Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: Assalam aleykum
An annual CME (continuing medical education) allowance is given to the physicians and residents at various hospitals for the amount around $500-$3000. If they don’t use this money then they lose it. What some people do is that they buy different medical books and then show the receipts and get their reimbursement money. And then return the books.
In this situation, is that money considered unlawful or is it lawful?
Answer: assalamu alaykum
If these allowances are used towards what the funding policy deems allowable expenditures, it would be valid to buy such products and then return them.
However, if the products that are being bought are among allowable expenditures but an individual is only purchasing them to return them in order to get some money without actually using these items, this would minimally be deemed an ethical breach of a trust as these funds were allotted to residents to actually help them with their CME needs/requirements.
Essentially, it is akin to engaging in a deceptive stratagem. Unless this is something these funding bodies customarily recognize and accept, it would be disliked and contrary to our religious values to engage in such stratagems merely for money.
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.