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Is it Haram to lie about your income to the government

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Hi, just a brief background of to why Im asking this, I recently opened up my own hair dressing business. I earn alot which means I have to pay more taxes. However because I accept cash payments would it be haram to not report my full income to the government? In my heart Id rather use that money that we pay to the government to  to help out people like my family, people on the streets sometimes, but Im very paranoid and scared it might be a be sin to not fully report it to the government. The thing is I will still report part of my income to the government but not all of it. 

I am living in australia btw please let me know your advice or what you think about this.

Thank you!

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Assalamualaikum. I think this is a very important question and while the brother has provided very good and just reference, i still find myself in a moral dilemma.

Of course with any lie, you risk getting caught and in trouble, which is the natural consequence of lying. However, when we look at what's done with our taxes by the different governments, it also makes me in fear of being accountable for what's happening with my taxes and since I'm not able to leave where I live and move to an Islamic country, I'm practically stuck here and having to make decisions based on this situation.

My dilemma also includes the fact that my mother has dementia, and my father is not doing well health-wise and will eventually die. So what am I supposed to do after he dies when she asks me every 5 minutes where is he at?? Because she already does this while he's alive and at a doctor's visit. So am I supposed to hold myself to some moral code of never lying and keep telling her over and over sorry, your husband's dead. Sorry, your husband's dead, sorry, your husband's dead and each time she dies a little bit inside from getting the news again as if it has just happened? Sorry, but I'm going to be lying to some extent in this circumstance when it arises. And if I have to pay the consequences in jahannnam or barazakh or wherever, then that's what I'll have to deal with because I'm not going to put somebody through that kind of torture. Its inhumane and unethical.

I realize that my situation that I just listed is not the same as yours, however, sometimes lying, as much as we want it to be a black and white thing, is not. There is always an exception to every case as is evidenced from eating pork if we're starving or stealing an apple.

Please don't take what I'm saying as license to go off and lie about whatever you want as long as you can come up with a justification for it, cuz that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that it's not always black and white.

As far as your situation is concerned, I think anywhere you look, the technical answer is going to be it's not permissible. No one wants to be responsible for giving someone else permission to lie. Besides that, I'm not sure of the baraka that would be achieved through donating money that "technically belongs to the govt"..Just know that if i was in your situation, id have the same exact issue.

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2 hours ago, Mahdavist said:

Lying is a greater sin:

https://www.al-islam.org/greater-sins-volume-2-sayyid-abdul-husayn-dastghaib-shirazi/seventeenth-greater-sin-lying

On top of lying you risk to bring your religion into disrepute by doing such a thing. 

lying about what and to whom?
I believe we sometimes take things out of context.

And as the member above mentioned, if taxes are actually being used to fund war crimes, would we not be held responsible for those war crimes? , isn't lying about your taxes better? OP is also from Australia, a nation infamous for committing genocide and other heinous crimes. Wouldn't paying taxes to an illegimate government be more haram?

So, what harm does her lying about her salary actually cause? I only see personal harm, OP could face legal action for tax evasion, income fraud, etc.

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3 hours ago, elissa said:

In my heart Id rather use that money that we pay to the government to  to help out people like my family, people on the streets sometimes, but Im very paranoid and scared it might be a be sin to not fully report it to the government

I am living in australia btw please let me know your advice or what you think about this.

Thank you!

As with everything in Islam,  and why we need the AhlulBayt to provide context and why they are one of the two weighty things,  your niyaah is the first thing.

Is your niyah to defraud or is it to not be part of zulm,   of a possibly Zalim oppressor.

Are there ways you can apply for further tax deductions, like being a woman or minority or small business,  or write off more expenses,  and decrease your tax burden. I would first extensively research all fully legitimate options,  talk to other similar cash based businesses and maximize deductions, and then follow advice based on your conscience and possibly approach your local marjae rep, and direct the tax related and feeling of possibly Siding  with a Zalim and oppressor and see which is considered more important,  holding back cash based taxes or contributing to a Yazeedi system.

Not everything is black and white,  and that's the beauty of our AhlulBayt derived Islam with our marjae based guidance mechanisms. 

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2 hours ago, EiE said:

lying about what and to whom?
I believe we sometimes take things out of context.

And as the member above mentioned, if taxes are actually being used to fund war crimes, would we not be held responsible for those war crimes? , isn't lying about your taxes better? OP is also from Australia, a nation infamous for committing genocide and other heinous crimes. Wouldn't paying taxes to an illegimate government be more haram?

So, what harm does her lying about her salary actually cause? I only see personal harm, OP could face legal action for tax evasion, income fraud, etc.

thats excatly where my thought is at. Majority of our tax money especially in a white western country they got to war and other haram things like alcohol, music festivals not really sure but many things. I would rather pay half tax and keep the other half to provide for the poor because we live in a selfish world where the government loves to help the people that are well off and forget the ones in need (most of the time) i completely agree with your statement because its true. its such an argumentative topic which makes it hard but only the niyah matters. Also its my hard work but yea being employed is not free I guess.And my purpose for this is not because Im selfish and want all the money to myself, I would rather support my family who struggle financially and people on the streets, sadakah too. 
 

I also heard that it’s permissible to lie under certain circumstances. But im not sure if this circumstance is included.

 

thank you for all your responses tho i really appreciate your opinions

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3 hours ago, PureExistence1 said:

Assalamualaikum. I think this is a very important question and while the brother has provided very good and just reference, i still find myself in a moral dilemma.

Of course with any lie, you risk getting caught and in trouble, which is the natural consequence of lying. However, when we look at what's done with our taxes by the different governments, it also makes me in fear of being accountable for what's happening with my taxes and since I'm not able to leave where I live and move to an Islamic country, I'm practically stuck here and having to make decisions based on this situation.

My dilemma also includes the fact that my mother has dementia, and my father is not doing well health-wise and will eventually die. So what am I supposed to do after he dies when she asks me every 5 minutes where is he at?? Because she already does this while he's alive and at a doctor's visit. So am I supposed to hold myself to some moral code of never lying and keep telling her over and over sorry, your husband's dead. Sorry, your husband's dead, sorry, your husband's dead and each time she dies a little bit inside from getting the news again as if it has just happened? Sorry, but I'm going to be lying to some extent in this circumstance when it arises. And if I have to pay the consequences in jahannnam or barazakh or wherever, then that's what I'll have to deal with because I'm not going to put somebody through that kind of torture. Its inhumane and unethical.

I realize that my situation that I just listed is not the same as yours, however, sometimes lying, as much as we want it to be a black and white thing, is not. There is always an exception to every case as is evidenced from eating pork if we're starving or stealing an apple.

Please don't take what I'm saying as license to go off and lie about whatever you want as long as you can come up with a justification for it, cuz that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that it's not always black and white.

As far as your situation is concerned, I think anywhere you look, the technical answer is going to be it's not permissible. No one wants to be responsible for giving someone else permission to lie. Besides that, I'm not sure of the baraka that would be achieved through donating money that "technically belongs to the govt"..Just know that if i was in your situation, id have the same exact issue.

 

 

Thank you for sharing your situation. I heard that there are times where it’s permissible to lie and I hope it falls under your situation because you dont want to cause harm to your mother by telling her the truth, that your father is not in a good state.You never know maybe youre saving her, maybe the truth would kill her like a heart attack she might get.

maybe the best way to tell your mum is inshallah he will live long and becomes healthy rather than saying he is not gona die. that way you wouldnt be lying becuz we truly can’t decide when we will die whether we are ill or not because only allah knows.

I believe allah is merciful and your intention is clearly pure, and he wont hold you accountable for that inshallah

 

may allah forgive us all.

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7 hours ago, PureExistence1 said:

My dilemma also includes the fact that my mother has dementia, and my father is not doing well health-wise and will eventually die. So what am I supposed to do after he dies when she asks me every 5 minutes where is he at?? Because she already does this while he's alive and at a doctor's visit. So am I supposed to hold myself to some moral code of never lying and keep telling her over and over sorry, your husband's dead. Sorry, your husband's dead, sorry, your husband's dead and each time she dies a little bit inside from getting the news again as if it has just happened? Sorry, but I'm going to be lying to some extent in this circumstance when it arises. And if I have to pay the consequences in jahannnam or barazakh or wherever, then that's what I'll have to deal with because I'm not going to put somebody through that kind of torture. Its inhumane and unethical.

You should talk to some sort of dementia specialist or counsellor who helps give guidance about best practices to caregivers. They’ll give you guidance on how to handle situations in a way that is best for what your mother needs. Which sometimes will probably involve telling her what she wants to hear or going along with her delusions sometimes. And most scholars who understand dementia will tell you that’s fine. 

Islam is not so rigid as you’re maybe thinking of it here. The rules are for making people’s lives better. Islam recognizes that sometimes telling the full truth actually does harm, and so there are exceptions for those types of circumstances. Examples are if the truth will make you or other innocent people die or harm your nation, or white lies to make peace between people, stuff like that. Taqiyyah is a classic example of lying that is not sinful. 

There are some standard exemptions that are talked about in discussions on this topic. 

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For the people claiming that tax fraud is acceptable in an unislamic system keep the following in mind:

1. The ulama have emphasized that it is wajib to respect the law of the land you live in

2. If the law is forcing you towards haram, you cannot live there as a Muslim

3. The early Shia and Aimmah lived under tyrannical regimes yet we don't seem to have reports suggesting that they withheld taxes (eg zakat)

4. Lying and deception is clearly forbidden in the Quran and authentic narrations. The exceptions are specifically listed (eg reconciling two Muslims etc) 

5. For those who want to spend money in the way of Allah, you must do it from your own money rather than the money you owe to the government,  otherwise the money you are sending to charity would in this case be illegitimate money as it wasn't supposed to be yours to begin with

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Mahdavist said:

For the people claiming that tax fraud is acceptable in an unislamic system keep the following in mind:

1. The ulama have emphasized that it is wajib to respect the law of the land you live in

2. If the law is forcing you towards haram, you cannot live there as a Muslim

3. The early Shia and Aimmah lived under tyrannical regimes yet we don't seem to have reports suggesting that they withheld taxes (eg zakat)

4. Lying and deception is clearly forbidden in the Quran and authentic narrations. The exceptions are specifically listed (eg reconciling two Muslims etc) 

5. For those who want to spend money in the way of Allah, you must do it from your own money rather than the money you owe to the government,  otherwise the money you are sending to charity would in this case be illegitimate money as it wasn't supposed to be yours to begin with

 

1. Ayatollah Sistani and other Marjae have made very clear cheating or lying on taxes Is not allowed, agree 100%.

2. You are not being reasonable or rational in 2nd point, bro.

Migrating to a country which doesn't use money for haram,  where is that Islamic Utopia,  I will move tomorrow.

Migration while recommended and sunnah is not  always possible due to elderly parents,  or children in specialized schools, or other familial obligations which are part of their Huqooq.

3. You have historical evidence that shias under a Zalimeen tyrannical govt ...contributed their Islamic tax obligations to such authorities....I would be very interested in seeing that documentation.

4. Lying and deception with Zalimeen is seen in multiple episodes in select circumstances,  I agree OP's situation may not apply.

5. As I have emphasized,  use legitimate tax deductions and tax avoidance vehicles. Guess what, the majority of the wealthy in Western countries pay little to no taxes, because their accountants and tax attorneys ensure that legally they are covered . Start a charity and get massive tax deductions,  as a female or minority or small business owner maximize deductions, put some of your profits to a charity and avoid taxes...there are hundreds of tax avoidance statutes in every westernized and even Eastern countries now.

 

https://www.al-islam.org/greater-sins-volume-2-sayyid-abdul-husayn-dastghaib-shirazi/seventeenth-greater-sin-lying

I have the two volume book at home and read it, Ayatollah Dastaghaib Shiraz interpretation is so black and white,  that I would venture to say that almost everyone on this board has committed one of the greater sins, I know I am guilty , and have asked for forgiveness. 

But I am curious as Isa said, who is guiltless may throw the first stone, @Mahdavist,  do you follow every rule in that book and never violate any of the tenets.?

You might and likely do follow everything , and you are a much more muttaqie brother than sinners like myself. I know I have to continually do astaghfar and Tauba and try not to repeat my many mistakes, I  have fear and hope in Allah's punishments and Rahma respectively.

The Musa and Khidr story of the Quran, the Hazrat Lut Story, shows us that circumstances are important,  Islam allows for non Manichean situational ethics and morality.

I think we make our religion so difficult and rigid that we don't allow for shades of gray...that's a failing in my limited educational opinion. Allah is much more merciful and forgiving than we acknowledge,  and expect everyone to act like a mujtahid and be perfect. In fact to lose hope in his mercy is a form of  shirk. 

I am not encouraging deception and lying, but think of niyah and conscience and Aakhiraa in making decisions. Circumstances are not always under our control and Allah judges based on niyah first and actions after. We can't always change our circumstances easily and have to make Judgements and be willing to accept punishment for our principles. 

In every western country there are people who are conscience objectors to war, zulm, oppression, and cruelty and they legally justify their actions, an these precedents are in the courts of of every western country. 

The Charter of Human Rights  has express provisions for such situations and as UN Members, sometimes those laws prevail over national laws,  depending on your country.

 

Edited by Hasani Samnani
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7 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

2. You are not being reasonable or rational in 2nd point, bro.

I am simply copy pasting what you will find in the risalah al amaliyyah of a jurist. It isn't something I came up with on my own.

8 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

3. You have historical evidence that shias under a Zalimeen tyrannical govt ...contributed their Islamic tax obligations to such authorities....I would be very interested in seeing that documentation.

The collection of zakat was a standard practice under the various caliphates. It was the norm and the onus to prove the exception is on those who claim that there is one. 

For instance the Ridda wars included cracking down on those who refused to pay zakat. 

If you have reports showing that the aimmah and their companions withheld their zakat then bring them forward by all means.

13 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

4. Lying and deception with Zalimeen is seen in multiple episodes in select circumstances,  I agree OP's situation may not apply.

These would be the permissible exceptions and not the norm.

13 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

5. As I have emphasized,  use legitimate tax deductions and tax avoidance vehicles. Guess what, the majority of the wealthy in Western countries pay little to no taxes, because their accountants and tax attorneys ensure that legally they are covered .

You do realize that free education,  healthcare, social benefits and infrastructure come from these taxes? You are willing to reap all the benefits without paying anything from your side? This is your understanding of Islam?

15 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

But I am curious as Isa said, who is guiltless may throw the first stone, @Mahdavist,  do you follow every rule in that book and never violate any of the tenets.?

I fail to see the relevance of this question.  If I do, do all the above points suddenly become valid? And if I don't they become invalid? This makes no sense. 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:

Ridda wars included cracking down on those who refused to pay zakat. 

Bro Ridda wars were the Abu Bakr and Umar regimes making a treasure grab against tribes who felt they were an illegitimate govt. Not the best example. 

 

11 hours ago, Mahdavist said:

Shia and Aimmah lived under tyrannical regimes yet we don't seem to have reports suggesting that they withheld taxes (eg zakat

I was just asking if the opposite is documented. For my own edification. I respect your knowledge In this forum bro, please I am only asking for clarification,  don't misinterpreted as me undermining your argument.

13 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:

free education,  healthcare, social benefits and infrastructure come from these taxes

Agree 1000% , you cannot enjoy all the benefits of a govt, and then on whim decides that the govt and its actions are illegitimate or haram or allied with Zulm.

It one reason I migrated from such a country and limit my tax burden and obligations, legally and legitimately.

13 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:

I fail to see the relevance of this question

Sorry my bad , you're correct. I was just saying that is a very very strict interpretation of Shariat. 

I wonder how.many have read Ayatollah Shirazi book on greater sins and know the punishments and examples given for a huge variety of sins.

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https://www.al-islam.org/theory-justice-sayyid-ruhullah-musawi-khomeini/chapter-2-concepts-and-theories-adl-islamq

Classifying leaders into 'adil (just) and zalim (tyrant) and introducing them and expressing their fate in the following words: "The most loved people on the Day of Judgment and the closest one to God is the just ruler and the most hated of them is the tyrannical ruler."168

2. Assisting the oppressed and restoring their rights from the oppressor in the following words: "One who restores the right of the oppressed from the oppressor is my companion in paradise."169

3. Negation of tyrant kings who will come after the prophet in the following words: "After me will come leaders who commit oppression and tell a lie; anyone who attests their lies and helps them in their oppression is not from me and I detest him."170

4. Command to fight against oppressors and tyrannical and dictatorial leaders171 in the following words: "If you saw a tyrant but did not stop him from doing oppression, it is imminent that God would send you chastisement."172

5. Warning and frightening them with the supplications of the oppressed and considering it as the most efficient weapon in the following words: "Beware of the prayer of the oppressed, as it soars up to heaven like the flames of fire."173

6. Negation of any oppression and tyranny even in the area of affairs dealing with ownership of land and the likes of it in the following words: "Anyone who commits injustice a single inch of a piece of land against others, a chaplet of the heptagonal lands will be hung round his neck proportionately on the Day of Judgment.174

 

Alliances with zulm are not allowed if we want to consider a more Manichean view, of a  important principle in Islam.

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7 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

Bro Ridda wars were the Abu Bakr and Umar regimes making a treasure grab against tribes who felt they were an illegitimate govt. Not the best example. 

I'm not condoning it brother,  just pointing out that taxes existed back then as well and were taken seriously. 

 

8 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

I was just asking if the opposite is documented. For my own edification.

Not that I am aware of but inshaAllah if I come across something then I will post it. 

9 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

Agree 1000% , you cannot enjoy all the benefits of a govt, and then on whim decides that the govt and its actions are illegitimate or haram or allied with Zulm.

Yes this was the point and sadly there are already Muslimeen in the West today who enjoy using the excuse of injustice to justify tax fraud (some of them even stand in the front row of the congregational prayers). 

Some of these people seem to have less qualms about who they do business with and how, when it comes to amassing wealth.

11 minutes ago, Hasani Samnani said:

Sorry my bad , you're correct. I was just saying that is a very very strict interpretation of Shariat

What specifically are you referring to brother? The greater sins have been individually named and described by the Ahlulbayt (essentially this is what Shaheed Dastaghaib presents in his work without excessive commentary from his own side)

We need to be very careful because one cannot even lead the prayers if they don't protect themselves from greater sins.

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25 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:

What specifically are you referring to brother? The greater sins have been individually named and described by the Ahlulbayt (essentially this is what Shaheed Dastaghaib presents in his work without excessive commentary from his own side)

Singing is a greater sin.

"As we have stated earlier, it is Haram to recite Qur’an in the characteristics of songs. Similarly it is also Haram to recite Nauhas, Marsiya or Azan in this way; it is immaterial whether it is poetry or prose that is being recited. Rather, rendering of the sacred compositions into songs carries double punishments. One for the sin of singing songs and the other for causing disrespect to a sacred text."

This Is a very very strict interpretation,  you will see that Ayatollah Dastaghaib Shirazi allows no gray zones.

That's my point,  this is only one minor example.

We also know the Beauty of our Madhab is that it's allows for different interpretations and even gray zones , free choice of your Marjae. 

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yes but the book isn't all applicable to today. The reason I say this is because some of the rulings in the book are not the same today. For example the rulings on instruments in the book differ from the rulings of the current maraja. As for singing it is ghina that is being referred too, a person may refer to their marja' as to what the definition of ghina is. I think it possible when the Shaheed wrote this book, the rulings on these issues like instruments etc. were against them, as in I think it could have been there was consensus against it(I may be wrong) or at least most were against it. That would be why it seems that there isn't an alternative opinion, I assume maybe back then the majority of maraja ruled differently(Again I may be wrong). 

The shaheed explains clearly the punishments in the ahadith for the major sins. If something constitutes a major sin, but you've seen a different ruling about it just ask your marja what their ruling is. 

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1 hour ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

This Is a very very strict interpretation,  you will see that Ayatollah Dastaghaib Shirazi allows no gray zones.

It is a normal understanding that one comes to after reading the verses and narrations on the subject.  You will find the same ruling in Sistanis risalah al amaliyyah,  namely that even reciting  the Quran can become haram if it is done in the form of ghina.

 

1 hour ago, Hasani Samnani said:

 

We also know the Beauty of our Madhab is that it's allows for different interpretations and even gray zones , free choice of your Marjae. 

I wouldn't call this the beauty of our madhab. It is a circumstance rather than a defining fundamental principle.  

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1 hour ago, VoidVortex said:

yes but the book isn't all applicable to today. The reason I say this is because some of the rulings in the book are not the same today

It isn't a book of rulings it's a book that summarizes Quranic verses and narrations on the greater sins. These verses and narrations will always be relevant. If certain jurists choose to deviate from them then either they have found some other evidence or they have made an error. 

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3 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:
1 hour ago, VoidVortex said:

 

It isn't a book of rulings it's a book that summarizes Quranic verses and narrations on the greater sins. These verses and narrations will always be relevant. If certain jurists choose to deviate from them then either they have found some other evidence or they have made an error. 

I agree but the book does contain rulings, and this is why I said jurists later differed with the rulings offered in the book. But everything you said is correct

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