Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Two Ways of Earning a Living cannot be the Same

Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Two Ways of Earning a Living cannot be the Same
– by Imam Al-Haramain, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Ibn Abdul Aziz-as-Sudais

Makkah al-Mukarramah; Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab

The Transcript:


Praise be to Allah Who has permitted to us at-Tayyibaat (that which is Halaal i.e., lawful and good) and has forbidden to us al-Khabaa’ith (that which is Haraam i.e., unlawful and bad). I praise Him, may He be exalted, as one who acknowledges His blessings; I give thanks to Him, may He be glorified and exalted, as one who acknowledges His bounty. I Praise Him as He deserves to be praised, for He is the Most Praiseworthy and Most Glorious, deserving of all thanks and praise. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone, with no partner or associate. In what He has permitted to us, He has caused us to have no need of that which is forbidden. And I bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad is His Slave and His Messenger, the best of humankind; may Allah send blessings and peace upon him and his noble Family and Companions, and the Taabi’een (generation following the Companions) and those who follow them in truth.

To proceed:

Fear Allah, O slaves of Allah, and give thanks to Him for having guided you to Islam and having sufficed you with that which is permitted so that you have no need of that which is forbidden.

O brothers in Islam, Islam brought a comprehensive system that provides guidelines for all aspects of life and shows how people’s needs are to be dealt with in all their affairs, at both the individual and communal level in the best manner. It has set up a system by means of which people establish their relationship with Allah and their dealings with His slaves. All this is within the limits of what is Halaal and good, and within the framework of what is permitted and prescribed – a sound framework that sets out guidelines concerning people’s rights and dues, protects their interests, wards off harm and bad things from them, and guards their lives, honour and wealth, on the basis of justice, light and guidance.

Islam has also prescribed sound beliefs and sublime acts of worship and establish a connection between the individual and his Lord, and all of that is based on the Quran and Sunnah. Moreover, Islam has drawn up guidelines for people in the field of interactions with one another, within the just and sound framework that is controlled by Shar’i guidelines, conditions and etiquette that must be taken into consideration and adhered to, and all interactions should be undertaken within these limits and guidelines. Therefore, there should be no chaos, wrongdoing, transgression, robbery, deceit, delays in payment, ambiguity in buying, fraud or betrayal. Rather, there should be fairness, respect, justice, sincerity, clarity and paying attention to the rights of others.

Allah subhanahu ta’ala says:

“O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire, and that is easy for Allah.” [Surah an-Nisa’ 4:29-30]

“And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:188]

The Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wassallam said in the great Khutbah that he delivered on the Day of Arafah:

“Your blood, your wealth and your honour are sacred to you, as sacred as this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this land of yours.”

Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) and others narrated that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu alayhi wassallam said:

“It is not permissible to take the wealth of a Muslim unless he gives it willingly.” [Narrated by Ahmad, 5/72; Abu Ya’la, 1570, from the Hadith of the paternal uncle of Abu Hurrah ar-Riqaashi]

Imam Muslim (may Allah have mercy upon him) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu anha) that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu alayhi wassallam said:

“Allah is Good and does not accept anything but that which is good. Allah has enjoined upon the believers that which He has enjoined upon the Messengers”

He says:

“O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Taiyibat [all kinds of Halal (legal) foods which Allah has made legal (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.], and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do.” [Surah al-Mu’minoon, 23:51]

and He says:

“O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:172]

“Then he mentioned a man who undertakes a lengthy journey and is dishevelled and dusty, raising his hands towards heaven and saying, ‘O Lord, O Lord!’ but his food is Haraam, his drink is Haraam, his clothing is Haraam, he is nourished with Haraam so how can he receive a response?” [Sahih Muslim, 1015]

O Muslims, the Muslim is required to conduct his business transactions – buying and selling, renting, lending and borrowing, pledging, trading and other types of business dealings – in accordance with the perfect law of Allah. Some people whose understanding of religion is limited have gone astray, as they have restricted religion to acts of worship. Out of ignorance or carelessness, they have separated religion from daily life with all that it includes of rules and interactions, and they have indulged in handling the wealth of Allah in unlawful ways; they do not care whether what they have accumulated is from Halaal or Haraam sources. For them, what is “Halaal” is whatever comes into their hands, no matter what its source. They would not refrain from Haraam transactions, using various kinds of prohibited tricks to acquire wealth by any means. Love for this world has had a huge impact and their hearts are controlled by the glamour of wealth. They have been dazzled by love of money and have become obsessed with materialistic gain. They are prepared even to sell their religion for a little worldly gain for themselves or for others – Allah’s refuge is sought! Riba is their means of doing business and cheating is second nature to them. Treachery is their banner and deceit is their habit. Swearing false oaths is their means of getting something; robbing others and forgery are usual practices among them; lying and deceit are the methods they use for the sake of worldly gain; they strive hard to make worldly gains and they are prepared to sacrifice everything for that. They do not think of the consequences and they do not worry that they will have to answer for all of that. They do not take stock of themselves and they do not learn anything from death. They have no thought of the Hereafter or the Reckoning.

“Except those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, and remember Allah much, and reply back (in poetry) to the unjust poetry (which the pagan poets utter against the Muslims). And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned.” [Surah ash-Shu’ara’, 26:227]

O Ummah of Islam, the Islamic Shari’ah (legislation) has paid a great deal of attention to these business transactions, which are the focus of a large portion of Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) because they are directly connected to people’s lives and how they interact with one another. Great importance has been given to business transactions because of the ignorance that prevails among many people due to lack of knowledge of the rulings on these transactions. As we are living in a time when materialism has become prevalent and there is little concern about falling into Haraam and ambiguous matters, when acquisition of money has become the ultimate goal of so many people, to such a point that some have become corrupted for the sake of accumulation, and the religious and moral deterrents have become weak – for all these reasons it is very important to remind people and talk about this topic. How could we not do so when the way people interact has such a far-reaching effect, whether negative or positive, on the individual, the family and society?

O Muslims, good, Halaal earnings have a huge impact on the individual’s behaviour and attitude, spiritual welfare, conscience, deep insight, good state of his family, and the acceptance of his Du’a (supplication). It also has an impact on the welfare of society, the soundness of its affairs and the righteousness of its individuals.

Evil and Haraam transactions have a negative impact and spell bad news for the individual and for society. As it is narrated:

“Any flesh that grew from Haraam, the Fire is more befitting for it.” [Narrated by Ahmad, 3/321; at-Tirmidhi, 614; Ibn Hibbaan, 1723; at-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 19/136, from the hadith of Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah and Ka’b ibn ‘Ujrah (may Allah be pleased with them both).]

“No one ever acquires wealth from a Haraam source then spends from it and it is blessed for him, or gives it in charity and it is accepted from him, and if he leaves it behind it will be his means to the Fire. Allah subhanahu ta’ala does not erase one bad deed by another; rather He erases bad deeds by good deeds. Evil cannot erase evil.” [Al-Musnad, 1/387; Shu’ab al-Eemaan, 5524]

Thus, you realize, O brothers in Islam, that Haraam earnings and transactions are evil, a calamity and trial in this world and punishment and Fire in the Hereafter – Allah’s refuge is sought. How can it befit a Muslim to hear this warning and see all the dangers, in this world and in Hereafter, posed by this type of interaction, and then not care about how he earns a living? As well as being indicative of a lack of religious commitment, this is also indicative of a problem in understanding and thinking, and shows that he is giving precedence to the transient over that which is eternal.

Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy upon him) narrated in his Sahih from Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu anha) that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu alayhi wassallam said:

“There will come a time when a man would not care about what he earns, whether it is from a Halaal source or a Haraam one.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, 2059]

Brothers in faith, today we are living in a time when this problem is prevalent. There are a lot of Haraam business transactions and evil earnings have become widespread. Many Muslims – may Allah guide them – are acquiring wealth by means of cheating and deceit in transactions, and by betrayal with regard to the work and responsibilities that are assigned to them.

The government employee who is negligent in doing his work and does not handle the Muslims’ requests properly is cheating in his work and exposing himself to guilt of consuming Haraam by taking his salary whilst neglecting his work and not paying attention to it. Some of them do not refrain from taking bribes to carry out some requests for the Muslims. Doing this is cheating the Muslims and betraying people in authority.

There are businessmen and traders who deal with Riba and Haraam loans, and conceal faults that may be present in products, and cheat the buyer with regard to the price, and cheat in weights and measures, or deal in Haraam things such as musical instruments and the like. Moreover, there are companies, institutions, and contractors whose people do not refrain from cheating and betraying the Muslims.

The same applies to those who treat workers and employees unfairly, delaying payment of their dues and refusing to pay them their salaries. In addition, there are those who deal with bribery and fraud, or steal from the public wealth of the Muslims, or use for personal benefit things that belong to the public.

There are those who deal in gambling, lotteries and Haraam types of insurance, or who engage in taking things by force and transgression, or artificially inflating prices; and those whose dealings are based on ambiguity and lies, whether they are dealing with individuals or official departments.

All of these people are dealing in Haraam and all of those transactions are crimes and shameful acts which render one ashamed and speechless before Allah and before the people. However, it is an obligation to point out all the problems that exist in Muslim society, so that people may avoid them and keep away from them. It is enough for the sensible man to visit some markets and other places of buying and selling, or food and clothing stores, or car showrooms, or the offices of real estate agents and so on, to find out some of the things that some companies, trading establishments and so on are doing, and to see with his own eyes the huge contrast between what is required in Islam and what actually happens in real life.

Do not ask about what happens in the courts and rights tribunals of disputes and conflicts over material matters having to do with money, real estate, piece of land, farms, roads and so on. What lies behind all of that is greed, wrongdoing and transgression against the rights of the Muslims. And Allah is the One Whose help we seek.

O Muslims, fear Allah concerning yourselves and your earnings. Look at what is going into your savings of money and what is going into your stomachs of food.

O traders and businessmen, be honest and sincere with Allah and with His slaves. Beware of wronging and cheating people. Glad tidings to the one whose earnings are Halaal, and how doomed is the one whose flesh has grown from Haraam things! The one who cares about his salvation should settle matters and give people their dues before death comes unexpectedly and he regrets his transgressions. The Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wassallam said:

“Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his wealth or honour, let him ask him to forgive him before it is taken from him when there are no dinars or dirhams and if he has any hasanaat, some will be taken and given to his brother, otherwise some of his brother’s sayyi’aat will be taken and put on him.” [Narrated by al-Bukhari, 2449, 6534; at-Tabaraani in Musnad al-Shaamiyyeen, 1326, from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu anha)]

Remember, O you who have wealth, that Allah will ask you about all of your wealth, great or small, on a tremendous Day when every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load (cf. 22:2). This is the Day when a person will not move on (on the Day of Judgement) until he has been asked about four things, including his wealth, from where he acquired it and on what he spent it, as it says in a Sahih report from the master of humankind Sallallahu alayhi wassallam, as was narrated by at-Tirmidhi and others from the Hadith of Abu Barzah (radhiallahu anha). [Narrated by ad-Daarimi, 554; at-Tirmidhi, 2417; Abu Ya’la, 7434].

So prepare an answer to this question, and make sure you will be able to give the right answer. How many are those who will be silenced and unable to answer because of the wealth they acquired by Haraam means – we seek Allah’s refuge. We ask Allah to suffice us by means of that which He has permitted so that we have no need of that which He has forbidden, and to suffice us by His grace so that we have no need of anyone other than Him, for He is Most Generous, Most Kind.

I say these words of mine and I ask Allah to forgive me and you and all the Muslims, so I ask Him for forgiveness, for He is the Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.


Praise be to Allah, much good and blessed praise, as much as our Lord loves and is pleased with. I bear witness that these is no god worthy of worship but Allah alone, with no partner or associate, the testimony by means of which we hope for salvation on the day when the contents of the graves are brought out and poured forth (i.e., when all humankind is resurrected). That is the Day when all that is in the hearts (of men) shall be made known (cf. 100:9-10). And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Slave of Allah and His Messenger, His beloved and His close friend. May Allah send blessings and peace upon him and upon his Family and Companions, and those who follow them in truth until the Day of Judgement.

To proceed:

Fear Allah, O slaves of Allah, and strive hard to ensure that your earnings are Halaal and blessed, no matter what they are, for Allah will never accept anything but that which is good (i.e., from a Halaal source). You should make sure that you understand clearly matters of Halaal and Haraam, and ask about anything you do not understand with regards to business transactions and dealings. Beware of grey areas and unclear matters, for whoever falls into them may then be lead into things that are Haraam. The Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wassallam said:

“That which is Halaal is clear and that which is Haraam is clear, and between them are doubtful matters which many people do not understand. Whoever guards against the doubtful matters will protect his religious commitment (from shortcomings) and will protect his honour (from slander), but whoever falls into that which is doubtful will fall into that which is Haraam.” [Narrated by al-Bukhari, 52; Muslim, 1599, from the Hadith of an-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (radhiallahu anha)]

Adhere to honesty and sincerity when carrying out your work as employees or as businessmen. Be sincere towards Allah and towards people authority who entrusted you with this work, by paying attention to what is in the best interests of the Muslims so that there will be an atmosphere of co-operation and love between the members of Muslim society. You should understand that what is Halaal is a blessing and mercy for you and your family and children and all of society. Remember that at the Reckoning you will be asked about every penny you earned and how you spent it. Whoever takes any salary or wages, Allah will ask him about the work he did. So be sincere and honest, O Muslims, in your dealings with others and in all your affairs, and you will be blessed and will prosper in this world and the Hereafter.

Send blessing and peace – may Allah have mercy on you – upon the one who was sent as a mercy and a blessing, your Prophet Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, as Allah has enjoined you to send blessings and peace upon him when He said:

“Allah sends His Salat (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) and also His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allah to bless) him (Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islamic way of greeting (salutation i.e. AsSalamu ‘Alaikum).” [Surah al-Ahzab, 33:56]

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