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Search Fatawaa

Subject : All Forms of Water Theft are Forbidden

Fatwa Number : 3221

Date : 28-08-2016

Classified : Miscellaneous Fatwas

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia regarding water theft?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Conserving water is a legal obligation and a collective responsibility since our country has insufficient water resources, and when the Messenger of Allah saw a man performing ablution, he said: 'Do not be extravagant, do not be extravagant (in using water).'" {Ibn Majah}.

Islam has forbidden all forms of transgression against water resources such as stealing water or breaking down water meters and the like because water companies are either owned by the public or the private sector.

Pumping water to homes costs water companies considerable amounts of money, so benefitting from this water should be through lawful means; therefore, resorting to unlawful means is an act of transgression and theft which is a major sin since the Prophet (PBUH) said: " May Allah curse the thief who steals an egg for which his hand is cut off, or steals a rope for which his hand is to be cut off.' Agreed upon." {Bukhari}. He also said: " …………….whereas sinful conduct is that which turns in your heart (making you feel uncomfortable) and you dislike that it would be disclosed to other people.” { Related by Muslim}.

There isn`t an iota of doubt that persons who commit this sinful conduct dislike that it would be disclosed to other people because it is a sin and a transgression. Moreover, stealing water is eating up people`s property unjustly, and Allah, The Almighty, says in this regard: " And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities".{Al-Baqarah/188}.

As regards the hadith: " Muslims have common share in three (things). grass, water and fire," it doesn`t legalize the aforementioned acts of transgression because this hadith refers to the water which naturally exists at seas and rivers ;whereas, pumping water to homes, programming its distribution, testing it, bringing it up from underground, and conserving it require massive costs; therefore, it is forbidden to benefit from it without paying for it.

In addition, one who committed this act is sinful and deserves punishment, so he should repent and pay for all the cubic meters that he has stolen over the years because he has been acting unfaithfully. And Allah knows best.



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