Can I Work for a Glass-Bottle Maker That Sells to Beer Companies?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

Is it permissible to work for a glass-bottle manufacturer that occasionally sells bottles to beer companies?

Answer

All praise belongs to Allah, Most High. May He shower His beloved, our Prophet, with His choicest peace, blessings, and salutations.

It is generally permissible to work for a glass-bottle manufacturer. It is prohibited for the manufacturer to sell bottles to liquor companies. Suppose the bottle manufacturer’s sales are solely or predominantly to liquor companies. In that case, it is not permissible to work there, but if their sales are to other (permissible) industries, then it is disliked to work for such a manufacturer, and Allah knows best.

Selling Grapes to a Winemaker

Selling bottles to a winemaker is like selling grapes to a winemaker. It is unlawful to sell grapes to someone who will make wine from them. (Like grapes in this are the sale of dates, bread, wheat, or barley, whenever one knows that this (i.e. alcoholic drink) will result, or thinks it will. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

If there is doubt or if one merely imagines it, then the transaction is merely offensive. (Think (zann) means to believe it probable, doubt (shakk) means one is undecided, and imagine (wahm) means to consider it possible merely.)

Selling in such cases is unlawful or offensive because it is a means of disobedience, whether certain or suspected (means meaning an instrumental cause, as opposed to something which is not instrumental, such as renting a house to a drunkard, which is not unlawful because it is not a cause, though it is unlawful to rent a building to someone who intends to open a bar, for example). [ibid.]

Tirmidhi relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) cursed whoever drinks wine, gives it to others to drink, sells it, buys it, presses it for another, transports it, receives it, or eats its price.)

Do Not Assist in Transgression

Allah says, “[…] And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” [Quran, 5:2]

Accountability for Enabling Sin

If our actions knowingly and intentionally enable or facilitate sinning for others, we incur a share of the blame. Allah says: “Whoever intercedes for a good cause will have a share in the reward, and whoever intercedes for an evil cause will have a share in the burden. And Allah is Watchful over all things.” [Quran, 4:85]

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever starts a good thing and is followed by others, will have his reward and a reward equal to that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their reward in any way. Whoever starts a bad thing and is followed therein will bear his and the follower’s burden (of sin) without detracting from their burden.” [Tirmidhi] – This applies whether the initiator is alive or not, and Allah knows best.

I pray that this is beneficial.

[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.