Assalaamu alaykum. I am a garment merchandiser. I am working for a knitwear company. Our job is to take orders from buyers and produce the garments following the buyer's indications or design. As most of the buyers are non-Muslims, they demand to put a picture of animate beings or the logo of their brand on the fabrics. I know that pictures of animate beings are forbidden in Islam. They also order lady garments that are very short, which is also forbidden in Islam. However, non-Muslim women are used to that. So now my question is: as I am working there or am related to those activities as an employe, is this halal or haram for me? I am a Bangladeshi, and my country depends very strongly on the garments industry. Many people there work in different departments related to garments. So please kindly give answer me. I am eagerly waiting for your reply. Best regards.
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
There are some details regarding having pictures of animate beings on clothes. If the picture is not complete; i.e. it is missing a part that is essential for life, such as the head or the chest, then, according to all the scholars, such a picture is permissible. However, if the picture is complete, then the scholars differed in opinion regarding putting it on clothes, because they differed as to whether it (wearing the clothes with pictures of animate beings on them) is considered treating the pictures with disrespect or not.
The Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia reads, “Most scholars are of the view that it is permissible to own and use three-dimensional and two-dimensional images, whether they are complete or incomplete, if they are not treated with respect (such as putting them on the floor, carpets, pillows, and so on). Based on this, some scholars are of the view that it is permissible to make what is used in this way, just like weaving silk for whoever is permitted to wear it.”
In general, this is the view of the Maaliki School of jurisprudence, but according to them it is Khilaaf al-Awla (i.e. it is contradicting that which is better or it is better not to do).
The Shaafi'i School of jurisprudence has two views: the more correct view is that it is forbidden. This is the adopted view of the Hanafi School, as was stated by Ibn ‘Aabideen. Ibn Hajar quoted Al-Mutawalli from the Shaafi'i School as saying that he permitted making images on the ground.
As regards short women's clothing: then it is not permissible to make them for those of whom it is predominantly thought that they will wear it in an indecent and forbidden manner.
Ibn Taymiyyah said, “As for any dress of which it is predominantly thought that it will be used for disobedience, it is not permissible to sell it or to sew it for whomever will use it in disobedience and injustice.” [Sharh Al-'Umdah]
Hence, if the dress is like the one mentioned above, then it is not permissible for a Muslim to make it, neither for a Muslim, nor for a non-Muslim.
Therefore, if your work is in designing or selling clothes that are forbidden, then it is not permissible to work there unless you cannot find another source to earn an income that fulfills your basic needs. However, if your work has nothing to do with manufacturing or selling clothes that are forbidden, then your work is permissible in principle.
Allah knows best.
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