Can We Transact with Oppressors and Their Supporters?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Is buying products or watching movies produced by oppressors, oppressive governments, or their supporters unlawful?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Believers should not be loyal and support those who defy Allah, his Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and the believers. However, if the products or content is permissible, the sale and consumption would remain permissible, and Allah knows best.

Allah says: “You will never find a people who (truly) believe in Allah and the Last Day loyal to those who defy Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their parents, children, siblings, or extended family. For those (believers), Allah has instilled faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Him. He will admit them into Gardens under which rivers flow to stay there forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. They are the party of Allah. Indeed, Allah’s party is bound to succeed.” [Quran, 58:22]

The Legal Rulings of Avoiding Dealings with Oppressors and the Unjust:


In a chapter titled “Buying and selling with the polytheists and people who are at war with Islam,” Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) quotes the following hadith:

‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them) said: We were with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); then a polytheist came with some sheep he was driving. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Are they for sale or a gift?” He said: “For sale.” So he bought a sheep from him. [Bukhari]

Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) said: “The Muslims unanimously agreed that it is permissible to interact with non-Muslims living under Muslim rule and other disbelievers, so long as the object of the transaction is not unlawful, but it is not permissible for a Muslim to sell weapons or tools of war to those who are waging war against the Muslims, or anything that helps them to support their religion.” [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]


Legally, it is recommended (mustahabb) that individuals avoid indirect relationships 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–and Muslim governments in particular–to strive, as best as 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, being practical, and doing the best in one’s circumstances.

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

Practical Steps

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

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.