Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
Whenever a person takes a taxi from Sharjah to Dubai, there is a 20 Dirham toll that the taxi company charges the customer (in addition to whatever the journey itself costs).
To avoid this charge, customers often take a taxi to the border of Sharjah & Dubai, where they stop right at the border, and then walk into Dubai, and take a Dubai taxi to continue their journey.
Now a few years ago, there were some journeys I took (from Sharjah to Dubai) where sometimes the driver himself suggested that he would take me to Dubai without charging the 20 Dirham toll (probably so that I don’t stop at the border and then continue my journey in a Dubai cab). He would simply not plug the charge into the meter. Other times I suggested to the taxi driver to take me to Dubai without charging the 20 Dirham toll.
The issue is that this money belonged to the taxi companies, and not to the driver or me. The driver was merely an employee of the company and I was their customer. So it is a form of stealing & deception because the taxi company did not waive the 20 dirham toll in any of those instances.
What I should do about this money?
Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Thank you’re your questions.
The first thing to do is to clarify whether the non-charging of the toll by the taxi driver is against company policy. You can do this by either asking the company directly, or asking a good amount of taxi drivers of the same company until you feel confident what the reliable answer is.
If the company has no issues with it, then there is nothing to be paid back.
If, however, it is not something the company permit and results in a loss of revenue for them (as opposed to loss of the revenue to the taxi driver alone, in which case it is up to him), then what seems apparent is that although the onus mainly falls on the drivers in those instances that they took it upon themselves to not charge the 20 dirham toll, you however, were complicit in all scenarios, and could have objected or not suggested it.
For this reason, you should pay the money back yourself, as it is unlikely the taxi drivers will, whom you probably won’t ever see again to settle it. Whether the blame falls on both of you or one of you, in all or some of the occasions, it would be better for you to have peace of mind and free yourself from the burden of possible debt and sin, then saving yourself some money, even if it amounts to a few hundreds. It really isn’t worth it.
Also, make the intention that if the sin was on the taxi drivers as well, then you are lifting the burden of another person as well.
If the conduct was not permitted by the company, you may do the following:
1. Contact the taxi company directly, and explain the issue, estimating how many times this happened. Ask them whether you must pay them back or would they consider forgiving you and waver the owed money. If they explicitly waiver it, you have nothing to pay back.
2. If you cannot resolve the situation via the taxi company, then give the amount in charity on behalf of the company.
I wish you all the best.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.