Question: I wish to study at a university like Harvard and become a professor of Political science or History. Is it permissible to study there political science? Is it halal for me to become a professor of political science or history and teach at a university? Will my earnings be halal?
Answer: Assalamu alaykum,
1) Yes, it is permissible to study at Harvard if they only take student term-time work from you. This is part of their financial aid package.
2) It is permissible to pursue a degree in political science or history. Muslims educated in all subjects are needed around the world and systems of government must be understood by Muslims so we can make a difference. With this intention, the degree is considered beneficial and praiseworthy.
3) If you teach as a university professor, your earnings will be permissible (halal). The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “This world is cursed and what is in it is cursed, except the remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and what is conducive to that, and the teacher and the student” [Ibn Majah]. Teaching has a great honor in Islam, and with good intention, your reward may be magnified.
May Allah give you success in all your endeavors.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.