Can I Intend to Break a Contractual Promise to an Employer?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

Can a person work for another employer during non-office time, without permission or knowledge of the present employer? What if they have agreed not to do so through contract or verbal agreement?

The employer wants me to relocate after three months. I am starting the job by working remotely. If I contractually or verbally agree and do not fulfill it, does that make the salary I’ve earned impermissible because of the condition the employer set?

The employer insists that I join remotely and relocate within three months. Can the employee agree (contractually/verbally), then work online for the first three months and serve a notice period? Does he have to fulfill the conditions? Would the employee be sinful for not intending to relocate before entering into such an agreement or going back on a promise?

Is such a condition from the employer valid and is the employee entitled to salary for work done?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah reward you for your desire to keep your earnings as lawful as possible.

Any lawful contractual promises should be fulfilled, and breaking such promises without a valid reason is sinful, and Allah knows best.

To discern the proper guidelines, we would require the intricate details of the contract. If the agreement is not a packaged deal (a standard working contract and an additional promise to relocate), breaking this will entail the sinful breaking of your promise, but your income for the work is lawful.

If, however, the employer employed you for both the work and the relocation, to which you agreed. Not fulfilling your lawful and agreed-upon contract would render you sinful, and the income would be unlawful, and Allah knows best.

Allah says: “O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.” [Quran, 5:1]

Allah says: “O believers! Do not devour one another’s wealth illegally, but rather trade by mutual consent. And do not kill [each other or] yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you.” [Quran, 4:29]

I pray this is of benefit, 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 pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.