Return money to game-developers

Return money to game-developers

Question

Assalamu alaikum,

When I was a small kid, maybe 9 years old, an older person offered me to install a software on my phone. With this software, I could do free in-games purchases, things which otherwise cost money. Do I need to return any money to the developers of these games, or is that the responsibility of the person who installed the software? Please take into consideration that these games maybe were haram themselves.


Answer

The game developers have set a price for products on their platform, therefore, using software to surpass the paywall and acquiring those products for free would amount to theft. This is impermissible, and the cost of the in-game purchases become a debt owed to the game developer.

The older person who helped install this software is blameworthy and sinful for assisting in sin. However, they will not be liable for the theft of their clients who use the software and acquire in-game purchases without payment.[1] As the “client” in our scenario is a nine-year-old child, assuming they have not reached puberty, they would not be sinful for their actions, however, the necessary dues must be paid to the game developer.[2]

In Islamic law, these types of financial liabilities are fulfilled from the child’s wealth if the child has money. Otherwise, the parents would shoulder this responsibility.[3] If this child is now an adult, it would be wise to settle these dues on their own, rather than involving their parents in this matter.

Email the game-developer, explain the situation, and ask for a method of payment. To the eyes of a non-Muslim, this would be an incredibly noble act so emphasize that your religious teachings force you to settle your dues before you pass away. It is more than likely that the game-developer will accept your apology and let bygones be bygones.

And Allah knows best.

[1]              مجمع الضمانات» (ص203): إذَا اجْتَمَعَ الْمُبَاشِرُ وَالْمُسَبِّبُ أُضِيفَ الْحُكْمُ إلَى الْمُبَاشِرِ فَلَا ضَمَانَ عَلَى مَنْ دَلَّ سَارِقًا عَلَى مَالِ إنْسَانٍ فَسَرَقَهُ هَذِهِ فِي الْقَاعِدَةِ الْأَخِيرَةِ، مِنْ الْأَشْبَاهِ»

[2]              «حاشية ابن عابدين = رد المحتار ط الحلبي» (4/ 83): وَأَخْرَجَ الصَّبِيَّ وَالْمَجْنُونَ؛ لِأَنَّ الْقَطْعَ عُقُوبَةٌ وَهُمَا لَيْسَا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا، لَكِنَّهُمَا يَضْمَنَانِ الْمَالَ كَمَا فِي الْبَحْرِ»

«المبسوط للسرخسي» (26/ 86): وَالصَّبِيُّ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِ أَحَدِ الْحُكْمَيْنِ، وَهُوَ الْعُقُوبَةُ؛ لِأَنَّ ذَلِكَ يَنْبَنِي عَلَى الْخِطَابِ، وَهُوَ غَيْرُ مُخَاطَبٍ، وَهُوَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْحُكْمِ الْآخَرِ، وَهُوَ وُجُوبُ ‌الضَّمَانِ فِي مَالِهِ كَمَا فِي غَرَامَاتِ الْأَمْوَالِ فَيَلْزَمُهُ ذَلِكَ بِمَنْزِلَةِ فِعْلِ ‌السَّرِقَةِ يَتَعَلَّقُ بِهِ حُكْمَانِ: أَحَدُهُمَا: عُقُوبَةٌ، وَهِيَ الْقَطْعُ، وَالصَّبِيُّ لَيْسَ بِأَهْلٍ لَهُ، وَالْآخَرُ: غَرَامَةٌ وَهُوَ ‌الضَّمَانُ، وَالصَّبِيُّ أَهْلٌ لِذَلِكَ فَيُسَوَّى بِالْبَالِغِ»

[3]              مجمع الضمانات» (ص173): صِبْيَانٌ اجْتَمَعُوا يَلْعَبُونَ فِي مَوْضِعٍ وَيَرْمُونَ فَأَصَابَ سَهْمُ أَحَدِهِمْ عَيْنَ امْرَأَةٍ وَذَهَبَتْ وَالصَّبِيُّ ابْنُ تِسْعِ سِنِينَ، أَوْ نَحْوِ ذَلِكَ قَالَ الْفَقِيهُ أَبُو بَكْرٍ أَرْشُ عَيْنِ الْمَرْأَةِ فِي مَالِ ‌الصَّبِيِّ وَلَا شَيْءَ ‌عَلَى ‌الْأَبِ، وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ مَالٌ فَنَظِرَةٌ إلَى مَيْسَرَةٍ قَالَ الْفَقِيهُ أَبُو اللَّيْثِ إنَّمَا، أَوْجَبَ ‌الدِّيَةَ فِي مَالِ ‌الصَّبِيِّ؛ لِأَنَّهُ لَا يَرَى لِلْعَجَمِ عَاقِلَةً ثُمَّ إنَّمَا تَجِبُ ‌الدِّيَةُ إذَا ثَبَتَ رَمْيُهُ بِشَهَادَةِ الشُّهُودِ لَا بِإِقْرَارِ ‌الصَّبِيِّ بِوُجُودِ سَهْمٍ فِيهَا؛ لِأَنَّ إقْرَارَهُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ بَاطِلٌ

Answered by:
Maulana Ikramul Hoque Miah

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel