Do We Have to Boycott Companies Involved in Oppression or Injustice?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

Should I stop doing business transactions on platforms that are in support of apartheid Israel and/or complicit in the support of Uighur oppression? What is the Islamic ruling on this?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. The believer is one who loves and hates what is beloved and hated by Allah Most High, according to a sound understanding of Divine Guidance.

Allah Most High commands, “Indeed, Allah commands justice, grace, as well as courtesy to close relatives. He forbids indecency, wickedness, and aggression. He instructs you so perhaps you will be mindful.” [Quran, 16:90]

The Legal Rulings of Avoiding Dealings with Oppressors and the Unjust

Legally, it is recommended (mustahabb) for individuals to avoid any indirect relationship with oppression, wrongdoing, or sin. [Khadimi/Birgivi, al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya; Shafi, Risala fi al-I‘ana ‘ala al-Haram]

It is also a collective obligation (fard kifaya) for Muslims as a whole–and Muslim governments in particular–to strive, as best possible, to avoid indirect relationships with oppression, wrongdoing, or sin. [Ghazali, Ihya’; Tashkubruzada, Miftah al-Sa‘ada; Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih; Ludhiyanawi, Ahsan al-Fatawa]

This is a balance of striving for the highest principles, while being practical and doing the best one can, in one’s circumstances.

Thus, it is highly commendable for Muslims to boycott and avoid those established to have unethical practices–whether economical, environmental, political, or in oppressing humans or even animals.

Practical Steps

  1. Strive to choose the most principled and ethical of companies to deal with.
  2. Strive to avoid dealing with companies established to be engaged in oppression, wrongdoing, or sin.
  3. When not feasible or of manifest detriment, then dislike the matter in your heart–and keep striving to find better alternatives.

Course Suggestions:
Living Right: Halal and Haram and Living Prophetic Excellence (Hanafi)
Nahlawi’s al-Durar al-Mubaha fi al-Hadhr wal-Ibaha

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.