I commend you for your desire to earn a lawful livelihood free of the taints of haram. Although you may be right in alleging that most of the businessmen engage in shady and doubtful practices to enrich themselves, we cannot generalize it. Instead, we would be fair in stating that others are careful in avoiding them and keep their business halal.
You should look to them for role models. You should find solace in the fact that business is one of the best options for those who are creative and have the ambition to succeed.
Perhaps you can inspire yourself because the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a successful businessman; his companions Abu Bakr, Uthman, and Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf and others were also quite successful in their businesses and did so without engaging in shady business practices.
If, however, you are not comfortable, then you should take up a job, you can excel and be creative. While searching for a lawful source of livelihood, you should not be rigid and be pessimistic and say there is nothing wholly free of the taints of haram.
Allah assures us in the Quran that He has chosen for us a religion that is free of undue hardship. That is why our jurists deduced a golden rule: where there is a hardship, the rigors of the law are relaxed.
So, never wrack your brain by being so rigid in your judgment. You only need to do your best to avoid that which is haram; once you have done your best, you are excused of what is beyond your means or ability or control.
There is another in jurisprudence which states, ‘We are not questioned about what is hidden or absent from us.”
Finally, let me advise you to continue praying to Allah:
Allaahumma agninee bihalaalika an haraamika wa bi ta’tika an ma’siyathika wabi fadhlika amman siwaaka
(O Allah, make me self-sufficient with that which You have made halal for me so that I am not forced to indulge in that which You have made haram for me; let me content with Your obedience so that I am not forced to disobey you. And make me satisfied with Your favor so that I do not need to look for favors from others).
Almighty Allah knows best.
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