Question # 225: Can I work in Finance department of a company that brews wine? Is it halal? Or can I work at a company that makes bottles for wine?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Working in the field of accounting/finance is legitimate in Shari`ah unless this work is for organizations that engage in prohibited activities, such as selling alcohol or pork products. Since the main activity of the company in which you are seeking potential employment is of a prohibited nature, the basic principle would be avoidance, in order to stay away from participating in anything prohibited, except for in unavoidable circumstances, where the exigency would need be considered on a case-to-case basis and at the same time, steps should be taken to bring the condition to an end. And remember, whoever gives up a thing for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him with something better than that. 

Long Answer: Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Help you one another in AlBirr and AtTaqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression” (Soorah al-Maa’idah, 5:2)

It was narrated by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah that Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “May Allah curse wine, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who squeezes (the grapes etc.), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who carries it and the one to whom it is carried.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)

It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez (رضي الله عنه) caught some people drinking alcohol, and it was said to him that one of the people present was fasting, but he carried out the punishment on him too and recited this verse: “And it has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the Verses of Allah being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them. Surely, Allah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell” (Sooran an-Nisa’a, 4:140), i.e., approving of a sin is also sin. Hence the one who did it and the one who approved of it were both punished for sin, so they are all doomed… Moreover, there is the fear that if a person works in such [prohibited] places, his faith will become weak and he will lose any sense of gheerah (protective jealousy, pride). The Shaytaan may entice him to commit sin. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan. And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytaan, then, verily, he commands AlFahsha [i.e. to commit indecency], and AlMunkar [disbelief and polytheism (i.e. to do evil and wicked deeds; and to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islam)]” (Soorah an-Noor, 24:21) (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

The following is the extract of “Decisions and recommendations of the Fifth Conference of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA)” held in Manama, Bahrain 14 – 17 Dhul-Qadah 1428 | November 24 – 27, 2007:

VI. Working in the field of accounting

  1. Working in the field of accounting is legitimate in Shari`ah because the accountant’s job is technical. It is based on legitimate employment skills and the basic principle regarding things is permissibility— there is no prohibition without evidence from Shari`ah — unless this work is for institutions that engage in prohibited activities, such as selling alcohol or pork products. That would not be permissible unless one finds exigent need as defined by the established rules of Shari`ah: this need must be judged according to its extent, steps must be taken to end it, and one must maintain the intention of changing this line of work as soon as possible.
  1. If, however, both lawful and prohibited are combined in the work an accountant is assigned to process, then, if the lawful is predominant, exemption would be made to do this when necessary, but one must get rid of a percentage of the money earned in proportion to the amount of the work that was prohibited. Still, there remains a doubtful aspect to this type of job that would call for the employee to search for other work which is not doubtful. If activities of a prohibited nature predominate, however, the basic principle would be avoidance, in order to stay away from participating in anything prohibited or assisting in it. That said, exigent needs must be considered, as long as they are judged according to their extent and steps are taken to bring the condition to an end.
  1. There is nothing wrong with an accountant working (as a freelance employee), when his role is confined to processing financial decisions, without direct participation in them, for he merely serves to convey a realistic picture. There are no exceptions to this rule, save for institutions whose main activities revolve around prohibited matters.”

Remember the words of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى): “And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things” (Soorah al-Talaaq, 65:2-3) And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever gives up a thing for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him with something better than that.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albani) Do not forget that no soul will ever die until it has been given its full provision, sooner or later. (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.