Impermissibility of Assisting in Sin
It is of vital importance for Muslim professionals dealing with Muslim/non-Muslim employers and
clients to be aware of the following principle in Islam:
Translation: And assist one another in righteousness and piety, but do not assist one another in sin and transgression
Where to Draw the Line with regard to the above Principle
Due to the widespread of impermissible businesses around the globe, a Muslim is constantly in a dilemma of where to draw the line with regards to the above principle as most businesses today directly or indirectly deal in Haram avenues. This is why it is necessary to understand what is regarded as ‘assisting in sin’ and what is not. The former Grand Mufti of Pakistan Hazrat Mufti Shafi Saheb Rahmatullahi Alaihi laid out a few principles with regards to this in an Arabic article which was later recorded in his Kitab Jawahirul Fiqh (7/505). Hereunder we provide the summary of that article based on Mufti Sahebs research:
Types of Assistance in Sin
There are two categories of assistance in sin:
1. Assisting in the actual sin itself.
2. To be a means for a sin being committed.
1. Assisting in the Actual Sin
This is of three categories:
1. The intention of sin is made in reality; e.g. a person sells grape juice with the intention that wine be made from it.
2. The mention of sin is clearly made during the transaction; e.g. Zaid requests Amr to sell him grape juice so that he could make wine out of it and Amr agrees to it and sells him the grape juice.
3. The item sold or hired can only be used for sin and cannot be used for any other purpose; e.g. selling or hiring of musical instruments.
These actions constitute the actual meaning of assisting in sin. The parties involved in such transactions will be sinful regardless of the fact that the actual sin was carried out or not. Thus all such transactions which are related to any of the above three categories are Haram and impermissible.
2. To be a Means for a Sin Being Committed
Any action that is a means for a sin being committed, but does not fall under any of the abovementioned categories will be regarded as التسبب إلى المعصية (being a means for a sin to be committed). Such sins are then categorized into three categories:
1. سبب قريب محرك للمعصية – Those actions/transactions that are directly related to the sin and are a means for the sin coming into existence in such a way that if the action did not take place the sin would not have been committed. For example insulting the deities of the disbelievers will result in the disbelievers reviling Allah Ta’ala. Thus in verse 6:108 of the Holy Qur’anو Muslims are prohibited from using abusive language in regards to the deities of the disbelievers. Such actions are prohibited in Islam and the one committing such an action will be sinful.
2. سبب قريب غير مجرك للمعصية بل موصل إلى المعصية – Those actions or transactions that are directly related to the sin but are not a means for the sin to come into existence. In other words the sin is carried out by another person with his own will and intention. For example, selling grape juice to a person who will make wine out of it, but the person selling the grape juice does not make intention of wine being made out of it. So although selling grape juice is such an action which may lead to sin i.e. making wine but many people do not sell it for this purpose although there is a possibility that someone buys it for this purpose. The ruling with regards to such actions/transactions will be that if the person’s sole intention is to assist in that sin then this transaction will be Haram. If he had no intention of assisting in that sin but had knowledge of the sin being committed then the action/transaction will be Makrooh.
Then this Karahat will be of two types:
1. If the item sold or hired is such that without any amendments or changes that item itself is used for sin or Haram then this transaction will be Makroohe Tahreemi. For example serving alcohol to a person who drinks it.
2. If the item itself is not used for sin, but only after making some changes or amendments in that item it is used for sin then this transaction will be Makroohe Tanzihi.
And if the person did not have knowledge of the sin being committed then the action/transaction will be permissible.
3. سبب بعيد – Those actions/transactions that are not directly related to the sin, but become a means for the sin to be committed at a later stage. For example, selling grapes to a person who will later make it into grape juice to make wine from it, leasing out one’s animal to a person who intends undertaking a journey of sin. Likewise selling wood to some one who will use it to build a church. Such actions/transactions are permissible although not preferable if the person knows that the sin will be committed.
Answers to your queries based on the aforementioned principles
1. It is impermissible to transport musical instruments.
2. It is permissible however disliked (Makrooh e Tanzihi) to transport bottles to a beer company.
3. It is permissible however disliked (Makrooh e Tanzihi) to transport sorghum or sugar cane to an ethanol company.
4. It is not permissible to transport weapons to a non-Muslim military base who are aiding against the wars of a Muslim country. 5. It is permissible, however disliked (Makrooh e Tanzihi) to transport grapes to wine farmers who make wine.
6. It is not permissible to transport televisions.
7. It is permissible to hire out trucks to a circus company.
8. It is not permissible to transport bibles.
9. It is permissible however not preferable to transport steel, wood, doors etc to a church.
10. It is permissible however disliked (Makrooh e Tanzihi) to transport electrical equipment to a cinema.
11. It is permissible to lend out your trucks to Gold Reef City, Ratanga Junction etc.
12. It is permissible to hire out cars to a bank as long as the car is not used for Haram purposes.
13. It is not permissible to paint ‘Musica’, ‘Hot Babes’, ‘Beer Today’ or anything that promotes and advertises sin on a car.
14. It is permissible to have a taxi business and take Muslim children to the zoo etc.