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Am I Allowed to Earn Money Illegally to Cover High Costs of Living?

06 July, 2021
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I would like to ask an important question. I am living in Sri Lanka. Here, there is no justice for people because day to day the costs of living are flying over. According to Islam teachings, proper justice is for everyone. What can we do for this cost of living? Is it permissible to earn in an illegal way? What shall we do for this injustice? Jazaka Allah khyran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

A Muslim is not allowed to illegally earn his living. Members of the Muslim community should help and cooperate with each other to overcome financial problems some of them may face.

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Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:

In all situations, a Muslim is not allowed to illegally earn his living. It is my advice for the Muslim community and families in your country to maintain solidarity and help each other. They need to think about creative workable means for abundant lawful provision and income.

You are advised also to seek Allah’s help through duaa and prayers. Make much istighfar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness) and dhikr; they are among the means of attaining Allah’s rizq (sustenance and provision). We read in the Quran,

{I (prophet Nuh) said, “Seek forgiveness from your Lord: indeed He is All-Forgiving. He will send abundant rains for you from heaven, will help you with wealth and children, will create gardens for you, and provide flowing rivers for you.} (Nuh 71: 10-12) 

Moreover, governmental and non-governmental organizations should play their basic roles in encountering poverty, social injustice, and illness.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.