Answered by Shaykh Abul ‘Ataa Ahmad Banaja (may Allah preserve him)
What is the ruling on income obtained by working in a free mixing environment? Does it come under the category of unlawful incomes?
If the person is doing a Halal work, but if it includes free mixing, the income is Halal, but he is committing sin. For example, someone working as a baker is Halal. But if he is working with the free-mixing workers, then he is committing sin in terms of that. But the money that come from selling his bread is Halal. So, this is something and that is something else. The work environment is Haram, but the income is Halal.
Another person sells bread, and no one comes to buy from him, no one is interested in his bread. So, he brings women into his shop to attract customers and suddenly his sale increased. In this case, his income is Haram, even though he is selling bread. This is because, the cause for his income is free mixing and it is Haram. Customers are not interested in his bread, they come because of the women there.
So, if you understood these two examples, I would like to give you a rule. In Sharee’ah, regarding income, we differentiate between the reasons for your income and the way of earning your income. Sometimes, the reason for your income is Halal, but the way you gain it is Haram. So, your income is Halal, but you are sinful for the way you chose to earn it.
For example, someone rents his house for someone who is selling alcohol. In this case, his income is rent, and it is Halal, but he is sinful for aiding to sell alcohol. He is a sinner from this angle. We do not say his income is Haram, but we say he is committing a big sin, by aiding in sin and aggression.
Allah ta’aala said in the Quran:
وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡعُدۡوَ ٰنِۚ
“And do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” [Surah Al-Ma’idah 2]
This case is different from a person who earns income by selling machines that make alcohol. Here the income is completely Haram. The way, and the income itself.
So, what is the benefit of this differentiating? The Answer is, we have very great and important benefits in it. For instance, in the first case of renting house, if the person passes away, his children are allowed to inherit that house which has been rented out for selling alcohol. The second case, of alcohol making machine, his children cannot inherit the machines in order to sell it. It itself is Haram.
قال رسول الله ﷺ (( كل لحم نبت من سحت فالنار أولى به)) روى الترمذي (614) و حسنه عن كعب بن عجرة و صححه الألباني في “صحيح الترمذي”. و رواه أحمد (14032) ورد في مسند الإمام أحمد و جامع الترمذي و كتب أخرى، و هو حديث صحيح
Prophet ﷺ said: “There is no flesh raised that sprouts from the unlawful except that the Fire is more appropriate for it.”
In the first case, if he is feeding his family with this rent money, its Halal for them, and Haram on him. Even if the children are able to find an alternate way of income, its Halal for them. But in the second case, if the children are able to find another means of income, its not allowed for them to use this money. Because the income itself is Haram.
So, the ruling will be different according to the situation. And by differentiating like this, you can determine whether the income is Halal or Haram and can put the correct judgment. Do not mix in between them. It will create a big misunderstanding and wrong judgments.
.نسأل الله السلامة والعافية