I have friends who claim to know people in the Traffic Department. Whenever they get a traffic ticket, they go to their friends and have the charges cleared from their records. They do not pay the traffic fines. What does Islam say about this behavior?
Sheikh Sulaymân al-Tuwayjirî
Muslims must know that traffic codes and laws of a similar kind are put in place by government authorities for the general welfare of the population. They are there to protect the people’s lives and property and to prevent accidents. It is obligatory to comply with such laws that seek to safeguard human life and welfare.
Obeying those laws saves human life, which is one of the essential objectives of Islam.
As for those people who go to people they know in the traffic department to have their records cleared and to avoid paying fines, we say that the matter depends on what is actually going on.
Traffic fines are discretionary punishments (ta`zîr) and as such they are put in place at the discretion of the authorities to enforce compliance with the law. Therefore, the imposition of those punishments is at the discretion of the state.
If the person who waives the charges or fines is an official who is legally empowered to do so and acts within the dictates of the law, then it is permissible for that official to do so and for the one who is pardoned to benefit from the pardon.
If the erasure of charges or the waiver of fees is carried out by an employee of the Traffic Department who is not legally authorized to do so under the circumstances, then that employee is sinning. The traffic violator who seeks the help of that employee is an accessory to the employee’s crime and shares in the sin.
When people do not take traffic laws seriously, they become emboldened to engage in reckless driving. If a person knows he can have his traffic fines dismissed by a “friend” in the Traffic Department, he is more likely to break the law. This attitude can result in serious injuries and fatalities on the road.
A Muslim must fear Allah. If he is a driver, he must fear Allah and drive safely and conscientiously, obeying the laws that help in protecting the lives of others. If he is an official in the Traffic Department, he must fear Allah and carry out his duties with honesty and integrity.
Everyone is accountable for what comes under his power and authority.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital