Question: Is it permissible to receive a salary from the government that comes from taxes?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
There are many hadiths that prohibit levying taxes. These however are referring to taking taxes that are unfair and unnecessary. When the Muslim Common Fund (Bayt al-Mal) cannot cover all the expenses of a country, taxes have to be levied otherwise the country will not be able to be run. These are permissible taxes, and working for the government and receiving one’s salary from such a source is permissible.
Generally speaking, this also applies to even non-Muslim governments and governments that do not abide by the Sacred Law. While it is true that some of what is levied is Islamically immoral, to say that most of taxation is pure daylight robbery and that all those who receive their salaries from the government are in receipt of ill-gotten gains is a bit of an overestimation.
That said, all things being equal, it would be better to look for a government that goes 100% by the book, or a company that works in such a way, so as to make sure one’s income has as much baraka in it as possible. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) is narrated to have said, “Strive to make your income as pure as possible, and you will be someone whose prayers are always answered.” [Tabarani; Majma’ al-Zawa’id, Haythami]
Such livelihoods are not always possible. May Allah save us all!
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.