Working at a cinema, finding it hard to pray and avoid the haram

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Zia ul Haque Sheikh

I am currently working as an Assistant Manager in a cinema. I’m finding it very hard to protect my Islam and good character in this job. There is free mixing, alcohol is sold, I am frequently locked in a room with a women – during end of day cash reconciliation and the hours (shift work) make it very hard for me to pray. The reason I took this job was so that my parents could stop working. Al-Hamdo- Lillah I was able to take the burden of work off my Dad. Prior to my getting this job his health had been deteriorating rapidly – he has high blood pressure (he was a bus driver). Soon he will go to Pakistan and stay there for a while – something which I hope will be better for his health and his Islam. At my current cinema I am treated very badly by my boss. However I will soon move to another cinema where I’m hoping it will be easier for me to protect myself – most cinemas have a majority of male supervisors and my boss may be more lenient. However there will still be alcohol and the hours will still be long.

I currently pray at work – this is very difficult as I have to be available all the time throughout my shift. Things will be easier if I stop doing this and read Kaza when I get home – something which my family are putting pressure on me about. Is there any way I can justify doing this?

I don’t want to leave because then my Dad will have to start work again in which case his Islam and his health will suffer. Is it ok if I stay in this job until I find a new one – bearing in mind the economic situation and the fact that while working I don’t have much time for job seeking. Also it is very difficult to find a truly Halal job in a non-Muslim country – I may be unemployed for years if I leave. I’m feeling very trapped…

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaykum,

Dear brother,

You have to understand that Allah MOST HIGH is the provider and sustainer. Engaging in haram activities to earn rizq deprives that rizq of barakah. You must try to find a new job immediately.

Serving alcohol, or being associated with it in any way is haraam. According to a hadith, all of the people associate with alcohol are cursed by Allah MOST HIGH.

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: I heard Allah’s Messenger, in the year of the Conquest of Mecca, saying, “Allah and His Messenger made illegal the trade of alcohol, dead animals, pigs and idols.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What about the fat of dead animals, for it was used for greasing the boats and the hides; and people use it for lights?” He said, “No, it is illegal.” Allah’s Messenger further said, “May Allah curse the Jews, for Allah made the fat (of animals) illegal for them, yet they melted the fat and sold it and ate its price.”

Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported: This news reached ‘Umar that Samura had sold wine, whereupon he said: May Allah destroy Samura; does he not know that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said:” Let there be the curse of Allah upon the Jews that fat was declared forbidden for them, but they melted it and then sold it”?

>From the way that you write, it seems that you are from England. I do know that in England there is a very good social security system that helps unemployed people.

If this is not the case, continue to work there until you find more work, then leave the job.


Zia ul Haque Sheikh

A short bio:

Zia ul Haque Sheikh, born in Azad kashmir (Pakistani side of Kashmir) in 1969.

Emigrated to UK when I was four years old.

Started Islamic Education at the age of 13. Completed memorization of Quran at 16, then went on to complete the alim course. All education was conducted in the UK, at the Institute of Islamic Education, Dewsbury. Studies totalled 12 years.

After graduating in 1994, was imam in Manchester, England, for one year. Then I moved to the USA, and have been an imam at various Islamic Centers.

Currently Imam and teacher at the Islamic Community of Tampa Bay, Florida.

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