When A Disbeliever works in A Company Owned by A Musiim
In the name of Allah, peace and prayer of Allah be upon His messenger, amma ba’du
In general, muslims are allowed to employ disbeliever in their company or foundation. There are several indications that support this claim. In his book of sound hadith, Imam al Bukhari wrote in a chapter titlled ,
باب إِذَا وَكَّلَ الْمُسْلِمُ حَرْبِيًّا فِى دَارِ الْحَرْبِ ، أَوْ فِى دَارِ الإِسْلاَمِ، جَازَ
It is allowed for a muslim to be represented by a harb infidel (the part of disbelievers/infidels with the harshest enmity towards Islam–ed) in a harb country, or in a islamic country. (see: Shahih Bukhari, 8/349).
And his opinion regarding law matters is known by every title of the chapter in his book of valid hadith.
Then he mentioned a hadith from Abdurrahman bin Auf –may Allah be pleased with him-, in which he said,
كَاتَبْتُ أُمَيَّةَ بْنَ خَلَفٍ كِتَابًا بِأَنْ يَحْفَظَنِى فِى صَاغِيَتِى بِمَكَّةَ ، وَأَحْفَظَهُ فِى صَاغِيَتِهِ بِالْمَدِينَةِ
I wrote a letter to Muawiya Ibn Khalaf to protect my kins in Mecca, and I’ll protect his kins in Medina. (Narrated by Bukhari no. 2301).
Al Hafidz Ibn Hajar explained what Imam Bukhari meant by saying,
ووجه أخذ الترجمة من هذا الحديث أن عبد الرحمن بن عوف وهو مسلم في دار الإسلام فوض إلى أمية بن خلف وهو كافر في دار الحرب ما يتعلق بأموره والظاهر اطلاع النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم عليه ولم ينكره قال بن المنذر توكيل المسلم حربيا مستأمنا وتوكيل الحربي المستأمن مسلما لا خلاف في جوازه
This is Imam Bukhari’s opinion regarding this hadith, because Abdurrahman Ibn Auf was a muslim who lived in a country of muslims. He delegated an affair to Umayyah Ibn Khalaf, an infidel who lived in a harb country (country of enemy of islam) to take care of that affair for him. What it seems is that it was under the knowledge of the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and he didn’t deny it. Ibn al Mundzir said that it is allowed for a muslim to delegate an affair to a harb infidel or musta’min, or vice versa, an infidel delegate his affair to a muslim, without any dissenting opinion among the scholars. (See: Fathul Bari, 4/480).
The muslims are allowed to employ disbeliever, in affairs that do not require a muslim and honest person to work it. Therefore, an apostate is also allowed to work in institutions owned by muslims.
Ibn Qudama said,
وإن وكل مسلم كافرا فيما يصح تصرفه فيه صح توكيله سواء كان ذميا أو مستأمنا أو حربيا أو مرتدا لأن العدالة غير مشترطة فيه وكذلك الدين كالبيع وإن وكل مسلما فارتد لم تبطل الوكالة سواء لحق بدار الحرب أو أقام. وقال أبو حنيفة : إن لحق بدار الحرب بطلت وكالته لأنه صار منهم
If a muslim delegates his affair to a disbeliever in matter that is permissible to do, the delegation Is valid, whether he is a dzimmi, musta’min, harb disbeliever, or an apostate. Because the quality of fair (honest and decent) is not a requirement in this matter. Likewise in debt, such as in selling and purchasing transaction. If there is a muslim who becomes a delegation, then he commits apostasy, the transaction of delegating is not nullified by it. Whether he moves to the country of disbeliever or stays at the muslim country.
Whereas Abu Hanifa said that if that apostate moves to country of disbeliever, the transaction of delegating is nullified, since he becomes one of them. (See: al-Mughni, 5/245)
Not in Strategic Position
The scholars have drawn the line that it is not allowed to employ or appoint a disbeliever to occupy strategic position, such as one that might decide a policy regarding the need of the muslims, or one that enable them to fool the muslims.
They argued by a statement of Zaid Ibn Tsabit –may Allah be pleased with him-,
أَمَرَنِى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- أَنْ أَتَعَلَّمَ لَهُ كَلِمَاتِ كِتَابِ يَهُودَ. قَالَ « إِنِّى وَاللَّهِ مَا آمَنُ يَهُودَ عَلَى كِتَابٍ ». قَالَ فَمَا مَرَّ بِى نِصْفُ شَهْرٍ حَتَّى تَعَلَّمْتُهُ لَهُ قَالَ فَلَمَّا تَعَلَّمْتُهُ كَانَ إِذَا كَتَبَ إِلَى يَهُودَ كَتَبْتُ إِلَيْهِمْ وَإِذَا كَتَبُوا إِلَيْهِ قَرَأْتُ لَهُ كِتَابَهُمْ
The Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- once ordered me to learn the written language of the jews. He said, ‘By Allah, I don not trust a jew to translate letter.’
Zaid said. ‘In just half a month time, I was able to master language of the jew. After I understood it, whenever he wanted to send a letter to a the jews, it was I who wrote it for him. And if he received a letter, it was I who read their letter for him.” (Narrated by Abu Daud no. 3647, Turmudzi no. 2933, and classified as sound hadith by al Albani).
In “Aunul Ma’bud”, explanation for Sunan Abu Daud, it is said that,
أي أخاف إن أمرت يهوديا بأن يكتب كتابا إلى اليهود أو يقرأ كتابا جاء من اليهود أن يزيد فيه أو ينقص
It means that he was worried, that when he ordered a jew to convey letter to another jew tribe or to read a letter from jews, he’ll add or lessen its content. (See: Aunul Ma’bud, Syarh Sunan Abi Daud, 10/56)
Another indication that supports this statement is a hadith from Aisha –may Allah be pleased with her – who told about the story of Allah’s apostle –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- emigrating from Mecca to Medina. Aisha said,
اسْتَأْجَرَ النَّبِىُّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ رَجُلاً مِنْ بَنِى الدِّيلِ ثُمَّ مِنْ بَنِى عَبْدِ بْنِ عَدِىٍّ هَادِيًا خِرِّيتًا – الْخِرِّيتُ الْمَاهِرُ بِالْهِدَايَةِ – قَدْ غَمَسَ يَمِينَ حِلْفٍ فِى آلِ الْعَاصِ بْنِ وَائِلٍ ، وَهْوَ عَلَى دِينِ كُفَّارِ قُرَيْشٍ ، فَأَمِنَاهُ فَدَفَعَا إِلَيْهِ رَاحِلَتَيْهِمَا ، وَوَعَدَاهُ غَارَ ثَوْرٍ بَعْدَ ثَلاَثِ لَيَالٍ ، فَأَتَاهُمَا بِرَاحِلَتَيْهِمَا ، صَبِيحَةَ لَيَالٍ ثَلاَثٍ ، فَارْتَحَلاَ ، وَانْطَلَقَ مَعَهُمَا عَامِرُ بْنُ فُهَيْرَةَ ، وَالدَّلِيلُ الدِّيلِىُّ فَأَخَذَ بِهِمْ أَسْفَلَ مَكَّةَ وَهْوَ طَرِيقُ السَّاحِلِ
The Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and Abu Bakr –may Allah be pleased with him- hired a man from the tribe of ad Dil and tribe of Abd Ibn Adi as a guide and map reader. They were relatives with al Ash ibn Wail. At that time he believed as the polytheist of quraish believed. The Prophet and Abu Bakr trusted that man and trusted their mounts on them. They agreed to meet at the cave of Tsur 3 days forward. Then the man came leading their mounts in the morning of the third night. Then they departed. And Amir Ibn Fuhair also went with them. The guide took the coastal path.” (narrated by Bukhari no. 2263)
Imam Ahmad stated that it is allowed to work with jews and christians, with a requirement that they have no chance of taking control of company’s wealth, and they are not allowed to manage it without accompany of muslim. Only muslims that are allowed to manage the wealth, because jews and christians practice usury. (See: al-Mughni, 5/3)
In his book titled “ayatul ahkam”, as Shabuni mentioned the opinion of majority of the scholars,
أما استخدام الكافر في عمل لا ولاية فيه، كنحت الحجارة والبناء والنجارة، فلا يظهر دخوله في المنع، وهذا قول جمهور الفقهاء
Employing a disbeliever in affair that is not strategic, such as stonemason, bricklayer, or carpenter, is not prohibited. This is the opinion of majority of the scholars. (See: Rawai’ al-Bayan, 1/574).
Dr. Sa’duddin al Kabi said,
وقد عامل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اليهود في المزارعة وهو عمل محدود ومقيد بالزراعة. وإذا جاز عمل المشرك فيما لا ضرر فيه ولا ولاية، كالمزارعة، جاز في غيرها
The Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- employed the jews to look after the palm-date plantation, and this work was confined to only look after it. If it is allowed to employ disbeliever in affair that is not threatening the muslim, and without guving them chance to take control, such as looking after plantation, it means that it is allowed to employ them for other condition. (See: al-Mu’amalat al-Maliyah al-Mu’ashirah, page 674)
Allah knows best.