Question & Answer
Is the implementation of goods n services tax haram?


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

We begin with Allah’s blessed name, we praise him and we glorify him, seek his forgiveness and ask him to guide us. Whoever Allah guides, None can lead astray and whoever he misguides, None can guide. There is no power and no strength except from Allah, The most high, the Most great, the most powerful. We bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers. We pray for peace and blessings on all the noble messengers and in particular on the last of them all “the blessed prophet Mohammad (pbuh)”

Taxes in general means money levied by state or local authorities on individuals, property or business. The taxes which the modern states impose on the people are absolutely not the part of Islam.

There are differing opinions regarding, taxing the people:

1. Many scholars condemn or prohibit, putting tax on people, as they call it maks in Islam.

Narrated Uqbah ibn Amir: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: One who wrongfully takes an extra tax (sahib maks) will not enter Paradise. ABU-DAWOOD[Book:19, Hadith:2931]

2. Some scholars allow it, only when there is a genuine need or when there are exceptional circumstances.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said:
If the state collects taxes instead of zakat or in addition to zakat (whereby state needs to finance essential interests like hospitals, schools, roads, bridges etc ) then one is permissible to pay and one should not withhold it.
But if the state takes taxes other than zakat, and wastes it on superfluous, or other haram things, and does not spend it on legitimate interests, then it is permissible to conceal wealth and profits so as not to help them in doing haram things. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):“but do not help one another in sin and transgression” [al-Maa’idah 5:3].

Shaykh al-Albaani said:
it is not permissible under any circumstances to impose taxes as a fixed, immutable law, as if it is a law divinely revealed from heaven for all time. Rather the kind of taxes that it is permissible for the Muslim state to impose is in specific circumstances that the state is going through.

Imam ash-Shaatibi:
If a Muslim country is attacked, and there are no funds in the state treasury to prepare and equip armies to ward off that attack by the enemies of Islam, then in such circumstances the state may impose a specific tax on particular people who can afford to pay what is imposed on them. But that should not become a binding tax and established law -- as we stated above. Once the passing reason, which is the kaafir attack and the need to defend the Muslim land, is no longer applicable, then the taxes are waived from the Muslims, because the reason for which the taxes were imposed is no longer present. The ruling -- as the fuqaha’ stated -- is connected to the reason for it: if the reason exists then the ruling applies, but when it is no longer present, the ruling no longer applies. The reason or cause that makes this obligatory duty essential is no longer present, and when it has disappeared the taxes should also disappear.

Thus If the state wants to tax her people in exceptional circumstances, then it should fulfill the following conditions:

1. Tax should be imposed fairly.

2. No one should be burdened with it to the exclusion of another.

3. It should be imposed on the rich, according to ones wealth.

4. It is not permissible to impose it on the poor or to treat the poor and the rich equally in this regard.

5. It is not permissible to impose tax, when the state has enough wealth in its state treasury (bitul-mal).

6. It should be spent in the interest and welfare of the people.

7. When the circumstances change, the taxes should be abolished.

Thus If the goods and service tax does not fulfill these conditions, then it would be considered a tool of oppression on the people (and using any tool of oppression on people is prohibited in islam). Allah says in the glorious Quran:

“The way (of blame) is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth Without justification; for such there will be a painful torment” Quran [ 42:42]

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:

Everything that is taken unlawfully is like a tax, and is haram. A believer is required to hear and obey those in authority, and should give money to them when they ask. then if it is taken from one in unjustified manner, one will surely find it restored on the day of judgment and if it is taken in justifiable manner, then there will be nothing to be settled.

A beliver is obliged to listen and obey to those in authority. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Hear and obey, even if your back is beaten and your wealth is taken.” It is not permissible to take these matters as an excuse to criticize those in authority and to slander them in gatherings and the like. We should be patient and whatever we do not get in this world we will get in the Hereafter. Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh[65/12]. And Allah alone knows the best.

I ask Allah to make this a sincere effort, seeking his pleasure, and I ask him to grant us refuge in him from the evils within ourselves, and that in our deeds. I ask him to grant us success in achieving whatever pleases him; And May Allah Shower His blessings and mercy upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his family and his Companions and on all those who follow him until the final hour.

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