Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian
Question: As Salam Alaykum,
I applied for a position in a company my friend is employed at. I asked him to speak to the manager so I can get an interview. I feel I have fallen into riba (usury) because I am bypassing the fair and equitable market process. Should I be concerned?
Answer:Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
Linguistically, the word “riba” in Arabic means an “increment” or an “addition.” In Islamic sacred law, Riba (usury) is defined as follows:
( الفصل السادس في تفسير الربا وأحكامه ) وهو في الشرع عبارة عن فضل مال لا يقابله عوض في معاوضة مال بمال (الفتاوى الهندية، كتاب البيوع)
“In Islamic sacred law, riba is an amount of wealth contractually exchanged without any equivalent” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, Kitab al-Buyu’, Fasl fi tafsir al-Riba wa ahkamihi).
Hence, in order for riba to occur, there must first be a contractual exchange of wealth, whether money or goods. In your case, this has not occurred—all your friend has done is advocate on your behalf. This is not riba. To the contrary, it is highly praiseworthy in Islam to advocate on behalf of a Muslim to assist him in a permissible affair (such as getting a permissible job). Allah Most High says:
مَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُنْ لَهُ نَصِيبٌ مِنْهَا (النساء 85)
“Whoso interveneth in a good cause will have the reward thereof” (Qur’an 4:85).
When a questioner or someone in need would come to the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam), he is reported to have said:
عن أبي موسى عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه كان إذا أتاه السائل أو صاحب الحاجة قال : ” اشفعوا فلتؤجروا ويقضي الله على لسان رسوله ما شاء ” . متفق عليه
“Advocate (on behalf of your brother), for you will be rewarded, and Allah will cause His Messenger to judge according to what He wills” (Narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari and recorded by Bukhari and Muslim).