Can I Provide Medical Treatment That May Assist in Sin?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question

As a doctor, is it halal to provide and advertise medical treatment that would frequently allow others to persist in committing sins? For example, PrEP protects patients at high risk for HIV?

Answer

Given that such treatment provided is not exclusive to people committing sin and that it does not directly facilitate sin for them, it is permissible.

Assisting in Sin

Allah Most High says, And help one another in [all sorts of] good and in fearing Allah, and do not help one another in sin and transgression.[Quran, 5:2]

And the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, May Allah curse wine, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it, him who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who presses it, the one for whom it is pressed, the one who delivers it, and the one for whom it is delivered! [Abu Dawud]

Among many other primary texts, the verse and hadith above clearly show that Allah has not merely forbidden us from committing sin but has also forbidden us from assisting in sin.

There is, however, a difference between directly facilitating sin and indirectly facilitating sin.

To give some examples, in the Shafi’i school, it is forbidden to sell arms to people involved in killing Muslims, but it is not forbidden to sell them steel because it may well be used for something else. Similarly, selling grapes to some who may possibly make wine is offensive and not sinful, whereas selling it to someone who will definitely make wine is sinful. [Nawawi, Rawdat al-Talibin]

Similarly, it is forbidden in the Shafi’i school to serve food to non-Muslims during the daytime in Ramadan because it is considered helping them not fast, which is a sin. [Ibn Hajr al-Haytami, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj]

So the principle in the Shafi’i school is that when the means definitely leads to a sinful end, it is sinful. Otherwise, it is just better to avoid it.

For examples in the Hanafi school (which is actually sometimes more lenient), please see:

Is It Permissible to Sell Grapes to a Winemaker?
Would a Career in Web Development Be Permissible?
Can I Rent My House to an Idol Worshiper?

Career Choices

We all have to earn a living, and it is actually a good idea in our day and age to earn a lot of money. Please see: What Islam Really Says about Being Wealthy.

When Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Shaybani was asked to write a book on abstinence in the world (zuhd), he rolled up his sleeves and wrote a book on earning money: The Book of Earning a Livelihood. There is a clear message behind what he did.

At the same time, when possible, we should try to work in a way that kills two birds with one stone: paying the bills and doing something that is in keeping with the higher goals of the Sacred Law.

Given this, if you feel that a lot of your work is helping people live a sexually promiscuous life, I’d try and find another specialty or focus in your same line of work.

A Common Word

As you mentioned in your question, things are pretty hard in the current climate. It is very difficult, and indeed very dangerous, for Muslims as a minority to try and battle against every little evil in society.

That said, just as Allah commands us to come to a common word’ with the Jews and Christians concerning matters of creed [Quran, 3:64], we should also try and work with Jews, Christians, and anyone else who shares our common values of family and traditional gender relationships, to make a change.

By doing so, inshaAllah, we can try to push back the tide threatening the countries and communities in which we live.

We can work with others in our respective countries in a peaceful, respectful, and democratic way to voice our opinions on cases like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and work for change.

To not do anything at all is cowardice; to try to do it on our own is quixotic.

Advertising

How you advertise these services is also relevant. If you just let any old outreach teamwork on the images and wordings, you may well find that they are directly targeting gay couples as customers. This would of course not be permissible.

Conclusion

The treatments are halal as they are not directly instrumental to sin. However, if you feel that a lot of your work is effectively helping patients persist in sin, you should look for another field of work.

Please also see:

Is It Permissible to Assist Homosexuals in Their Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections?

I pray this helps.

[Shaykh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language