I am about to start a career in law soon. Yet I have been informed that most aspects of English law would be haram to practise. What I would like to know is what principles/rules I should take into account when deciding what area to practise. I.e. would I be allowed to defend people accused of crimes (irrespective of their guilt), or when defending rights, would I be able to advocate rights that may be incompatible with Islam but are a part of English law (homosexual rights etc).
What I am asking is what ideas/rules do I use to decide what areas would be permissible and which won’t.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Shaykh Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) has discussed the issue of entering the Law profession in his Fatawa collection titled Contemporary Fatawa. He explains that there are basically three conditions that need to be met in order for a person to take up any job connected to law, advocacy, and legal representation.
1) One’s work should be for a just cause, and not to help defend a person who is guilty of a crime.
2) One must not help others gain a right that is prohibited or disapproved by Shariah.
3) The means used in helping a client must not be prohibited in Shariah. (See: Contemporary Fatawa by Mufti Taqi Usmani)
In light of these three conditions, it is not permitted to defend the case of an individual regarding whom one is certain that he is guilty of the crime, such that the client himself admits that he is guilty, or there are clear and obvious evidences that prove his guilt. If one is unsure or in doubt, then it is permitted to go ahead with the case, since one is considered innocent until proven guilty, and there must be sufficient evidence to presume someone to be guilty.
Moreover, when practicing law, one must do so within the limits of Shariah. As such, one is not allowed to advocate rights that are incompatible with Islam, such as recovering interest money and fighting for the rights of homosexual and/or lesbians. One cannot be party to injustice, wrongdoing, corruption, or bribery.
Furthermore, it is not permitted to use any means, whilst helping a client, that are unlawful such as using forged documents, deception, lying and false statements.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK