Eating in Restaurants Where Cashiers Do not Wear Hijaab
Fatwa No: 414589

Question

Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, when eating from popular food outlets such as Burger King, Pizza Hut etc you have to talk, look at the person taking your order who is also the cashier, if chances are that it is most likely woman then they don't wear hijab and clothes like t-shirt and pant, in the sense it is revealing their awra. Also Music is also played. So can I eat from such food outlets? In case I want to take the food for delivery then I still have to go through the ordering process from the cashier then is this allowed?

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.

One of the established Fiqh principles states: “A religious ruling does not apply to that which is done by subordination as long as it does not become intended in and of itself.” This is evidenced by the verse reading (what means): {There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord [during Hajj].} [Quran 2:198] The verse means that Muslims’ engagement in trade during Hajj does not undermine their devotion and sincerity of intention because their intent was not to engage in trade in and of itself. Rather, their intention was principally to perform Hajj, and only subsequently to engage in trade (in subordination to Hajj); trade in this context is a subordinate benefit that is not intended in and of itself.

It is known that eating food is often the intent of the patrons of these restaurants rather than committing such prohibitions. Therefore, it is not forbidden to go to such restaurants to buy food or eat there. The permissibility in this regard is further emphasized given the prevalence of such prohibitions to such an extent that they become quite common and difficult to avoid, warranting the legal concession in this regard.

A Muslim going to such restaurants has to be mindful of his Lord to the best of his ability by lowering his gaze from all that is deemed forbidden for him to look at and refraining from listening to music. It should be noted that there is nothing wrong (i.e. no sin) with merely hearing the music without intentionally listening to it. Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Majmoo‘ Al-Fataawa: "The command (of not listening) and the prohibition (of listening) is related to intentional listening (to music), and not to merely hearing it. This is the same as in the case of looking, the ruling is connected to the (one who) intentionally looks and not gazing which happens accidentally and unintentionally." [End of Quote]

It is more prudent and safer for a Muslim to look for restaurants that are free of such evils or order food by phone, for example, (or from the drive-through) so that he would not need to visit or eat in such restaurants.

Allah Knows best.

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