Ruling on certificate and earnings if one cheated on exams
Fatwa No: 355567

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. In my first professional examination, I gave three or four written exams out of six exams by knowing the questions of the exam before the examination was started. I cheated by this way. Before the cheating, I knew a fatwa which said that my income will not be haram if i will be qualified for that job. Knowing this fatwa, I was encouraged to do this cheating. Though I was aware of the matter that this cheating is haram and can affect my future income, I cheated on the exam. Now I regret my mistake. I have three question now:
1) Will my future income be haram because of this if I do my job sincerely?
2) If the first answer is that my income will be halal, then will my future income be haram because I had cheated knowing that it is haram? I mean, can the fact that I knew about the ruling on cheating make it haram for me?
3) Will my certificate be halal? It should also be noted that in order to pass in the written exam, I also have to pass in a viva exam, and if I fail in the written exam, I also fail in the viva exam. I gave the viva exam honestly and passed. I am a student in my third year of a five year course. I am very depressed because of this and cannot concentrate on my studies.

Answer

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, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

You should seek the forgiveness of Allah for the cheating which you committed and sincerely repent to Him by regretting your sin and resolving never to commit it again.

As for the certificate obtained through cheating in the exams and the job and earnings acquired as a result, we have previously highlighted in other fatwas that if a person cheats in the exams, even if he knows about the unlawfulness of cheating, and then finds a job and carries out the work properly as required, there is no harm on him in keeping that job or in benefiting of his certificate and the earnings from his job. Please, refer to fatwas 81709 and 87821.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was once asked, "A man got a job because he holds a certain certificate but he cheated on the exam for that certificate. Now he is doing the job well, according to the testimony of his subordinates at work. What is the ruling on his salary – is it lawful or unlawful?" He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him replied, "There is no harm on him, Allah willing. He has to repent to Allah from cheating. If he is doing the job as required, then he bears no sin with regard to his earnings; however, he did wrong by cheating in the exams and he has to repent to Allah of that sin." [Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 31/19]

Allah knows best.

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