My question is: If I search an illegal thing or activity (such as pirated product or software, passwords, etc.) on the Internet through MySearch Funds, is my earning haram? If my referrals do the same or search forbidden things (such as pornography), is my commission on referral haram? Jazakum Allahu khayran.
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:
In his response to your question, Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, Professor of Islamic Finance and Economics at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, states:
Seeking Halal Job
A Muslim should be always keen to seek a halal job where he or she does only what pleases Allah. So, you are to be commended because of your keenness to know what is halal and to act upon it.
Commission on referral is permissible provided it is known to the referred persons that you take commission of suggesting this search fund to them.
Searching other persons’ passwords is intrusion on their privacy, and this is forbidden because it is a form of spying on others. Its financial gain is also forbidden (of course, unless it is done with appropriate permission such as to investigate a crime or protect the country against external aggression).
The same applies to searching prohibited sites except when this is done for a good purpose. This includes research that aims at knowing causes of certain inappropriate behavior. Whenever the search is prohibited, its compensation is also prohibited.
As for what your referred persons may do, you are not responsible unless it is done with your approval. As long as you do not approve of, your commission is permissible, God willing.
It is good though to give away some part of such commissions for purification purposes. This includes good deeds and charity as the wash away any misdeeds.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.