Question # 515: Assalam’u’Alaikum! My name is ______ and I work in an Audit Firm. For my employer, I Audit different clients, so I travel on daily basis. The client, to which I am allocated nowadays, is around 3.1 to 3.4 kilometers. Audit firm allows me a Taxi from my Residence to my Audit Client. However, I choose to walk from my residence to client and still charge the minimum expense to firm. Am I allowed to charge Taxi fare without spending it? Please advise, so I could avoid Haram income. Your earliest response will be really appreciated. Jazak’ALLAH
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: If your employer (Audit Firm) reimburses you for the money you spent during your travel and requires you to report (actual travel expenses), then it is not permissible for you to charge the taxi fare while you did not use the service. Conversely, if your employer gives you a fixed reimbursement for your travel expenses (similar to per diem) regardless of how much you actually spent, then it is permissible for you to take the whole reimbursement even if you do not use the taxi service. However, it is better to refer to the rules of your company and the terms of your contract in this regard.
Long Answer: If your employer (Audit Firm) reimburses you for the money you spent during your travel and requires you to report (actual travel expense) or asks you to determine the expenses, then it is not permissible for you to ask for more than what you actually spent, and you should not [charge the taxi fare] while you did not [use the service]. [In fact, in the case, you are an agent who is trusted with the company’s money and is required to use it for the given purpose]… Allah (swt) forbade this as He (swt) says in the Qur’an: “And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly.” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:188) Also, Allah (swt) Says in the Qur’an: “O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:1)
On the other hand, if your employer gives you a fixed reimbursement for your travel expenses regardless of how much you actually spent [and does not ask you to provide bills or proof of expense], then it is permissible for you to take the whole reimbursement even if you [do not use the taxi service. The classic example of this would be receiving per diem.]
However, it is better to refer to the rules of your company and the terms of your contract with your employer [(if it specifically refers to reimbursement of expenses)] because the contract serves as the law of the contracting parties.
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:
- Islamweb.net, a website belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar; and
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.