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Can I Serve Prohibited Foods At My Job?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org
Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I am a student and need to make money for university. Is it permissible to work at restaurants that serve prohibited (haram) food and drinks?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide our hearts, tongues, and deeds to that which perpetually pleases Him.

It is not permissible to work at such restaurants, and Allah knows best.

Indulgence and Assistance in the Unlawful

Allah forbids that His servants indulge in the unlawful. He also prohibits us from promoting, condone, or aid and assist in commissioning such acts.

By working in such a restaurant, you undoubtedly contribute to such actions, namely, the consumption of unlawful food. Therefore, it is unacceptable for a Muslim to work such a job.

Allah says: “…And assist one another in righteousness and piety, but do not assist each other in sin and aggression. And be conscious of Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” [Qur’an 5:2]

Earning Lawful Sustenance

Undoubtedly you should be concerned about earning a lawful and blessed livelihood. Allah promises that He will provide us with sustenance. As long as we remain conscious of Him and strive earnestly to obtain a lawful source of income.

Allah says: “And whoever is conscious of Allah, He will surely make a way out for them, and provide for them from sources they could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He will be sufficient for them. Indeed, Allah achieves His Will. Allah has already set a destiny for everything.” [Qur’an 65:3]

Exhaust the Lawful Means

We advise that you exercise your imagination and exhaust all lawful means to find lawful options. Reach out to your Muslim community and ask for assistance with finding lawful jobs.

When Allah prohibits something in Islam, He also provides us with substitutes that are lawful and blessed.

Allah says: “And whoever is conscious of Allah, He makes their course easy for them.” [Qur’an 65:4]

Unlawful Income Void of Blessings

There are no blessings (baraka) in unlawful earnings. A dollar of the lawful is better than a million dollars earned through the prohibited.

One of the conditions for having one’s prayers answered by Allah is to achieve a lawful livelihood.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) spoke of a person who travels widely, has messy hair, and is covered with dust. Still, he lifts his hands and prays, “Oh Lord, Oh Lord,” but his diet, drink, clothes, and nourishment [because of his income] is unlawful. How then can his supplication be accepted? [Muslim and Ahmad]

and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. He served as the resident Imam of Masjid al-Munowar in Retreat, Cape Town, for several years.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness. 


This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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