Answered by Ustadh Nail Kadi
Can a taxi driver serve a single member of the opposite sex at night when no one can see inside the vehicle? Is the fare from this transaction lawful?
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
I pray you are well. Your question reflects a keen desire to earn what is lawful and pure. May Allah grant you that and more.
Defining Seclusion with the Opposite Sex
As a taxi driver, it is permissible for you to take a customer of the opposite sex, as long as it would not entail seclusion (khalwa) that is forbidden.
As for what constitutes seclusion (khalwa), Imam Kasani mentions that a third person should be with them since the presence of another person prevents sinful conduct, whether the third person is awake or sleeping, blind or not. (Kasani, Bada’i)
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “A man must not be alone with a woman except in the presence of a Mahram.” (Bukhari)
A Mahram includes anyone who you cannot legally marry. For more details, click here.
Avoiding Khalwa at Night
To avoid seclusion, one should try to find streets where people may still be out, opening the window weather-permitting, and/or turning the lights on in the car.
If the trip is planned ahead of time, one could also take a relative of yours with you. For example, if you know that there is a single lady you need to take to the airport at night, one could take one’s wife, sister, or mother alone.
An alternative solution to achieve a third person’s presence might be for the driver to install a camera which is streamed to those at his workplace or to his home. For a passenger in this situation, one can avoid the Khalwa by initiating a phone call. However, it is best to plan ahead and see best how to avoid these situations.
Lawfulness of the Fare
If one was alone at night time with a passenger of the opposite sex in a way that entailed seclusion, it is permissible to still accept the fare from the passenger.
There are numerous ways to avoid seclusion mentioned above. Your sincerity and earnestness in prayer may lead you to even more creative solutions.
For other similar considerations one might encounter as a taxi driver:
And Allah knows best
[Ustadh] Nail Kadi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Born in the Pacific Northwest to immigrant parents from Apartheid-era South Africa, Nail Kadi has lived in the Great Plains, California, New England, and the South. Nail has served various communities as an imam, hafidh (memorizer of the qur’an), and qari (reciter of the qur’an) with a focus on nurturing the spiritual lives of young people. During his middle school years, Nail attended a southern African seminary and memorized the Qur’an.
Nail spent 12 years at Harvard University, completing bachelor’s,, masters and doctoral degrees in the History of Science, Theological Studies, and Dental Medicine.
Nail has also studied the religious sciences with a host of scholars from South Africa, Jordan, Turkey, India and Syria. Currently pursuing advanced studies in Istanbul, he is also pursuing an Ijaza in Calligraphy under masters of the art.