Would I Assist in Sin If I Buy Something Impermissible Like Alcohol?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick 

Question

Would I assist in sin if I buy something impermissible, like alcohol? Am I helping the seller to sin even though I don’t intend to help him?

Would I share in that sin if the seller buys more alcohol and someone buys it from him? If I buy a ticket to watch football, are the rulings the same as buying alcohol even though I try to avoid unlawful deeds? (I ask this not because I want to consume alcohol)

Answer

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

In the transaction of alcohol, the buyer earns sins for buying it and the seller for selling it. They also both enable each other to sin, so they share in that sin as well. We are accountable for the sins we enable others to commit. Buying a ticket to a sports game is not the same as buying alcohol and may be permissible if there is no deliberate involvement of sin, and Allah knows best.

General Accountability of Sin

In general, one has no control over the actions of others and will not be held accountable by Allah for their deeds. Allah says: “And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.” [Quran 6:164]

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.