Returning misappropriated funds

Q: I work as a Locum Optometrist, I did a day for Tesco opticians and it took them a while to pay me. I kept chasing it up and eventually they ended up paying me twice. I rang the store a number of times, unable to reach the manager so eventually left a message for him specifying the exact reason for the call. However he never got back to me. So my question is, is this haraam money? Is it okay to give it away to a Muslim charity or does it need to be a non Muslim organisation? I know someone who is in debt at the moment, would it be okay to give this money to them to help towards repaying the debt?


الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب

A: As you know who the party (Tesco Opticians) is that has overpaid you, you must return the overpayment back to that party. You cannot keep it or donate it to any charity, Muslim or non-Muslim, or to any needy person. The money is owed to Tesco Opticians and the absence of a response from the manager is not permission to keep the money or to donate it. Donation only becomes a possibility when the original owner is either not known or there is no way to return the money to him/her. In your case you can return the overpayment with a little persistence.

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