Can I Work for a Company That Engages in Illegal Activity?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I’m working in a clearing agency here. They cheat, lie and show false documents to customs to decrease the tax amount. So as an office boy I have to collect money and cheques from clients. Is it haram to collect money because it is earned through illegal means?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.

Based on your description, it appears that your role in the company compromises the permissibility of your income there because you appear to be indirectly involved in illegal (and impermissible) transactions. At best, your role is doubtful. We would encourage you to try and eliminate the illegal and dishonest practices but to seek alternative employment in the meantime since such change is unlikely, and Allah knows best.

Herewith are some guidelines by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani:

What Permissibility of Work Depends Upon

Your work’s permissibility depends on two factors: (a) the work you do is permissible, and (b) it has permissible primary uses.

Beyond that, you’re not sinful nor considered “assisting in sin” if the customers of the company you work for use it in impermissible ways.

The Divine Prohibition, “Do not assist one another in sin and enmity,” [Quran, 5:2] is understood to prohibit direct assistance. [Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidaya; others]

Cases of Indirect Assistance in Harm or Sin

However, when there is a clear indirect relationship between your work and something harmful or sinful, it is recommended (mustahabb) to seek alternative employment, if available—and striving to do so is from both caution and God-consciousness (taqwa).

One would need to balance the above with the duty to provide for oneself and family, financial responsibilities (such as paying debts), and other considerations.

Turn to Allah, perform the prayer of seeking guidance, and ask your heart what choice is most likely to be pleasing to Allah, given all the above considerations.

Please see this reader:
Provision and Work: A Reader

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.