other (عدم القائل بالفصل).

Analysis of Imam Abū Yūsuf’s opinion:

The opinion of Imam Abū Yūsuf rahimahullah as stated above cannot even be considered let alone used as a basis for the following reasons:

1)     It is established through a “قيل”.  The very opinion is questionable in authenticity.

2)     It is not the preferred opinion (muftā bihi) of the Hanafi school.

3)     Since the Hanafi school initiated until now, approximately 1300 years, not one Faqīh has adopted this view.

4)     When Imam Abū Hanīfah and Imam Muhammad rahimahumallah are on one side and Imam Abū Yusuf is on the other side, if there is no mention of tashīh (preference), the opinion of tarafayn (Imam Abū Hanīfah and Imam Muhammad) will be taken and nothing else.

 قال ابن عابدين :” ومتى كان قول أبي يوسف ومحمد موافق قوله ،لا يتعدى عنه إلا فيما مست إليه الضرورة ، وعلم أنه لو كان أبو حنيفة رأى ما رأوا لأفتى به وكذا إذا كان أحدهما معه.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 39 مكتبة البشرى)

5)     The very principles of Iftaa and fiqh prohibit this opinion from even being considered.  The famous maxim is:

المرجوح في مقابلة الراجح كالمعدوم (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 8 مكتبة البشرى)

“The overpowered view ceases to exist in the face of the overpowering view,”

Hence, in reality, the opinion of Imam Abū Yūsuf rahimahullah is non-existent.  It is not even an opinion as it is subdued.

6)     Even if the opinion was ‘valid’, the SULTAN alone has the discretion to charge penalties and fines.  An Islamic institute is not a sultan and nor is the administration in the ruling of a sultan.  They are merely the guardians of waqf property.  There is a clear distinction between the two in the books of fiqh.  A sultan has what is called الولاية العامة and the guardians of waqf property have الولاية الخاصة.


7)     Additionally, if financial penalties were even considered based on the opinion of Imam Abū Yūsuf rahimahullah, the sultan was responsible to give the money back to its rightful owner.  Imagining the mas’alah to be permissible, any party or person who seizes the wealth of another must return the wealth to the rightful owner.

8)     In actual fact, it is not permissible for a Mufti to even give fatwa on the opinion of Imam Abū Yūsuf.  If someone gives fatwa on the view of Imam Abū Yūsuf rahimahullah, it will not be executed or accepted.


 قال ابن عابدين: “وفي فتاوى العلامة قاسم : ليس للمقلد أن يحكم بالضعيف ، لأنه ليس من أهل الترجيح ، فلا يعدل عن الصحيح إلا لقصد غير جميل ، ولو حكم لا ينفذ لأن قضاءه قضاء بغير الحق ، لأن الحق هو الصحيح.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 91 مكتبة البشرى)

9)     The opinion of Imam Abū Yūsuf is akin to an abrogated (mansūkh) āyah or hadīth.


قال ابن عابدين ناقلا عن البحر : “من أن المرجوع عنه لم يبق مذهبا للمجتهد، وحينئذ فيجب طلب القول الذي رجع إليه والعمل به، لأن الأول صار بمنزلة المنسوخ.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 58 مكتبة البشرى)

The above is sufficient to show that financial penalties are not permissible at all in the Hanafī school.


The opinion of the other mathāhib/schools of fiqh with regards to charging disciplinary penalities:

Although the rulings of the other schools of fiqh are of no concern to us as we are Hanafīs, nevertheless, as there is an erroneous tendency nowadays to adopt the opinions of other schools of fiqh, it may be pertinent to mention the other schools of fiqh to close all the doors upon those who falsely claim such charges are permissible.

One cannot use any book to quote the other schools of fiqh.  Every school of fiqh has works which are reliable and unreliable.  In addition, many books fail to give the preferred/mufti bihi (المفتى به) opinion of the school.  Instead, many books state other opinions of the other schools which in reality do not reflect their mathhab at all.  The muftā bihi opinion is the final stance of a particular school on a particular issue.   One of the most authentic works today to quote and refer to the other schools of fiqh is the grand work al-Mawsū῾ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah (الموسوعة الفقهية الكويتية).  It was compiled by numerous ῾Ulamā’ from the different schools of fiqh.  They meticulously penned down the preferred/muftā bihi opinions of their school.

An excerpt of the book is as follows:

  الأَْصْل فِي مَذْهَبِ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ: أَنَّ التَّعْزِيرَ بِأَخْذِ الْمَال غَيْرُ جَائِزٍ، فَأَبُو حَنِيفَةَ وَمُحَمَّدٌ لاَ يُجِيزَانِهِ  ، بَل إِنَّ مُحَمَّدًا لَمْ يَذْكُرْهُ فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ كُتُبِهِ  . أَمَّا أَبُو يُوسُفَ فَقَدْ رُوِيَ عَنْهُ: أَنَّ التَّعْزِيرَ بِأَخْذِ الْمَال مِنَ الْجَانِي جَائِزٌ إِنْ رُئِيَتْ فِيهِ مَصْلَحَةٌ.
وَقَال الشبراملسي: وَلاَ يَجُوزُ عَلَى الْجَدِيدِ بِأَخْذِ الْمَال. يَعْنِي لاَ يَجُوزُ التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَال فِي مَذْهَبِ الشَّافِعِيِّ الْجَدِيدِ ، وَفِي الْمَذْهَبِ الْقَدِيمِ: يَجُوزُ.
أَمَّا فِي مَذْهَبِ مَالِكٍ فِي الْمَشْهُورِ عَنْهُ، فَقَدْ قَال ابْنُ فَرْحُونَ: التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَال قَال بِهِ الْمَالِكِيَّةُ  . وَقَدْ ذَكَرَ مَوَاضِعَ مَخْصُوصَةً يُعَزَّرُ فِيهَا بِالْمَال، وَذَلِكَ فِي قَوْلِهِ: سُئِل مَالِكٌ عَنِ اللَّبَنِ الْمَغْشُوشِ أَيُرَاقُ؟ قَال: لاَ، وَلَكِنْ أَرَى أَنْ يُتَصَدَّقَ بِهِ، إِِذَا كَانَ هُوَ الَّذِي غَشَّهُ. وَقَال فِي الزَّعْفَرَانِ وَالْمِسْكِ الْمَغْشُوشِ مِثْل ذَلِكَ، سَوَاءٌ كَانَ ذَلِكَ قَلِيلاً أَوْ كَثِيرًا، وَخَالَفَهُ ابْنُ الْقَاسِمِ فِي الْكَثِيرِ، وَقَال: يُبَاعُ الْمِسْكُ وَالزَّعْفَرَانُ عَلَى مَا يُغَشُّ بِهِ، وَيَتَصَدَّقُ بِالثَّمَنِ أَدَبًا لِلْغَاشِّ.
وَأَفْتَى ابْنُ الْقَطَّانِ الأَْنْدَلُسِيُّ فِي الْمَلاَحِفِ الرَّدِيئَةِ النَّسْجِ بِأَنْ تُحَرَّقَ. وَأَفْتَى ابْنُ عَتَّابٍ: بِتَقْطِيعِهَا وَالصَّدَقَةِ بِهَا خِرَقًا .
وَعِنْدَ الْحَنَابِلَةِ يَحْرُمُ التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَال أَوْ إِتْلاَفِهِ؛ لأَِنَّ الشَّرْعَ لَمْ يَرِدْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ ذَلِكَ عَمَّنْ يُقْتَدَى بِهِ. (الموسوعة الفقهية الكويتية ج 12 ص 271 دارالسلاسل)

The above texts clearly show that the Hanafi, Shafi῾ī and Hanbalī schools prohibit ‘punishment fines’.  Only the Malikī school of fiqh permit charging monetary penalties in certain instances and conditions as mentioned above.

The Maliki view:

Some Hanafī scholars in order to prove or show leniency in the issue state that the Malikī school permits monetary penalties.

A Hanafī scholar cannot issue a fatwa on the Malikī school in respect to monetary penalties due to the following reasons:

1)     Adopting views of different mathāhib has been condemned by the Fuqahā’.

والمقلد لا يحل لهما الحكم والإفتاء بغير الراجح ، لأنه اتباع للهوى ، وهو حرام إجاعا(شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 8 مكتبة البشرى)

“It is not permissible for a muqallid (follower of a particular school of fiqh) to issue a ruling contrary to the preferred opinion.  This is following one’s desires and that is harām by Ijmā’ (consensus).

 “اعلم أن من يكتفي بأن يكون فتواه أو عمله موافقا لقول أو وجه ويعمل بما شاء من الأقوال والوجوه من غير نظر في الترجيح فقد جهل وخرق الإجماع” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 9 مكتبة البشرى)

“Know, whoever is satisfied that his fatwā or action concurs with any opinion found and he practices on any opinion without looking for the preferred opinion has erred and breached the laws of Ijmā’ (consensus).” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.9 Maktabah al-Bushrā)

2)     Adopting and practicing on the other schools of fiqh is contrary to the practice of all the mainstream Fuqahā’.  Without absolute and dire necessity, a Hanafi cannot issue a fatwa on a Maliki opinion.  The principles of the Maliki school are totally different to the principles of the Hanafi school.

One will not use petrol in a diesel car, simply because the composition of a petrol car cannot bear diesel.  The mechanics are different.  Likewise, the mechanics of one school of fiqh (mathhab) are different to another school.

قال ابن عابدين :”فأما المقلد ، فإنما ولاه ليحكم بمذهب أبي حنيفة ، فلا يملك المخالفة.”  (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 90 مكتبة البشرى)

“A muqallid qādhī  is only given governance to pass judgements in line with the school of Imam Abū Hanīfah.  He doesn’t have the authority to oppose the Hanafī Law.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.90  Maktabah al-Bushrā)

“القاضي المقلد إذا قضى على خلاف مذهبه لا ينفذ.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 91 مكتبة البشرى)

“If a muqallid qādhī passes a law against his school of jurisprudence, it will not be executed.” (Sharh al-Uqūd al-Rasm al-Muftī p.90  Maktabah al-Bushrā)

3)     Only at the time of absolute necessity (ضرورة) can one consider the other schools of fiqh.  This will only be after all resources have been depleted in trying to find a solution within one’s own school of fiqh.

Hakīmul Ummah Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Sahib rahimahullah clearly states this in his treatise ‘al-Hīlah al-Nājizah’.[2]

Al-Hamawi rahimahullah illustrates what a necessity is in his commentary of al-Ashbāh wa al-Nadhā’ir:

فَالضَّرُورَةُ بُلُوغُهُ حَدًّا إنْ لَمْ يَتَنَاوَلْ الْمَمْنُوعَ هَلَكَ إذَا قَارَبَهُ، وَهَذَا يُبِيحُ تَنَاوُلَ الْحَرَامِ.
وَالْحَاجَةُ كَالْجَائِعِ الَّذِي لَوْ لَمْ يَجِدْ مَا يَأْكُلُهُ لَمْ يَهْلِكْ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ يَكُونُ فِي جَهْدٍ وَمَشَقَّةٍ وَهَذَا لَا يُبِيحُ الْحَرَامَ، وَيُبِيحُ الْفِطْرَ فِي الصَّوْمِ.  (غمز عيون المسائل المعروف بشرح الحموى ج 1 ص 227  دار الكتب العلمية)

Al-Dharūrah is in that scenario where if an unlawful item is not consumed, it will lead to the death of a person or close to death.”

Is the charging of monetary penalties upon everyone ans everything such a necessity that without it one will die?

4)     Furthermore, if the Malikī school’s opinion was even considerable, it would be only permissible to use the ruling exactly as they have applied the ruling.[3]  Some Hanafī scholars say that the Malikīs permit charging penalties without any restriction.  They do not even consider the conditions or scenarios stated by the Malikī school.  This is false attribution and accusation.  The well-known authentic work in the Malikī school states:

(وَضَرْبٍ بِسَوْطٍ أَوْ غَيْرِهِ) كَقَضِيبٍ وَدِرَّةٍ وَصَفْعٍ بِالْقَفَا وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِالنَّفْيِ كَالْمُزَوِّرِينَ وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِالْإِخْرَاجِ مِنْ الْحَارَةِ كَأَهْلِ الْفُسُوقِ الْمُضِرِّينَ بِالْجِيرَانِ وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِالتَّصَدُّقِ عَلَيْهِ بِمَا بَاعَ بِهِ مَا غَشَّهُ وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِغَيْرِ ذَلِكَ  (الشرح الكبير من حاشية الدسوقي ج 4 ص 355 دار الفكر)

The famous and authentic commentary  ‘Hāshiyah al-Dasūqī’ further states commenting on the above text:

(قَوْلُهُ: وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِغَيْرِ ذَلِكَ) أَيْ كَإِتْلَافِهِ لِمَا يَمْلِكُهُ كَإِرَاقَةِ اللَّبَنِ عَلَى مَنْ غَشَّهُ حَيْثُ كَانَ يَسِيرًا وَلَا يَجُوزُ التَّعْزِيرُ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ إجْمَاعًا وَمَا رُوِيَ عَنْ الْإِمَامِ أَبِي يُوسُفَ صَاحِبِ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ مِنْ أَنَّهُ جَوَّزَ لِلسُّلْطَانِ التَّعْزِيرَ بِأَخْذِ الْمَالِ فَمَعْنَاهُ كَمَا قَالَ الْبَزَّازِيُّ مِنْ أَئِمَّةِ الْحَنَفِيَّةِ أَنْ يَمْسِكَ الْمَالَ عِنْدَهُ مُدَّةً لِيَنْزَجِرَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدَهُ إلَيْهِ لَا أَنَّهُ يَأْخُذُهُ لِنَفْسِهِ أَوْ لِبَيْتِ الْمَالِ كَمَا يَتَوَهَّمُهُ الظَّلَمَةُ إذْ لَا يَجُوزُ أَخْذُ مَالِ مُسْلِمٍ بِغَيْرِ سَبَبٍ شَرْعِيٍّ أَيْ كَشِرَاءٍ أَوْ هِبَةٍ (حاشية الدسوقي ج 4 ص 355 دار الفكر)

We learn the following:

a)     al-Mawsū’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaituyyah clearly states that only in specific scenarios is a monetary penalty permissible.  When researching the Malikī school, specific scenarios are mentioned.  Can a Hanafī scholar then issue a fatwa saying the Malikī school permit it without explaining what they permit? Isn’t that misrepresentation?

b)    Can penalties be used across the board when there is a specific scenario mentioned for its use?

c)     The book ‘Sharh al-Kabīr’ of the Malikis clearly states the types of punishments (التعزير) which can be meted out.  ‘Hāshiyah al-Dasūqī’ discusses what is meant by monetary penalties in the Malikī school by saying it is to take the commodity of one who deceives people.  An example is given of spilling the milk of a person selling with deception is quoted.  The author further states absolute (مطلق) monetary fines and penalties are impermissible by Ijmā (consensus).  He states only Imam Abū Yūsuf rahimahullah permitted it as a temporary punishment with the condition that the money is returned to its rightful owner.

5)     It is not permissible to apply analogical reasoning (qiyās) on a mas’alah of another mathhab and generate a new mas’alah.[4]  Therefore, one cannot apply the ruling of penalties for those deceiving when selling milk on school children not knowing their lesson.

Ascribing anything else to the Maliki school is misrepresentation of an authentic school of fiqh.

The above is sufficient to prove that the Malikī school is contrary to what some scholars state.


An argument raised by those who say penalties are permissible:

1)     It is claimed that charging penalties is one of the most effective ways to discipline.

The effectiveness of an action is not a measure to determine what is permissible and impermissible.  Stealing is an effective way to earn quick money.  Investing in bonds is an effective way to increase one’s capital.  Monopolising and dominating market forces are an effective way to gain supremacy in the markets.  Are any of these actions permissible?

We do not apply our feeble logic to reach Shar’i conclusions.

In addition, one act may deem to be effective in one angle, but when that action is monitored from different angles and dimensions, it can be detrimental.  A simple example of this is the extreme and instant methods of weight loss.  Some schemes provide immediate results, yet one is affected in multiple ways which only surfaces later.


The view of Mufti Khalid Saifullah and Mufti Taqi Uthmani Daamat Barakatuhum:

Some people claim erroneously that Mufti Khalid Saifullah and Mufti Taqī ῾Uthmānī have issued fatwas of the permissibility of charging penalties.

This is a fallacy.  It is very easy to quote a Mufti.  Fiqh is based on references.  How can such speech be accepted without providing references? No speech is accepted unless it is backed by authentic proofs.

In defence of the two respected Muftis, I present the following:

1)     We could not locate Mufti Khalid Saifullah stating anywhere that taking monetary penalties is permissible.  Not in his Kitābul Fatāwā neither in his Jadīd Fiqhī Masā’il.  In his Qāmūs al-Fiqh, he states that permission should be given.  Although he does not say it is permissible.

2)     Despite having a short treatise on monetary penalties in his Jadīd Fiqhī Masā’il, he does not say anywhere at all that monetary fines are permissible.

3)     Mufti Khālid Saifullah Daamat barakatuhum states in Jadīd Fiqhī Masā’il that a few people say Imam Malik rahimahullah permitted charging penalties. This, as explained above, is a false accusation and a misrepresentation of the Malikī school.  In fact, he takes this opinion from the book Fiqh al-Sunnah by Sayyid Sābiq who passed away approximately 13 years ago.  He was an Azharī who did not follow any mathhab in particular.  The question is, how can one quote the Malikī school from a book written by one who has no regard for the mathāhib? It is like quoting the Mālikī opinion from a Hanafī work like al-Hidāyah.


4)     Mufti Khalid Saifullah states the following:


He does not say it is permissible.

5)     Whatever is said in Jadīd Fiqhī Masā’il cannot be used to give fatwā if it is contrary to the mathhab.  Jadīd Fiqhī Masā’il are the research papers of Mufti Khalid Saifullah.  It is collection of his thoughts and presentations on contemporary issues.  He is bound to propose new ideas and pen rare thoughts.  That’s what such a book is for.  It is not his Fatwā book.  His Fatwā book is Kitāb al-Fatāwā.  Therefore to use this as a source to even support the view is irrational.

He further states in Qāmūs al-Fiqh:
















6)     Even if he said it was permissible, his opinion would have no weight or standing in the Hanafī school.

والمقلد لا يحل لهما الحكم والإفتاء بغير الراجح ، لأنه اتباع للهوى ، وهو حرام إجاعا(شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 8 مكتبة البشرى)

7)     Whatever Mufti Khalid Saifullah Daamat Barakatuhum states as possible evidences to say that monetary penalties should be permissible, didn’t the rest of the galaxy of Fuqahā’ see these evidences? Despite seeing all the evidences, all the Fuqahā’ still said monetary penalties are impermissible.  Therefore, do the quoted evidences even result to anything intangible let alone tangible?

8)     Majority of the texts quoted by Mufti Khalid Saifullah Sahib have been classed as abrogated by the Fuqahā’ and Muhadithūn.  So how can one base his research on abrogated sources?[5]

9)     There are other verses of the Qur’ān and ahādith which clearly contradict what is stated.  There is no mention of any type of reconciliation.

10)In the end of  Jadīd Fiqhī Masā’il he mentions an opinion stated in Khulāsah al-Fatāwā as follows:

سَمِعت من ثِقَة أَن التَّعْزِير بِأخذ المَال إِن رأى القَاضِي أَو الْوَلِيّ جَازَ وَمن جملَة ذَلِك رجل لَا يحضر الْجَمَاعَة يجوز تعزيره بِأخذ المَال (خلاصة الفتاوى ج 4 ص 444 مكتبة رشيدية) 

a)     Firstly, this opinion is against the muftā bihi of the mathhab and therefore holds no weight.

b)    This is from the solitary opinions of the author as it contradicts the whole Hanafī school. Therefore it is not even taken into consideration.

إن القاضي المقلد لا يجوز له أن يحكم إلا بما هو ظاهر الرواية لا بالرواية الشاذة إلا أن ينصوا على أن الفتوى عليها” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 18 مكتبة البشرى)

c)     It is not even permissible to practice upon this opinion.

“قال الكمال بن الهمام : لا يعمل بأبحاث شيخنا التي تخالف المذهب”  (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 35 مكتبة البشرى)

Furthermore, Mufti Khalid Saifullah daamat barakatuhum in his Jadeed Fiqhi Masā’il does not anywhere say it is permissible.  Let alone the specific mas’alah in reference, he does not even mention penalties as a whole to be permissible.  All he states are Qur’ān verses and ahādith.  Likewise, in his Qamūs al-Fiqh, he does not permit financial penalties, instead he says he is inclined to the view of saying its permissible even that would be in the context of a Judge and not any other admininstration.

d)    Even if we were to adopt this text and use it, it is confined to a Qādhī or a leader of the state (الولي).  A Muftī in this scenario will not take the place of a Qādhī.  There is difference between a Muftī and a Qādhī.  A Muftī in his capacity can only narrate the law and a Qādhī has the capacity to enforce the law.

قال ابن عابدين: “قال في أصول الأقضية: ولا فرق بين المفتي والحاكم إلا أن المفتي مخبر بالحكم والقاضي ملزم به.” (شرح عقود رسم المفتي ص 9 مكتبة البشرى)

e)     The example mentioned in the text of Khulāsah al-Fatāwā is of a person not performing salāh in congregation.  According to this solitary text, it is permissible to levy a charge on him.  However, this is from the rights of Allah.  How can one draw an analogy upon a fine being levied for breaching the right of Allah for the rights of people?

f)      Whose opinion is this? All it says is ثقة ?

This is sufficient to show that Mufti Khalid Saifullah does not state that monetary penalties are permissible and neither does anything he state holds any weight to show the permissibility of charging monetary penalties.

The opinion of Mufti Taqī ῾Uthmānī Hafizahullah:

Shaykh Muftī Taqī ῾Uthmānī Hafizahullah discusses the issue of ‘penalty of default’ in his world renowned book Introduction to Islamic Finance under Murabahah financing.

A dilemma arises for the Islamic Banks if a client defaults.  In interest-based loans, the amount of loan keeps on increasing according to the period of default. But in Murabahah financing, once the price is fixed, it cannot be increased.

He states:

“In order to solve this problem, some contemporary scholars have suggested that the dishonest clients who default in payment deliberately should be made liable to pay compensation to the Islamic bank for the loss it may have suffered on account of default. They suggest that the amount of this compensation may be equal to the profit given by that bank to its depositors during the period of default.” (Introduction to Islamic Finance p.92)

He then states:

“This concept of compensation, however, is not accepted by the majority of the present day scholars. (including the author). It is the considered opinion of such scholars that this suggestion neither conforms to the principles of Shariah nor is it able to solve the problem of default.” (Introduction to Islamic Finance p.92)

He further states:

Another point is worth attention. The one who defaults in payment of debt is, at the most, like a thief or a usurper. But the study of the rules prescribed for theft and usurpation would show that a thief has been subjected to very severe punishment of amputating his hands, but he was never asked to pay an additional mount to compensate the victim of theft. Similarly, if a person has usurped the money of another person, he may be punished by way of ta‘zir, but no Muslim jurist has ever imposed on him a financial penalty to compensate the owner.

Imam al-Shafi’i is of the view that if someone usurps the land of another person, he will have to pay the rent of the land according to the market rate. But if he has usurped money, he will return the equal amount of money and not more.

All these rules go a long way to prove that the opportunity cost of money is never recognized by the Islamic Shari‘ah, because, as explained above, money has no definite return, nor any intrinsic utility.

On the basis of what is stated above, the idea of compensation to be charged from a defaulter is not approved by most of the contemporary scholars. The question was thoroughly discussed in the annual session of Islamic Fiqh Academy, Jeddah, and it was resolved that no such compensation is allowed in Shariah. (Introduction to Islamic Finance p.95)

 Instead, Muftī Taqī ῾Uthmānī hafizahullah suggests a binding promise for one to donate to a charity fund if one defaults.

Hadhrat Mufti Taqī Sahib himself states:

“This concept of compensation, however, is not accepted by the majority of the present day scholars (including the author).”

The word compensation is used but in essence it is a monetary fine for defaulting as the title reads: ‘penalty of default’.

1)     Muftī Taqī Sahib suggests a binding promise from the client, not a monetary fine from the bank.  The difference between the two is like the difference between night and day.  The binding promise is from the client.  A penalty of default is from the side of the bank.

Although the concept of a binding promise is problematic, we will not discuss it here as it is not the purpose of this treatise.

Therefore, the above is sufficient to demonstrate that Muftī Taqī ῾Uthmānī Hafizahullah is not of the opinion that monetary fines are permissible.

The Fatāwā of the akābir muftiyān:

Below is a list of all the late Muftiyān from the Indian and Pakisitani sub continent who explicitly stated that monetary fines are impermissible:

1)     Imdād al-Ahkām volume 4 page 127/129 Maktabah Dār al-Ulūm Karachi












2)     Ahsan al-Fatāwā volume 5 page 541-567 HM Saeed





















3)     Fatāwā Haqqāniyyah volume 5 page 172 Maktabah Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed




















4)     Imdād al-Fatāwā by Hakīmul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahimahullah volume 2 page 529 Maktabah Dār al-Ulūm Karachi




5)     Fatāwā Mahmūdiyyah volume 14 page 134-149 Idārah al-Fārūq









































6)     Mahmūd al-Fatāwā volume 4 page 595 Maktabah Anwar by Hadhrat Mufti Ahmed Khanpuri Sahib Daamat Barakatuhum:


Penalties disguised in other names:

Nowadays there are many fancy terms which are being used to disguise the term penalty.  The word ‘fee’ is often used.  Many a time, the word fee has a prefix like ‘withdrawal’ fee, like the case of investing in Certificates of Deposits.

When one party is being penalised for a wrongdoing, then no matter what you call it, the substance clearly shows it is a penalty.  This is common sense.

The Fiqhi maxim is clear on this:

العبرة في العقود للمقاصد والمعاني ، لا للألفاظ والمباني (الفروع الندية ص 23 دار المصطفى)

“Consideration in transactions is for the composition of the transaction, not the words taken in formulating the transaction.”


In Iftaa we are trained to conduct a test analysis.  For example, if a school is charging a fee for a forced service, we have to test this according to the laws of Ijārah.  Will the fee stand the test or not? A service fee is an Ijārah (employment agreement).   Both parties, the ajīr (employee), in this case the school and the musta’jir (employer), in this case, the student, will both have to agree to the transaction.  The key word is mutual agreement or تراضي.  If there is no تراضي there can be no Ijārah.  A mutually agreed contract is when each party has a right to proceed or decline.  Will the administration be happy if they issue a service and the student declines? Will he still have to pay the fee? Surely, the school will not negotiate this with the student as everyone knows the student will decline.  Therefore, this is nothing but a penalty disguised by the term of a service fee.


It is clear now that monetary penalties are not permissible.    In addition, neither Mufti Khalid Saifullah nor Mufti Taqī ῾Uthmānī Sahib state what was claimed to be stated.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faraz al-Mahmudi


Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1]  الأشباه والنظائر ج 1 ص 395

[2]   الحيلة الناجزة ص 10 دار الإشاعت

[3]  الحيلة الناجزة ص 10 دار الإشاعت

[4] Al-Hīlah al-Nājizah page 37 Dār al-Ishā’at

[5]  أحسن الفتاوى ج 5 ص 552 أيج أيم سعيد

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