Current Legal Issues

Earning a Living

(Q.11) Is it permissible for a Muslim to cook unslaughtered meat, noting that he has nothing to do with selling or serving it? What is the ruling on serving najis (un-slaughtered) food or delivering it to non-Muslims? Is there a difference between pig meat and other kinds of meat?

There is no objection to cooking unslaughtered meat or serving it to those who believe that consuming it be lawful (according to their doctrines). Selling it is problematic; however, there is no objection to receiving money in exchange for tanazul (forgoing one's right) or by way of Istinqath (recovery of money from the unbelievers).

(Q.12) Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in restaurants that serve pig meat or alcoholic drink? If it is not permissible does the ruling extend to washing cutlery and the like?

Serving alcoholic drink to the others is haraam, even though it might be all right for them to consume it. The same goes for washing cutlery, if it was used for drinking alcoholic drink.

As for serving pig meat to those who have no problem in consuming it (for no apparent objection of their faith), it could be permissible; selling it, though, is not permissible, without any shadow of a doubt.

It is batil (unlawful) for a Muslim to pay himself for work that is forbidden to him; receiving wages for such work is haraam. Of course, there is no harm in assuming ownership of the money by way of Istinqath.

(Q.13) [This is a complementary question to the preceding one]. Is it permissible out of necessity? If necessity is paramount, what are the limits of it?

Committing a forbidden act driven by necessity, over which you have no control or through no choice of yours, renders haraam injunctions void and no sin shall be upon you. However, such an act must be confined to the minimum that might remove the necessity, for necessities are governed by their magnitude. Nevertheless, for a person to be driven by a pressing need to serve alcoholic drink in return for money is a mere assumption, whose realisation is hard to come by, considering that it can hardly happen, if not only by wilful choice. Allah says, "..and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, and give him sustenance whence he thinks not.." (65/2, 3). He also says, "Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? hey shall say: We were deemed weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is wose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort, except those who were deemed weak from amongst the men and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape)" (4/97,98).

(Q.14) Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in a restaurant that serves unslaughtered meat?

It could be permissible only when it is served to those who think it lawful [according to the precepts of their faith]. Rather, without making it known to the consumer, in case it might affect their choice, which could lead to them abstaining from consuming it. Otherwise it is not obligatory.

(Q.15) What is the ruling on wages earned for work in such restaurants? Are they considered as earnings tainted with illicit money? Could they be licit for the worker in return for his work that is halal?.

Wages received by a Muslim from non-Muslims for work, that is lawful to them, is considered licit earnings, albeit they may have earned such money by means that are not lawful according to our religion, such as the sale of pig meat and alcoholic drink. Such wages are not considered tainted money, on which Khums is due.

(Q.16) Some times a person, who works in a restaurant, serves non-Muslims with unslaughtered meat and pig meat. You have ruled on the first part of the question before. What is the ruling on serving pig meat, noting that if he refuses to do the work, he might, as well, lose his job?

There is ishkal in serving pig meat even to those who deem it licit, abandoning it by way of ihtiyat is advisable.

(Q.17) Is it all right for a Muslim to own [or run] a restaurant, where unslaughtered meat is served, noting that he is not personally involved in the work and that his role is confined to supervising and administering the place? On the assumption that it is not permissible, how can one make good the money earned? What is the position of his dependants, such as his wife and children insofar as maintenance goes?

There is no harm in owning such a restaurant, only when serving unslaughtered meat is done for those who deem it lawful. In the event of serving it to a Muslim, one must inform him that it is not halal meat. In so doing he might [positively] affect the consumer's decision; otherwise it is not obligatory. As for the earnings, making them good is by way of Istinqath or tanazul. Once it is thus legitimised, it can be so for the dependants. In case he did not do so, they should assume ownership of what he pays them in kind [i.e. material things, be they money, provisions and goods]; only then it will be halal for them. Allah is All Knowing.

(Q.18) Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in places where alcoholic drinks are sold or at entertainment places, without being involved in serving alcoholic drinks or other sinful acts, such as washing dishes and preparing tables, etc.?

It is not permissible in the places where alcoholic drink is sold. Work in entertainment places is not recommended on the premise of ihtiyat luzumi (obligatory precaution)..

(Q.19) There are many grocery stores where, besides groceries, sandwiches of pork and other unslaughtered meat are sold. On top of that they also sell lottery tickets. People working in these stores are required to handle the sandwiches and lottery tickets. All types of customers come, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, where it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. Is it permissible to work in such stores?

It is not permissible to sell pig meat even to non-Muslims. It is not permissible too, by way of ihtiyat, to sell unslaughtered meat, even to those who deem it licit. The same ruling goes for the sale of lottery tickets - it is not permissible.

(Q.20) Lottery is a well-known chance game in the States. Is it permissible for a Muslim to sell its tickets through a machine? Could the transaction be based on the principle of istinqath?

If he was authorised by the company concerned with its offer and distribution among non-Muslims, it is permissible. Receipt of the money could be justified on the principle of istinqath, not by way of vending. He could, also, receive it by way of tanazul, if he had haqul ikhtisas (prerogative) over it.

(Q.21) Is it permissible for a Muslim, who owns a hotel, the majority of whose customers are unbelievers, to serve them with alcoholic drink or unslaughtered meat?

As explained in an answer to a similar question, it is not permissible insofar as alcoholic drink is concerned. As regards unslaughtered meat, it is permissible.

(Q.22) Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in a grocery shop where alcoholic drink is sold, noting that he is not involved in handling it; he works as a cashier?

It is permissible for him to receive the money for the other goods, and the money for alcoholic drink only when the vendor and the buyer are non-Muslims.

(Q.23) What is the ruling on work in the places where unslaughtered meat is prepared, where the involvement is in the latter and has nothing to do with selling it?

It is permissible. There is no harm in receiving wages for such work.

(Q.24) An electrical engineer, working in Europe, is sometimes called out to repair loudspeakers and similar instruments. Sometimes he has to go to places where entertainment takes place. Is it permissible for him to carry out repairs to such equipment and install new ones? It is noteworthy that if he refused such work it might adversely affect his work, for customers shall leave him.

It is permissible.

(Q.25) Is moving (tanaqul) [commodities], the sale of which is unlawful to Muslims, in order if it was done through relinquishing (isqat) one's haqul ikhtisas (prerogative) over it ?

Yes, Allah is all knowing.

(Q.26) Is it permissible for a Muslim to buy from shops [or other businesses] owned by Hindus, if one knew that they help their co-religionists there [in India] against Muslims ?

It is not permissible if it contributes to making them transgress against Muslims. Allah is All Knowing

(Q.27) Is it permissible to buy from [non-Muslim] owners of business, in the knowledge that they help their co-religionists against Muslims?

It is not permissible if it leads to bolstering them against Muslims.