Ruling of Working at Disbeliever’s Place
Author: ustadz Ammi Nur Baits
In the name of Allah, peace and prayer of Allah be upon His messenger, amma ba’du,
Islam allows its followers to interact with disbelievers. Moreover, this tradition was commonly done by the Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and his companions. They interacted socially and economically with jews around Medina. And before that, the muslims had also interacted with the disbelievers of Quraish who were their arc enemy.
Imam Bukhari wrote a chapter in his book of valid hadith, ,
باب الشراء والبيع مع المشركين وأهل الحرب
Chapter: Trading with disbelievers and harbi infidels
Then he brought a narration from Abdurrahman bin Abi Bakr – may Allah be pleased with them both – that he once was with the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- then a disbeliever with disheveled hair, tall built, came, bringing with him several goats. The Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- then asked,
بَيْعًا أَمْ عَطِيَّةً
‘‘Will you sell or present it?”
“I’ll sell it’, replied the disbeliever.
Then the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- bought one of the goats. (Narrated by Bukhari no. 2216).
Imam al Bukhari also wrote a chapter title,
باب الأسواق التي كانت في الجاهلية فتبايع بها الناس في الإسلام
Chapter of markets in time of ignorance, used for trading after the dawn of Islam.
Then he brought upon a narration from Ibn Abbas, ,
كَانَتْ عُكَاظٌ وَمَجَنَّةُ وَذُو الْمَجَازِ أَسْوَاقًا فِى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ ، فَلَمَّا كَانَ الإِسْلاَمُ تَأَثَّمُوا مِنَ التِّجَارَةِ فِيهَا ، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ( لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ ) فِى مَوَاسِمِ الْحَجِّ
In the past, ukadz, majannah, and Dzul Majaz were markets in the time of ignorance. After they ruled, the companions were hesitant to trade there. Then Allah sent down His decree, which can be translated as, “There are no sin of you….’ During the pilgrimage time. (Narrated by Bukhari no. 2098).
Sheikh al Islam also mentioned another indication that allows muslim to interact with disbeliever even though with the one of harshest enmity (harb). He said,
إن الرجل لو سافر إلى دار الحرب ليشتري منها، جاز عندنا، كما دل عليه حديث تجارة أبي بكر -رضي الله عنه- في حياة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى أرض الشام، وهي دار حرب
If there is a person who journeyed to the land of the harb (the country of the disbeliever with harshest enmity with Islam), in order to buy something from him, in our opinion, it is allowed for him to do so. As it was shown in a hadith about the trading of Abu Bakr –may Allah be pleased with him- to Syam during the time of the Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him–. Whereas at that time, Syam was considered a land of the harb infidels..” (See: Iqtidha as-Shirat al-Mustaqim, 2/15)
All of the explanations mentioned above shows that interacting with disbeliever is among the traditions done by the companions and believers since long time ago.
Several Explanations of the Scholar regarding Limitation of Interaction with Disbeliever
Al Khallal mentioned an explanation of one of the student of Imam Ahmad whose name was Muhanna, he said,
سألت أحمد عن شهود هذه الأعياد التي تكون عندنا بالشام، مثل: طور يانور ودير أيوب وأشباهه، يشهده المسلمون، يشهدون الأسواق، ويجلبون الغنم فيه، والبقر، والدقيق والبر، والشعير، وغير ذلك، إلا أنه إنما يكون في الأسواق يشترون، ولا يدخلون عليهم بيعهم؟
“I asked al Imam Ahmad about the ruling of visiting some of the celebrations of the christian in Syam, such as Thuryanur, or Dir Ayub, or the likes. The muslims went to see it and came to market set up at the celebrations, they brought goat, cow, flour, wheat, and other stuffs. They just came to the market for trading purpose and not entering the christian’s temple.’
Imam Ahmad replied,
إذا لم يدخلوا عليهم بيعهم، وإنما يشهدون السوق فلا بأس
If they do not enter the temple of the christian, but only come to the market, then there’s no problem with it., (see: Iqtidha as-Shirat al-Mustaqim, 1/517).
Then Sheikh al Islam explained the sentence of Imam Ahmad above by saying, atas,
ما أجاب به أحمد من جواز شهود السوق فقط للشراء منها، من غير دخول الكنيسة فيجوز؛ لأن ذلك ليس فيه شهود منكر، ولا إعانة على معصية؛ لأن نفس الابتياع منهم جائز، ولا إعانة فيه على المعصية
The answer of Imam Ahmad that allows muslim to visit the market just for buying (thing) without entering the church is justifiable, because it was merely coming to a market without any intention to witness evildoing, or helping disbeliever to commit immorality. Besides, trading with them (disbelievers) basically is allowed, and it is not considered as helping them committing immorality. (See: Iqtidha as-Shirat al-Mustaqim, 2/14).
He also commented,
أما بيع المسلمين لهم في أعيادهم، ما يستعينون به على عيدهم، من الطعام واللباس والريحان ونحو ذلك، أو إهداء ذلك لهم، فهذا فيه نوع إعانة على إقامة عيدهم المحرم
As for muslims activities, in the form of selling thing to disbelievers on their feast day, such as things that help them to carry out their feast day, of food, clothes, perfumes, or the likes, or presenting those things to them, it is included in helping the execution of their feast day which is forbidden. (See: Iqtidha as-Shirat al-Mustaqim, 2/14).
Al Hafidz Ibn Hajar explained Bukhari’s hadith about muslims are allowed to interact with harbi disbeliever. He quoted an explanation of Ibn Batthal,
قال بن بطال معاملة الكفار جائزة إلا بيع ما يستعين به أهل الحرب على المسلمين
Ibn Batthal said, ‘It is allowed to interact with disbeliever, except in trading that helps the harbi disbeliever to defeat the muslims,’ (see: Fathul Bari, 4/410).
Imam Bukhari also wrote in a chapter in his book,
باب بيع السلاح في الفتنة وغيرها
Chapter about ruling of selling weapon during the time of tribulation (time of crisis) or the like.
Then Bukhari brought upon a narration from Abu Qatada, that when the war of Hunayn broke, the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- gave him an armor. Then he sold the armor to a disbeliever from the tribe of Salamah with the price of a piece of land.
Al Hafidz explained what Bukhari meant with it, saying,
ويحتمل أن المراد بإيراد هذا الحديث جواز بيع السلاح في الفتنة لمن لا يخشى منه الضرر لأن أبا قتادة باع درعه في الوقت الذي كان القتال فيه قائما بين المسلمين والمشركين وأقره النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم على ذلك والظن به أنه لم يبعه ممن يعين على قتال المسلمين فيستفاد منه جواز بيعه في زمن القتال لمن لا يخشى منه
It is understood from the meaning of Bukhari who brought the above hadith is that it is allowed for muslim to sell weapon during the time of crisis to people who are not feared to trouble the muslims, because Abu Qatada sold his armor during war between muslims and polytheists. And it was agreed by the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. And we have a strong assumption that he didn’t sell it to people who will help the polytheist to fight against the muslims. Thus it may be concluded that it is permissible to sell weapon during wartime to people who are not feared to inflict danger (to muslims). (See: Fathul Bari, 4/323).
From several explanations earlier, there are some conclusions that we could note:
Firstly, it is allowed to interact with all type of disbeliever, without exception for the harb, with limitations that’ll be mentioned later.
Secondly, interacting with disbeliever has been tradition that dates back to the time of the companions.
Thirdly, giving worldly advantage to the disbeliever is not considered as supporting their infidelity. Even though it may be that the profit they gain is used to carry out the act of infidelity.
Fourthly, limitations in interacting with disbeliever are :
– Do not help them to defeat the muslims in direct fashion. Such as selling weapon or artillery that support them to defeat the muslims.
– Do not help them to commit immorality, such as selling grape that they’ll use to make liquor.
– Do not give them chance to disgrace the teaching of Islam, such as selling copy of the Qur’an that is very prone of being the object their insult.
Ibn Qudama said,
ولا يجوز تمكينه من شراء مصحف ولا حديث رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ولا فقه فان فعل فالشراء باطل لأن ذلك يتضمن ابتذاله
It is not allowed to give them chance to buy the copy of the Qur’an or of hadith of the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- or of book of Islamic law. If it is done, then the transaction is invalid, because this act causes the disbeliever to insult it. (See: al-Mughni, 10/614).
– It is allowed to sell weapon during wartime to people who are not endanger the muslims.
Fifth, among the forms of interacting with disbeliever is working in a company owned by disbeliever, even though from the profit side, it benefits the disbeliever.
Allah knows best.