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Can I Pay Debt With Unlawful Income?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick



I live in France, and there is a system where you automatically save money that you can only spend on formations when you work. I used to work in an unlawful fast food restaurant. Today I’m a student, and I have a lot of debt that I want to pay with the money saved because I don’t have any other way to pay. The money is stuck, though, so I found someone that can get the money out, but he keeps 50%. I will get 657€ on 1315€. I didn’t know my job was haram until I quit, so if I do this, is this haram in any way?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. 

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.   

All praise is to Allah, who guided you away from that which is unlawful. Unlawful income remains unlawful for the one who earned it, and he should not benefit from it. Paying your student debt with the unlawful income is a way of benefitting from that income and would, therefore, be unlawful, and Allah knows best.

Disbursing Unlawful Income

The general rule that applies to any form of unlawful funds is as follows:

  1. Where the rightful owner is known, it must be returned to the rightful owner.
  2. Where the rightful owner is not known [or if they refuse], the funds must be disposed of in one of two ways:

a) it must either be given towards a charitable cause that benefits the public at large, such as public hospitals, schools, or mosques; b) or it should be given in charity to a person who is entitled by his need to receive charity. [Karaan, Disposal of Riba (Fatwa issued by the MJC)]

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. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

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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