I am currently working in a department store. They sell many different items like food, clothing, medicine, jewellery, electronics, etc…

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

I am currently working in a department store. They sell many different items like food, clothing, medicine, jewellery, electronics, etc…
I work mostly in the electronics area as a cashier, and advise customers on all products in this area.
Here are some of the issues:
-The electronics area sells tv, vcr, musical instruments, movies, animated games, music, CD-players, etc…
-There is background music constantly playing in the store as with most stores in Canada
-The store uniform is a black pant (above ankles) & a red T-shirt with some few white lines on the edges of the shirt, and in white letters is written the name of the store

My job as a cashier includes accepting payments from customers buying all the above mentioned products as well as advising customers about them, & tidy up the area & make it look attractive.

1. Is my income as a male halal with all the mentioned conditions? If all the money I have earned so far is haram, what do I do with this money? My parents are eligible zakaat recipients. Can I give this money to my parents as a gift?
2. Are all the things I bought so far from this money haram to use or consume? What do I do now, as I have already used & consumed many things?
3. I get 10% discount on anything I buy from the store from any section. I get this privilege independent of working in electronics section. Employees from all sections get this. Are all the things I bought so far with this discount haram to use or consume?

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

There are three aspects to your query:

1. Status of your employment

2. Status of your income

3. Using the employee discount

1)      In principle, it is permissible to sell items which can be used in both permissible and impermissible ways, e.g. computers, radios, CD-players etc, while it is not permissible to sell items which are exclusively used in sin and no other purpose, such as televisions, musical instruments, movies, music etc. Employment in the electronics department of a store consists of selling a vast majority of items which are impermissible in Shari’ah, as stated in your query.

The sale of prohibited items is considered to be I’anah ‘alal ma’siyah (assisting in sin), while the sale of items which can be used in a halal or haraam way is considered to be tasabbub ilal ma’siyah (being a means for the sin being committed). Besides the sales, you have also mentioned that you work in an environment where music is constantly playing in the background.

Therefore, it is highly advisable to either request the management to switch you to a department which deals with permissible items (such as clothing, home goods etc.)  or to seek alternative employment elsewhere.

2)      Salaries received from those actions that are directly related to the sin but are not a means for the sin to come into existence and those actions that are not directly related to the sin are permissible. Therefore, income from your current job will be permissible since you are a cashier. It is however important to make sincere tawbah (repentance) while doing istighfaar (seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala). If you are not permitted to switch to a different department and must choose to seek alternative employment, you may continue to work at the store while in the process of finding another job if you have no other means of income. Consequently, tawbah and istighfaar must be made.

You have also stated that your parents are eligible zakat recipients. It is not permissible for one to give obligatory zakat to their parents. You may give them money as hiba (gift).

3)      It is permissible to use the 10% discount given to you by your employer, as long as permissible items are being purchased. This employee discount is considered to be an extra benefit from the side of the employer.

 

(Jawaherul-Fiqh, 2/439-462, Maktaba Darul Uloom Karachi)

(Ahsan al-Fatawa, 7/329, HM Saeed)

And Allah knows best

Wassalam u Alaikum

Ml. Asif Umar,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah

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