Speaking a lie in order to get a job

Q: There’s a guy we know who is 34 (almost 35) year’s old, single (never married), and has spent decades unemployed.  He has also never had any real stability in his life as he has come from a broken home yet has managed to get some education, though while studying his studies was invariably being interrupted and disturbed by domestic circumstances and so his education wasn’t of a decent quality.  He cannot do anything about this now because his circumstances are still not ideal for him to re-study or train to be something else, and he would rather find work so that he can start living a normal life.

He has intermittently worked but only for very short stints throughout his life with the longest period being one job for 6 months and the rest between one and two months, but the gaps between them were significantly long, usually over a year or more.  He has had many interviews but none successful apart from the unskilled, menial jobs he had managed to get, which were either temporary, subjecting him to unbearable environmental conditions, or haram.  The system in the country he lives in is set up to punish people who are unemployed for substantial periods by making it virtually impossible for them to find work, intentionally creating an underclass.

As a result of this chronic unemployment, he has become seriously depressed and has been suffering mentally.  In addition to his unemployment, it
certainly doesn’t help being born and brought-up in a country that has ostracised and ousted him based on his ethnic, religious, and social background, and this has been among the factors that have made him feel compelled to leave that country.

As for his financial circumstances, his income is very low (unemployment benefit) and his rent is very high, so he is barely surviving, and has to
depend on people giving him food regularly, and with the economy not getting better, it can only get worse for him.  He has very little saved, which a large percentage of will have to go to a debt because of his former flat mate who wasn’t able to pay his rent, which led to both of them getting evicted. Although there is no immediate requirement to pay what’s owed, he wants to pay asap because he doesn’t want to remain in debt.

Being unemployed for so long, the government has forced him onto what they call “work programme”, which hasn’t helped him whatsoever find work even though it was set up to do so.  However, what they call an “employment councillor” had mentioned to him that he doesn’t know how to lie and that he, the employment councillor, got that job through lying, alluding that not lying was a factor that was preventing him from finding work.  The employment councillor was not the only person who had mentioned lying as a successful tactic to gaining employment: a colleague of his once told him something along the lines of “it seems that you have to lie to get a job”, and an acquaintance, who is also a teacher, advised him to say that he had the experience employers required as they wouldn’t check up on it, after coming back from working abroad.

Recently, well just under a year ago, he did a course in teaching English that was free for him as he was and still is unemployed, so he could teach
abroad, specifically Saudi Arabia.  He had heard that it was easy to get a job as a teacher there and they pay relatively well.  Unfortunately, when he
had finished his course and started to look for work he noticed that all the jobs required  1 or more year’s experience but most required at least two
year’s or more.

It dawned on him that most of those people he knew or heard of going to Saudi Arabia and other countries to teach must have lied to get those jobs.
Countries like Saudi Arabia are investing heavily on foreign staff to teach their people; this also includes giving money to specific nations by
intentionally employing their citizens and promoting their universities, certificates, and citizenships.

He is committed to the religion and doesn’t want to do anything haram but he does not understand why it has been so difficult for him to live and find work.  We know that under certain exceptional circumstances it is permissible to lie; so my question is: does the circumstances of this man qualify as one of those instances whereby it is permitted to lie, so as to obtain and maintain employment and nothing more?


A: It does not behove a mu’min to deceive and cheat.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)