Benefiting from prohibited Earnings
Fatwa No: 373465

Question

Assalam-Aleykoom, I'm currently working at QNB (a non-islamic bank) and I found a way to switch away from working there. The job I am planning to switch to is inshalla halal, but the problem is to start up this new work I need to buy equipment, but the money that will be spent on it will come from the money I made at QNB. I fear the money I made from QNB is considered haram because it is profit from a forbidden job, and despite my new work hopefully being halal, the equipment that will enable it will be paid for with my salary from QNB. Is any profits gained from this new task going to be haram as well?

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

If one earns money from a forbidden work while knowing that the wok is forbidden and he was not compelled to do it, then whatever he has earned from it is not permissible for him. Rather, he should get rid of it by spending it on the public interest of Muslims or by giving it to the poor or the needy. He may not benefit from it personally unless he himself is poor or needy. In this case, he should only take the amount that would suffice his need, and get rid of the rest. Among the things that are considered to be part of his need, is to take what enables him to trade or do a permissible craft.

However, if someone had worked in a forbidden job while he was ignorant that it is forbidden to work in it, and then he repented from that after he knew that it is forbidden, then, in this case, he is allowed to benefit from whatever he had gained from this job while he was ignorant of the prohibition according to the view of some scholars.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “If he had taken it (unlawful earnings) out of ignorance and he did not know that it was forbidden, then his repentance wipes out the previous sins, and what he earned is for him (to benefit of), because Allah says (what means): {So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past.} [Quran 2:275]

However, if he was aware that it Is prohibited, but he was weak in faith and had little insight, then, in this case, he should give it in charity; he can build mosques, repay the debts of the people who are unable to repay, or if he wishes he may give it to his needy relatives, because all these are acts of benevolence and goodwill.” [End of quote]

In any case, regardless of the matter, it does not affect what you will earn in your permissible job in the future. If you buy equipment, and the like, with the money that you had earned from your previous forbidden job, and we presume that it was forbidden, then this prohibition does not relate to what you spent or what you will earn in your new job.

Allah knows best.

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