Can I pay off debts with lottery money?

I won some money in a lottery. I know I know it’s haraam (forbidden), but my family and I have accumulated debts and this money comes in handy. Can I use it to pay off our debts? Please say yes!

You may be glad to know that a number of scholars have said yes. Among them are Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajjid. His rationale is that getting rid of ill-gotten money is necessary and the only proper way he sees to do that is charity and he extrapolates that to debt payoff, based on rulings of Ibn Al-Qayyim and Ibn Taymiya, may God bless their souls.

I agree with the reverend Sheikh on the charity part, but respectfully disagree on the debt payoff part. I don’t see the analogy between charity and debt payoff. If you have dirt in your house, you wash it away; you don’t move it over to your neighbor’s house! Giving away the money is like returning stolen property, but using it to pay debts off is, IMHO, like stashing stolen money with someone else!

Bear in mind that when we stand before God for judgment in the Hereafter, He will ask each of us two questions about our money: (a) How did we earn it, and (b) how did we spend it.

God knows best.

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