What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Are the earnings of taxi drivers in England halal (lawful) or haram (unlawful)? Many of the Muslims in England are taxi drivers and they drop and pick-up the Englishmen who go out every weekend to pubs and clubs where they drink alcohol and commit adultery. The taxi drivers accept fares from these people. These drivers cannot decline any trip as all of them work under some or the other company. In any case, they get such customers who go to pubs and clubs. Are their earnings lawful or unlawful? If a taxi driver makes an intention to drop such a customer to the club so that he can commit acts of sin, then what will be the ruling on the income in this case? Kindly provide proofs as well.
Questioner: Muhsin from UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
The taxi drivers’ income is absolutely lawful as they are charging them (the Englishmen) money to drop them to their requested location. Dropping any Muslim or non-Muslim, on wages, to their requested location is in and of itself permissible. These earnings are also lawful, provided that there is no other legal objection. Committing acts of sin are the tenant’s own personal acts. His sins will not have an effect on the taxi driver’s earnings.
The gravest sin of shirk (polytheism) and kufr (infidelity) takes place in Christian churches, but even then, for a Muslim, building a church is similar to building a house. Constructing any house is in and of itself permissible and the earnings from it are lawful.
It is mentioned in Fatawa Qadi Khan:
لوآجر نفسہ یعمل فی الکنیسۃ ویعمر ھالاباس بہ لانہ لامعصیۃ فی عین العمل
Translation: “There is no problem in a labourer working in a church or even constructing it because there is no sin in his very act.” [Fatawa Qadi Khan, 4/794]
The wages paid to the Muslim labourer are in return of his work. Constructing a house is a permissible job and hence the earnings are lawful. Similarly, renting out a house to a Magian, a Christian or a Jew is permissible, even if (the Magian) sets up a fire temple in it, or if (the Christian) sets up a church in it, or if alcohol is sold in it, etc. The rent obtained is in lieu of the use of the house. This is absolutely permissible and would not be considered as cooperation in committing a sin.
It is mentioned in al-Hidaya:
وَمَنْ أَجَّرَ بَيْتًا لِيُتَّخَذَ فِيهِ بَيْتُ نَارٍ أَوْ كَنِيسَةٌ أَوْ بِيعَةٌ أَوْ يُبَاعُ فِيهِ الْخَمْرُ بِالسَّوَادِ فَلَا بَأْسَ بِهِ وَهَذَا عِنْدَ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ لأَنَّ الْإِجَارَةَ تَرِدُ عَلَى مَنْفَعَةِ الْبَيْتِ، وَلِهَذَا تَجِبُ الْأُجْرَةُ بِمُجَرَّدِ التَّسْلِيمِ، وَلَا مَعْصِيَةَ فِيهِ، وَإِنَّمَا الْمَعْصِيَةُ بِفِعْلِ الْمُسْتَأْجِرِ، وَهُوَ مُخْتَارٌ
Translation: “There is no problem in renting out a house for a fire temple, church or liquor shop to be set up in it, as the rent obtained is in lieu of the use of the house. Thus, the payment of rent is obligated once the house is handed over (to the tenant), and there is no sin in this. The sin is the action of the tenant for which he himself is responsible.” [al-Hidaya, 4/470]
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) was asked regarding treating an adulteress and accepting wages for the same, to which he replied, “If there is no harm to the body caused by the ailment, and it is only an obstacle in committing adultery, treating it would not benefit her health but rather facilitate adultery, e.g. tightness or looseness in the vagina, which is not harmful per se but publicising it affects the prostitute market. Based on reasoning upon the opinion of the Sahibayn (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad), this can be called assistance. However, according to Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him), this is not impermissible, as the doctor treats her with good intentions, and sinning or not sinning is her own act. This is similar to someone building a church or a temple or renting out a house to a prostitute.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 24, pg. 179]
If a taxi driver drops a (non-Muslim) Englishman or a Muslim to a club with an impermissible intention that the latter can commit sin there, then the wage earned in such a trip is permissible even though the former is sinful due to his ill intention.
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) was asked: “Zaid is the owner of a hotel. However, he himself does not run it. He has rented it out to someone who runs it. The tenants serve wine and pork to the British in the hotel. Is the rent for the hotel building permissible or not?”
He (may Allah have mercy upon him) replied: “Zaid is not blameworthy, as he has only rented out the hotel building and the above-mentioned acts are carried out by the tenants.
وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَۃٌ وِّزْرَ اُخْرٰی
“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.” [al-Fatir, 18]
In this case, the rent obtained is lawful. If he has given an Islamic place solely for such impermissible purposes, then he will be sinful. However, the rent is in lieu of the use of the house and not those acts. Thus, it will be lawful in this case as well.”
[Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 19, pg. 520]
Thus, we conclude that the taxi driver will be sinful for his ill intention. However, his earning is in lieu of the service provided to the customer, which is lawful.
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath team
Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0394] Are earnings of a taxi-driver regarded as Halal?