Muslims, Professions and Halal Work

Discussion in 'Islam' started by Amica, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. Amica

    Amica Member

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    Assalamu alaikum everyone:

    Question: do you find that by the standards of Ulamma, most Muslims are disadvantaged in terms of their choice of profession in the West? For example, many scholars/imams advise people to steer away from the financial sector professions in the West due to Riba, whether one is directly providing and earning income from Riba, or indirectly dealing with it (e.g. documenting Riba income and expenses). So, what is a Muslim to do then? Some go even so far as stating that even if your job position is not directly related to haram services, if your employer is doing some haram work then your income is haram. Say, for example a person works in administration management at a clinic that in addition to general services provides also abortion service. While not performing abortions themselves, would this person's income be haram too?

    Seems to me that regardless, a Muslim is professionally doomed. He/she can only work poor jobs then such as cleaning, construction, personal business if they have the financial means and skills to start it, etc.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    riba...is that usury or all interest?

    haram...that is bad/sin?

    ulamma theology? Scholarly?
     
  3. Amica

    Amica Member

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    Yes, riba is interest/usury. Islam forbids it as it is viewed as making money in an illegal way. Haram just means prohibited. Ulamma refers to the religious leadership.
     
  4. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    While I understand the issue with interest, I find the rest of this to be nonsense (please be aware I respect the scholars for what they know of the Quran, but at least what has been described to me in English does not warrant half of the worry they place on everyday life). My suggestion (and take it with knowledge that I am no Expert) is to focus on the more important aspects of Islam. Ensure you understand the Quran, offer your Salaat, Give your Zakaat, fast for Ramadan, Arrange for Hajj, and above all remember the Shahada. Then learn the Quran and it's laws. Then after all this is complete (or worked on and perfected) focus on rearranging your life to fit the lesser points. I am not advising you to charge interest, nor work for someone who does, but rather that someone telling you that you should not work somewhere because you will be 3 parties separated from someone who does something Haram is a bit extreme and borders on men telling you what is right and wrong for their own reasons. In a perfect life, yes you (as a female) would not work (unless you chose to in a female friendly environment) and your husband and yourself would be working for a completely Halal business that is completely separated from anything Haram. If you live a life where you can be completely free of Haram things even by association, you probably are not on this Earth.

    Again Disclaimer: My Opinion... Nothing More
     
  5. Amica

    Amica Member

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    I smiled reading your reply, BJ, because I agree on many points with you. Living in the West and having no means to migrate anywhere else where such perfect, halal life exists (and where there is no war and I can speak their language to be able to work in accordance to my education), I find that sometimes what religious leadership advises is so not compatible with what we are facing on a daily basis. Unless one is willing to live a life of hardship financially. At the same time, I want to do things right. Currently, I am looking for a job in healthcare administration as per my graduate studies. Where can I find work besides hospitals and clinics where there might be services provided that, in accordance to my religious views, are prohibited. For example, a patient coming for an abortion pill. When that patient leaves the clinic paying for the service, and if I am an administrator there, is my income then haram? No matter if I was not the person performing the abortion. Many in the leadership would say 'yes, your income is haram." So, what am I to do, then? Also, I work in mental health now. Many of my patients are homosexual. In accordance to the norms, policies and practices, I am not to tell any of my homosexual patients that their lifestyle is wrong and that they should stop it. So, am I still earning halal income? Again, the scholars/imams would tell me probably: no. So, what is a Muslim to do? If you work in a department store, then is it halal to sell miniskirts? What about restaurants: do you just refuse to serve a banker who does business with interest? What about a math teacher who works in a school where Darwin's theory of evolution is taught?

    I sometimes feel that while Islam is easy to understand, its practice in the West is so difficult.
     
  6. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I think you are grasping my point quite well. 1st. Allah never appoints us to HAVE TO judge anyone. So IMO your work with Mental Health is both HALAL and respectable. You did not tell them to do their acts, nor am I thinking you are advising them that their acts are Halal. (mind you I don't find being Homosexual a sin, but rather acting on those feeling and committing the act of homosexuality). Even in many Shariah(ish) dictated countries these same issues pop up and if you have a good conscience you cannot refuse to help. (I give you that giving someone an abortion pill or especially giving someone an abortion directly might be a little over the line).

    BTW I want to comment on some of your examples.

    I think you will find many that will say yes as well.

    If you sell a young lady (or guy... for purpose of western equality) a miniskirt. How would that be Haram? You have not advised her to wear in in public, and there is nothing Haram to wear in your home (ok maybe a pigskin tunic isn't best, but we get the point)

    No, how he earned his money is his own business. He owes you money for services rendered and he is giving you your payment. Halal transaction. Now if you were wearing a Miniskirt and he is paying you because you aroused him... :D maybe that is Haram

    You aren't in control over what the other teachers teach. Nor what the board recommends (unless you are the board).

    All this comes down to you are only responsible for avoiding sin from yourself. Do your best to avoid the Haram, but Allah did not make this test too hard for you. Remember that. If everything any scholar said was true, all men would be Imams, and all Women sex slaves (that can cook/ clean/ raise kids/ all the while learning as much as their husbands). Also if your intention is pure, so are your actions.

    BTW, why do you assume Darwin's theory is completely Haram? Many scholars have pointed to many Aya that support these theories.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    What exactly is the issue with Riba? Interest? if I use my money to buy a product or create a website which sells a product, I get profit...hopefully. however if I invest my money in something I can't expect a return?

    why would I lend my money to anyone if my money is better served buying and selling?

    I don't understand.
     
  8. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Interest is essentially unearned money. You did nothing to earn it. You essentially are making money because you have money. You also have no motivation to give away as much charity as that money is essentially your way of gaining more.

    Now for the other side. Investment is a grey area as you aren't necessarily earning interest. you are putting money into a company in an attempt to make it grow. Buying into it. If you sell your portion that you purchased, you gain what you were a part of the company.
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I don't see how that is different... If i earn money... I can build a business with it to make it grow...if someone else wants to borrow my money...it is money I don't have to grow my business...therefor, I'd expect to be compensated.

    So home ownership? Car ownership? No loans...you wait till you have all the money needed? Or are there Muslim banks you can put money in...or take money out on a no interest loan?
     
  10. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    Islamic scholarly tradition is still stuck somewhere in 11th century. Things have changed a lot since then and the scholars dont realise that. They dont realize that the microphone and laptop they are using were invented by some christian, manufactured by some chinese, and both funded by some bank, on usury. They are absolutely clueless about modern economics, let alone modifying it to some thing sharia compliant. So till the time comes when scholars start living and thinking in 21st century, I am with BigJoe. There is no other way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  11. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    Will,

    Its difficult to understand if you dont know the basic principles of Islamic economics. If you are really interested, try "problem with interest" by Tariq al Diwany.

    Simply putting it, Islam wants both parties to be partners in both profit and loss. In interest based systems, one side always makes money, regardless of the business going up or down. Which is the main injustice islam is against
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    That was a perfect explanation and absolutely understandable. I am involved in renting an apartment to a Muslim couple and by local law we are required to put the deposit in a separate interest bearing account and that interest accrued is to be returned to the renter with the deposit when they leave the rental unit... they insisted that was not required, the interest was not theirs. That confusion along with this explanation makes some sense.
    this however makes no sense... they were born in the 21st century... hard to understand how they are stuck. (of course over here we have Amish and Mennonites with similar issues)
     
  13. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    Well you have to follow your law. But Islamically speaking, if you invest that money in a equity/business, then the derivative/profit will be perfectly allowed. But bank isnt taking any risk, which is inherent in a business. Which means bank is always making money regardless of business condition. Which is the basic issue islam has against usury.

    The usual Islamic curriculum starts with Plato/Aristotle and ends at Ghazali. Afterwards muslims stopped creating knowledge due to various different reasons. The new explosion of knowledge the happened after Descartes is nonexistent in that curriculum. Since that new thought came to muslim lands with colonialism and massive cultural genocide it didnt take root among the conservatives who saw it as cultural invasion for some 400 years. Things are changing now but it will take time.
     
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Banks aren't taking risks? what if the loan defaults? what if the business collapses? What if the collateral becomes useless? what if the bank gets robbed..what about paying employees, utilities, building the building, the vault, the accounting?

    This is what confuses me. this is a list of failed banks and lending institutions....no risk? http://www.bankrate.com/finance/savings/map-of-failed-banks.aspx or are we back to the difference between this and 11th century thinking?
     
  15. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Then it comes down to another section of Islam. Only spending what Allah has granted you. If you do that, then there is no need for a loan except in extreme circumstances, to which a goodhearted fellow might lend you the money. His reward should be in heaven, not Earthly boon.

    kinda off track I guess. But hopefully this kindof shows why it is tough to explain Shariah to people outside of Islam. There are so many facets, and all are woven together. If all are followed, it makes perfect sense. If not, something seems like a hindrance.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    We've got Amish who don't use technology past a certain date.... If there is a G!d I believe she is part of the advance of technology.

    We've got denominations who won't use medical help... Gods will they say.... If there is a G!d I believe she works with doctors and medicine in healing...

    Same with banking....here in the states...we believe G!d is in banking....G!d wants us to have a Porsche and will allow us to pay for it over 6 years time...and wants us to have a house for 10% down and pay 3x the price over 30 years...and wants us to have revolving credit and pay the minimum balance so we can pay 20x as much....and wants us to have a debit card so when we need $20 bucks we can pay $3 (15%) for access to our own money.

    ah...now I understand your system..
     
  17. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    Its complicated. Islamic economics and modern economics are based on two completely different sets of values.

    Firstly, in an Islmaic state basic necessities are supposed to be taken care of by the state. Baisc food, health, security, education, housing, and insurance for all that are state's responsibility. You cant do business upon somebody's survival. If the state isnt providing you with all that than go kick the Caliph out. He is no good.

    Secondly, business is supposed to be financed directly by common people, not by an artificially created private entity which has the right to create wealth without creating value, aka bank. What bank does is basically legitimized fraud. You cant legally do it, they can. If business is directly financed by people, they will have real share in real business and will be benefited directly by the economic growth, rather than the trickle down economy of today.

    Consumer financing, that doesent include basic survival needs is a separate business. Its a luxury providing business, so money making from it is allowed. There are islamic ijara contracts for that which divide the risk equally between financing entity and lets say the Porsche buyer.

    Banks go broke because of banks own faulty design, not because they are taking part/share of the risk.You will have to study the origins and workings of "bank" entity to understand it. People have written whole books upon it, I cant just explain it in one post.

    Its not just economics, islam is a completely different meta narrative, takes a lot of time to assimilate. So does the understanding of modern economics. Where does the global state debt come from? Why are you supposed to pay it back? Why cant you just print money the way bank did? Why is USA under so much debt? Why doesnt the state of USA print its own money rather that taking it on usury by some private entity whom state itself has given the right to print money out of nowhere? The more you get the answers, the more you will realize how mind bogglingly nonsensical this whole system is. And why what Islam says is right.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  18. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Thank you all for the education.... I still don't grock it all... but have a much clearer picture.
     
  20. Amica

    Amica Member

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    Thank you all for great post replies. Any bit education about the islamic economics helps me too.
     

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