Performing Hajj with Unlawful Wealth
By Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
My family and I are planning to do Hajj this year, Insha’Allah – this has raised many issues. I recently left a job as an Assistant Manager in a cinema:
Point 1: I did my training at my first cinema. Here, there was always a qualified manager with me who was the alcohol licencee.
Point 2: At my second cinema the General Manager was licencensed to sell alcohol. In her absence I was the “stand in” licencee in.
Point 3: The organisation made most of its money from showing films and only a small proportion from selling alcohol.
Point 4: During this job I had problems protecting my Islam. When I asked you about these you told me to leave the job. Unfortunately my level of Iman was not very high so I kept working until I got sacked! Was all the money I earned from this job Haram? If not then what proportion of it was?
Point 5: I had a number of jobs in my youth that I may have been overpaid for.
Point 6: I have had interest bearing bank accounts in the past. Al-Hamdulillah I have cancelled the interest on these.
NB – I have only recently started keeping accurate records of my monetary transactions so am not sure about the amounts of money involved in 5 and 6 (if any!). I gave a lot of “Sadaqah” to Islamic charities before I had a job (from “pocket money” given to me by my parents). Does this “Sadaqa” cover 5 and 6?
Point 7: I currently have a 6000 pound debt (UK student loan). Can I get rid of the Haraam money by using it to pay off the student loan?
Can I ONLY go on Hajj if I: pay off the student loan (my parents may be against this until I have a stable job – I’m currently temping). Get rid of the Haram money? This may be our only chance to do Hajj as a family.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
As a principle, it should be remembered that, the permissibility or impermissibility of employment in a particular firm or company basically depends on two things:
a) The nature of the job must be lawful (halal), meaning if the work entails something that is prohibited in Shariah, such as posing for nude picture-taking, serving alcohol or recording and calculating interest transactions, etc, then this type of work will be unlawful.
The reason for its prohibition is that, the work in itself is prohibited by Shariah, thus, even if the salary was paid from a lawful (halal) source, the work would still remain unlawful.
b) The salary or income that one receives upon the work must also be from a lawful (halal) source. If the work itself is lawful (halal), but the salary is paid from unlawful and impure money, such as stolen or interest money, it will still be unlawful to accept that job.
Based on the above, you state that you worked at a cinema as an assistant manager and at times you were the licensee to sell alcohol. There are two aspects that need to be considered here:
Firstly, if your work as a manager at the cinema had a direct contact and link with showing films and movies, or selling the products, then this type of work is unlawful. The reason behind this is that, the majority of the movies shown at cinemas are immoral, and against the teachings of Islam, such as screening sex, semi-naked women, violence, extra marital relationships, etc. Thus, it would not be allowed to work at a cinema.
As far as selling alcohol is concerned, if you are directly involved in its sales in any way, such as: supplying, serving, holding, overlooking its sale, etc, then this is also unlawful (haram).
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) says: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) cursed ten people connected with drinking alcohol: The squeezer of liquor and the one for whom it was squeezed, its drinker and its carrier and the one for whom it is carried, its server and its seller and the consumer from its sale proceeds, its buyer and the one for whom it is bought.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
Therefore, your job at the cinema was unlawful in itself regardless of the origin of the salary. Even if the wages were paid from a lawful source, the work would not be allowed.
Moreover, you state that the organisation made most of its money from showing films and a small portion was made from selling alcohol. If your salary was paid from this money, then too it will be unlawful, for the wealth gained by both, showing movies and selling alcohol is unlawful and filthy.
With regards to the jobs where you were overpaid, if this was with the consent and understanding of the one who was paying you, then the money was lawful. However, if it was by mistake, and that they expected you to return the extra money to them, it would be unlawful, thus necessary to return it to whom it belongs.
Interest money is also unlawful and filthy as explained in many earlier posts.
The ruling of unlawfully acquired and filthy money is to give it all in charity without the intention of reward, thus removing the burden from one’s back. This has also been explained in detail in earlier posts.
Thus, you must estimate as to how much of your wealth was acquired through unlawful means and then dispose of that amount by giving it in charity. You state that you gave some money in Sadaqah, thus this may be included in your total. However, you must give it all away by making a precautionary estimation.
It will not be permissible to get rid of the unlawful (haram) money by paying off your loan and debt. It must be given in charity and not used for personal benefit.
With regards to going for Hajj, you have asked two questions. Firstly, can one go for Hajj with unlawful money, and secondly, what is the ruling on going for Hajj whilst in debt?
As far as the first question is concerned, Hajj only becomes obligatory (fard) when one has lawful and pure wealth that is sufficient in order to go for Hajj, for the unlawfully acquired wealth must all be given to the poor in charity.
Nevertheless, if one did perform Hajj with unlawful and filthy money, the obligation of Hajj will be lifted, although one will be sinful for using such wealth, thus there will be no rewards on a Hajj performed in such a manner.
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“And at times Hajj is described to be unlawful, such as performing Hajj with unlawful (haram) wealth.” (Durr al-Mukhtar Sharh Tanwir al-Absar)
Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explains the above by stating:
“Hajj in itself – that which consists of visiting a specific place at a specific time, etc- will not be unlawful (haram), rather spending and utilizing unlawful money is Haram…It is similar to offering prayer (salat) on a usurped land (magsubah), in that the obligation of Salat will be lifted. However it will be unlawful to use an unlawfully snatched land…..Thus, the action of Hajj in itself will be valid but without any rewards.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 2/456, Matlab fi man hajja bi mal haram)
Imam Ibn Nujaym (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“One should strive in finding lawful (halal) wealth (in order to go for Hajj), for Hajj is not accepted with unlawful (haram) wealth as mentioned in the Hadith. However, the obligation (fardiyyah) will be lifted by performing Hajj with unlawful wealth. And there is no contradiction in the obligation being lifted and Hajj not being accepted, because the meaning of not being accepted is that one will not receive any rewards on such a Hajj and the meaning of the obligation being lifted is that one will not be punished for leaving the Hajj.” (Bahr al-Ra’iq)
Therefore, it is best that you abstain from performing Hajj with unlawful money, for there is no reward in offering such a great ritual as Hajj with such money. If your wealth is a mixture of lawful (halal) and unlawful (haram) wealth, then after subtracting the unlawful portion if you have sufficient wealth to perform Hajj, you must go for Hajj, otherwise wait until you have the sufficient amount. (Fatawa Mahmudiyya, 3/206)
However, if you really want to go for Hajj at present, then you may take a loan from someone, perform Hajj with that money and then pay off the loan with Halal and lawful money.
As far as the second aspect is concerned, which is going for Hajj despite on debt, if it is an interest-based loan, then it would be wise to pay off the loan first and then go for Hajj. However, this will not have an effect on your Hajj as long as the money used for performing Hajj is Halal.
If the loan is not interest-based, then if you fulfil your monthly commitments and your creditors do not have any arrears claim against you, it would be permissible to perform Hajj. However, if the creditors have arrears claims against you, then you will be infringing on their rights by performing Hajj. Hence, you should not perform Hajj without the consent of the creditors claiming arrears from you.
It should be also remembered that, if a person is heavily indebted and his liabilities exceed his assets, Hajj is not obligatory (fard) upon him/her. (See: Radd al-Muhtar)
I hope I have been able to answer all your questions with the above.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK