Islamic Date06 Shawwal
English Date28 May
Tax Taker's Repentance
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "When someone offers an excuse to his fellow Muslim and the latter does not accept it, his sin is like the crime of imposing taxes." [Ibn Majah]
This hadith informs us of two important rules. One is that if we are given an excuse, we need to accept it. If the other person is lying, the sin of their lie will be on them. However, if we decide not to acceept a Muslim's excuse as genuine, then the sin becomes ours. How would you feel if you gave somebody a genuine excuse but they accused you of lying?
The second important thing we learn from this hadith is the severity of the crime of a ruler imposing taxes on the people he governs. Taxes are defined as revenues other than those which are countenanced by the Shariah, such as zakat or jizya. A ruler may impose taxes once in a while to prevent some detriment, but not without just cause, and not because of corruption and misuse of funds.
The enormity of the crime of imposing unjust taxes can be judged from the hadith of the adulteress who purified herself by insisting on being stoned to death. On this the Prophet (sal allahu alaihi wa sallam) remarked, "She has made a repentance so sincere that if even a tax taker repented with the like of it, he would be forgiven." [Sahih Muslim]
Adultery is clearly a terrible and disgusting sin in our eyes, but do we see governments appropriating taxes as an equal sin, let alone a sin worse than adultery? How then are we a part of such governments?