I have a contraction company and I want to be very accurate in my livelihood, but every day, we face situations that confuse me about halal and haram. I will present an example in a very simple way because the real situation may have many ramifications. There was a certain written agreement between me and a client, saying that I deserve a certain amount of money at a certain date as my company is responsible for some construction work and the written agreement stated that if he did not pay in time, I have the right to ask him for a forfeit. However, as we were good to each other, I let him, in a friendly manner, pay late, as he was peaceful too with me and did not complicate his requirements and my commitment with him, and I was new and wanted to acquire clients, so all of that was in a friendly manner (not written). An example of his claims: the contract states that I am his commissioner and that of all other clients to sell the real estate stocks that he and I and other clients are shareholders of. I sold the stocks, and they asked me to use this money to complete the construction work and do extra items as this will make them pay the rest of their commitments late, and unfortunately I trusted them and spent the money to do extra items on their apartments and shares without any written agreement. Now they hold me accountable for this money and say that I sold the stocks and did not give them their portion of money, and I am afraid that I cannot prove that I gave them their in extra items and extra work. My question is: if he retreats in things which he was lenient on with me, does that give me the right to retreat in my leniency with him too and claim that he did not pay in time and ask him for a forfeit just to defend myself and drop his unjust charges?
All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
If the client retracted in matters which he was lenient on with you, you have the right to do the same and retract your leniency with him and claim your rights.
If these people have delegated you to spend their money on the construction and then denied this delegation and claimed their money back, they have no right to such money. If you do not have evidence indicating that they have delegated you and you cannot obtain your right except by means of this trick, then some scholars held that it is allowable for the Muslim to take his own rights via trickery provided that he must not take anything beyond his own right and there must not be any fear of grave evil consequences.
However, other scholars held that it is prohibited to do this and relied on the following hadeeth: Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "Fulfill the trust for the one who entrusted you, and do not cheat the one who cheated you." [At-Tirmithi and Abu Daawood]
This view is more prudent and safer in terms of clearing oneself of their liability.
In any case, we advise you to be more cautious in the future and to document the contracts and agreements and have witnesses for them.
Allah knows best.
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