As a Muslim employee, if your employer admits that this is your right but insists on not paying you due to wrongdoing and transgression on his part, then you are permitted to take the exact amount as your rights. However, if there is some contention about your rights between you and him, then you are not allowed to take that money. If you have the right to these bonuses, yet you have no clear evidence to prove your right, the prevalent view is that you are not allowed to swindle the money from the company in return for these unsubstantiated demands.

In the Fatawa Al-Kubra, Ibn Taymiyah states: “If a person is entitled to certain rights, should he take these rights or what is equivalent to them in value or amount? There are two forms of this case:

If the right is clear and substantiated, then the person is permitted to take his right without seeking the permission of the other person on whom the right is due, so long as he is unable to obtain his rights through any other means. An example of this case is where a husband does not support his wife financially. In such a case, she is entitled to take her rights without asking for his permission. The evidence for this is the occasion
when Hind bint `Utbah asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Abu Sufian is a stingy person and he does not give me enough money to feed my children. What shall I do?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered her: “Take what suffices you and your children according to the average requirements.”

If the right is unsubstantiated or it is a contentious issue, like bonuses which are usually a means of discord between an employer and his employee, then this case is subject to controversy among Muslim scholars. Imam Malik and Ahmad are of the view that the person is not allowed to take his right without obtaining the permission of the person on whom the right is due. Ash-Shafi`i holds the view that he can take his right or what is equivalent to it in value or amount. Abu Hanifah holds the view that it is permissible to execute the right of something that is of the same kind of the usurped right. This means that if his right is money, he cannot take books in return.

Malikis and Hanbalis support their view with the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that reads: “Fulfill the trust for the one who fulfills the trust for you and betray not the one who betrays you.” This case is similar to the case where one is forbidden from retaliating against the one who has wronged him because retaliation itself is a wrongdoing. For instance, if someone commits sodomy with a person by force, the wronged person is not allowed to seek retaliation, because retaliation means committing another sin.

In some cases, retaliation is not permissible like in cases of lying and abominable actions. The general directions are like those in the verse: “If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted.” (An-Nahl: 126) are specified by another instruction like the hadith: “…and betray not the one who betrays you.” This hadith shows that it is not permissible to retaliate in cases like these.”