Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
I’ve been told that if I listen to a talk or podcast (even if Islamic) while working, my income could be considered haram because I didn’t have full attention.
I listen to nasheeds while working from home and have many other distractions throughout the day (doorbell, child, bathroom breaks, etc.). Will my income be considered haram because of this?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Your income will not be considered unlawful or illicit by listening to something while working or due to natural distractions if you are still confining yourself to perform your task as per your agreement with your employer. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
However, if listening to something distracts you to the point where you do not perform the task at all, or you step away with undue lengthy distractions that your employer would not forgive or overlook, then this is an ethical and moral concern and one will be sinful for deceiving their employer.
In working from home or being in an office, there is a natural amount of distraction and things that may divide one’s attention. Employers are generally aware of this workplace culture (i.e., bathroom breaks, brief conversation, checking a message, etc.). However, an employer would not usually tolerate leaving the place of work entirely, taking extended breaks, or undue time spent checking other things. [Ibid]
Each employer is different in how much they tolerate this, and one should not take advantage in this regard, but having a frank discussion if unsure and trying one’s best to give one’s time sincerely is the best course of action, and Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.