Can Virtually Currency Be Used To Pay Off the Violation of the Rights?

Fatwa ID: 04738

Answered by: Shaykh Umer Khan

 

Question:

 

Let us say that someone who played a lot of online games in their youth, looted virtual items/currency from other gamers.

 

Let us say that the game had many haram elements. Would the individual who took the items pay money in charity for the value of the virtual property, or is it worthless? Because it holds value with the gamers and is traded for real money.

 

Also, if it is deemed that the thief is to pay the money to charity (due to not being able to reach the victims since it happened on the game), will he earnestly estimate how much money to pay and pay it as a lump sum on the gamers’ behalf with the intention that the percentage will be divided according to the amount taken?

 

For example, theoretically, if there were 3 victims, or if he could not remember how many victims there are, or the exact quantity taken from each victim, but he estimates the total value at $75.

 

Does he simply pay the $75 to charity for all of them combined?

 

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

Answer:

 

Since the virtual currency can be traded for real money, it will be treated as something that has real monetary value, and looting it would fall under the ruling of ghaṣb (usurping). Allāh says: “And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly” [1].

 

The general principle is that a person who has usurped property should repent to Allāh, return the property in its original condition to the rightful owner, and seek forgiveness from them. If the original property is lost, damaged, destroyed, or no longer available, its monetary equivalent should be returned. If the rightful owner of the property is not known, then the property can be given as charity to the poor on behalf of the rightful owner [2].

 

In the case that you shared, since the victims are unknown, the estimated equivalent amount of money should be given as charity to the poor. Regardless of the number of victims or how much specific money was taken from each individual, the TOTAL amount of looted money should be cautiously estimated. This can then be given as charity in installments or as a lump sum.

 

 

Only Allah knows best.

Written by Shaykh Umer Khan

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

 

 

 

[[1] Qur’ān, 2:188

[2] Raddu Al-Muḥtār, 5/99

 

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