Assalaamu alaykum. I have been given two offers to enroll into two different professional courses, and I was not sure whether my father could afford to pay for both. So I asked him to pay for one of them and, with the help of a friend, invested that money into trading. Praise be to Allah, within two weeks, I had enough money to pay for both courses and more to go for another round of trading, should I choose to venture into it. Meanwhile, my father never knew of any of this for fear that he would understand me differently. All I wanted to do, of course, was to help cover my expenses and possibly cater for my personal needs. Was I right to make this sole decision? How do I stand with the Shariah in this matter?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
If your father had given you the money to make it your own and spend it as you wish, whether on the course you mentioned or otherwise, then there is no harm on you in investing it and you do not have to inform your father about this. If you inform him, though, it might please him to know that you have a sound mind and succeeded in those transactions.
However, if your father had gifted you the money to spend it specifically on the course, then you should not have done what you did, in which case you have to inform him about what happened. Then if he gives you permission, it is acceptable, otherwise you are not entitled to spend the money on matters other than that which he had specified to you.
Zakariyyah Al-Ansaari said in Asna Al-Mataalib, “If a person gives someone else some money and tells him, ‘Buy a turban with it, or go to the public bath house or the like, then it is an obligation to spend the money on what the donor had specified in consideration of the giver's objective.”
Based on this, there is a difference of opinion regarding the profit that you made from this investment; will the profit be for you as a guarantor according to the Shariah Maxim stating "Al-ghunm bil ghurm" (i.e. returns are justified by taking risks) and hence you own the profit, or is the profit for your father because you transgressed in disposing of the money on other than what he specified – since the effort of a transgressor does not deserve any right – or do you get half of the profit and the other half is for your father, as the profit was due to using his money?
Perhaps the most preponderant opinion is the last one, as we have already highlighted in fatwa 224164.
This applies if your father did not make you own that money and, after learning of what you did, was not pleased and asked for his money back, in which case you have to give him back the original amount which he had given you and half of the profit. But if he had made you own the money or he was pleased with what you did and authorized you to benefit from what you have earned, then there is no harm on you.
The same applies if your father had given you this money as part of his obligatory spending on you, if we say that these courses are part of the obligatory spending of the father on his son; in this case, your behavior was permissible because you became the owner of that money once you got hold of it.
Asna Al-Mataalib fi Sharh Rawdh At-Taalib reads, “...Al-Athra'i said, ‘It appears that the scholars of Iraq are of the view that the son owns the financial maintenance that the father is obliged to spend on him and the like when he receives it ... and that he is entitled to dispose of it as he wishes whether by giving it in charity or otherwise.’”
Allah knows best.
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