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Contractor paying bribe to secure contract

Published: 24/08/2011 11:08:00 AM GMT
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The business environment in my country is very corrupt. If a professional or a businessperson wants to secure a contract to supply any product or service to an institution, company, or government parastatals, he will likely be asked by an official or representative of that establishment to give him a share of the profit or a bribe for being awarded the contract. If the person seeking the contract refuses to pay the bribe, he will not win the contract even if he is qualified to do the job. What does a Muslim do if he is required by such officials to pay a bribe?

Answered by

Sheikh Sâmî al-Suwaylim, member of the Islamic Advisory Board of al-Rajhi Bank

If the contractor is deserving of being awarded the contract and is fully capable of carrying out the project in the manner desired and the only thing preventing the contractor from being rewarded the contract is the official demanding money – in that case there is no problem – Allah willing – with the contractor paying this money to the official.

This is because in this case the award is truly the contractor’s right, and it is permissible for a Muslim to spend money in pursuit of securing his legitimate right.

The money, however, is unlawful for the official who takes it, since it is bribery and unlawful seizure of another’s wealth. In this case, the ruling for the one who pays the bribe is different than the ruling for the one who receives it. The reason for the difference is that the one paying it is seeking to secure his legitimate rights while the one who receives it is taking the money from him wrongfully.

If the contractor is not qualified to carry out the project and does not deserve to be awarded the contract, and the only way that contractor can secure the contract is to pay a bribe, then both parties to the bribe will be sinful.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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