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Abandoning an unlawful profession

Published: 24/08/2011 11:55:00 AM GMT
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I am working in a bank. I know that what I am doing to earn a living is unlawful. I intend to change the profession, but am unable to find an equally well-paying job. Am I committing sin even though I intend to change professions?

Answered by

Sheikh Walîd b. Ibrâhîm al-`Ajâjî, professor al-Imâm University in Riyadh

Your claim that you cannot find another job with commensurate pay does not excuse your remaining at your present job. Even if you find only a small income elsewhere, it will be better for you than continuing to engage in this unlawful work.

If you are truthful with Allah, then He will surely please you and support you.

Allah says: “And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out, and He provides for him from (sources) he never could expect.” [Sûrah al-Talâq: 2-3]

Allah also says: “To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, after suffering oppression, We will assuredly give a goodly home in this world: But truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater, if they only realized (this).” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 41]

Imam Ibn Kathîr writes in his commentary on this verse:

They had abandoned their homes and property, so Allah compensated them by giving them better in this world. Whoever abandons something for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him for it with something better. That is what had actually taken place. They became the leaders and sovereigns of other people. Each one of them became an imam for the believers. Then Allah promised them an even greater reward in the Hereafter.

My brother, you have to leave this job right away. Abandoning that which is unlawful should be immediate. A mere intension to leave will not be enough while you have the ability to do so.

Beware of feeding your family on an unlawful income. Abû Hurayrah relates the following from the Prophet (peace be upon him):

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is good and accepts nothing but what is good. Indeed, Allah commands the believers with what He commands the Messengers and says: ‘O Messengers! Eat of the things good and pure and work righteous deeds’ [Sûrah al-Mu’minûn: 51] and says: ‘O you who believe! Eat of the things good and pure that We have provided for you.’ [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 172]”

Then he mentioned a man who had traveled on a long journey, his hair disheveled and discolored with dust. “He will raise his hands to the sky saying ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ but his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothing is unlawful. How then can he be answered?” [Sahîh Muslim]

Ibn Rajab, in his discussion on this hadîth, says:

Allah’s saying “O Messengers, eat of things good and pure” is a command addressed to the Messengers and their people, to eat from lawful income and to do good deeds. Whenever one’s food is lawful, his good works will be accepted. But if his food is unlawful, then how can his good works be accepted?

The following was related by Ibn `Abbâs:

This verse was recited in the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O ye people, eat of what is on earth, lawful and good.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 168]

Then Sa`d b. Abi Waqqâs stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allah, call upon Allah for me to make my supplication accepted.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O Sa`d, make your food good; then your supplication will be accepted. By whom my soul is in His hand the person may swallow an unlawful morsel then nothing will be accepted from him for forty days. Whosever flesh was grown from unlawfulness then the Fire is more suitable for him.” [Mu`jam al-Tabarânî (6495)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are four qualities that if you possess them you should not worry for anything else you miss in this worldly life: safeguarding trusts, truthfulness in speaking, good behavior, and abstaining from what is unlawful in your food.” [Musnad Ahmad (6652)]

For the sake of benefiting from their sage advice, I would like to conclude by relating a few sayings of our pious predecessors on this topic.

Abu `Abd Allah al-Nabâjî al-Zâhid said: “Five attributes comprehend the perfection of one’s good works: believing in Allah, knowledge in one’s belief, faithfulness in one’s acts for Allah, following the Sunnah, and eating lawful food. If you lose one of these qualities, your works will not reach Allah.”

Wahb b. al-Ward said: “Even if you stay in the mosque (praying) as if you were one of its columns, this will do you no good until you ascertain whether what enters yours stomach is lawful or unlawful.”

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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