Work and Seeking Halal (Legal) Money
The main axes of the subject:
1- Halal is the food of the pious
2- Seeking Halal is the act of the prophets (a.s.)
3- Seeking Halal is a divine duty
4- Working hard for the children is the greatest jihad
We will explain the value of working in order to make a living for oneself and the children from the legal sources while keeping distant from suspicious and forbidden issues. We will also explain the difficulty of such endeavor in our present time.
Exporting the subject:
Imam Abi Abdillah (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Battling swords is easier than seeking Halal.”1
– Halal is the food of the pious:
A man’s work in making a living for himself and his family is regarded as one of the causes that the wise people agreed to its merit coupled with the high stature of the person. Rather, it is regarded by the exalted people as one of the qualities of the people of merit and virtue.
This issue was also encouraged by the immortal Islamic tradition. However, Islam did not encourage working haphazardly. Rather, it encouraged man to seek Halal and earn money in a way that agrees with the rules of the Islamic doctrine and that he must keep distant from suspicions and Haraam (forbidden or illegal) issues.
In the accounts, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr (al Bizanti) was quoted as saying: “I said to Abi al Hassan (a.s.): May I protect you with my life, say a prayer for my making a Halal living. He said: do you know what is Halal? I said: May I protect you with my life, what we have, is it not a good living? He said: Ali bin al Hussein (a.s.) used to say: Halal is the food of the pious. However, you may say: I ask thee from your measurable wealth.”2
– Seeking Halal is the act of the prophets (a.s.):
Allah (The Exalted) tells a story about Moses who was expelled and homeless in Median, knowing that he was one of those of determination as well as he was the noblest of his people. Moreover, he was treated in the past with generosity inside the castle of Pharaoh. Allah (The Exalted) says: “So he watered [their flocks] for them; then he went back to the shade and said, “My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.”3
And because he was greatly dependant on Allah, he sought Halal and never sought otherwise, made a quest to gain Allah’s satisfaction in making legal money, finding shelter and getting married coupled with other issues and basics of life.
Allah (The Exalted) says through the words of Shu’aib (a.s.): “He said, “Indeed, I wish to wed you one of these, my two daughters, on [the condition] that you serve me for eight years; but if you com-plete ten, it will be [as a favor] from you…”4
In other words, he asked him to work for him for eight years or ten years in exchange for being married to one of his daughters, adding food and shelter.
What was the answer of Moses (a.s.) to this proposal? Allah (The Exalted) says about him: “[Moses] said, “That is [established] between me and you. Whichever of the two terms I complete – there is no injustice to me, and Allah, over what we say, is Witness.”5 In other words, Moses accepted the offer, but he kept for himself the choice between the eight and ten years.
This was the continuous behavior of the former and the later prophets. They sought Halal and made a quest for this issue. In addition, in the accounts, Muammar bin Khallad quoted Abi al Hassan the second [Imam al Hadi (a.s.)] as saying: “Abu Ja’afar (a.s.) looked to another man as he said: O Allah, I ask thee from your measurable wealth. Hence, Abu Ja’afar (a.s.) said: You’ve asked for the food of the prophets.”6
– Seeking Halal is a divine duty:
Allah (The Exalted) said: “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”7
“We discover that endeavor to benefit from food was repeated in the Holy Quran several times congruently with the Halal that is permissible to be utilized as long as it is not mixed with anything that was forbidden by Allah (The Exalted). Moreover, the food must come from purity, which agrees with the innate and good taste unlike the Haraam and bad food. The bad is the word from which the innate and good tastes repulse. Whereas Halal is the issue that Allah rendered natural for the people. It is well known that the origin of foods is permissibility and approval. On the other hand, forbidden foods contradict with the origin. In other words, Allah (The Exalted) allowed his servants to eat all kinds of food except the little, as a kindness of his measurability.”8
– Working hard for the children is the greatest jihad:
He who observes the investments and the activities of the banks and financial institutions and other different businesses and similar issues will realize how they are being mixed with interest, suspicions, cheating and deception coupled with disloyalty dishonesty and lack of trust. He who observers with caution will sense the difficulty in working and preserving the Halal money regarding all kinds of dealings. Therefore, in the accounts, it was narrated that Abi Abdillah (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Battling swords is easier than seeking Halal.”9 This saying was also narrated by book al Tahzib.
In all cases, it means fighting the enemies in battlefields and forbearing the wounds and battles of the swords are easier for man than seeking Halal. This issue can be sufficient for a contemplator.
In another case, Sahih al Halabi also narrated from Abi Abdillah (a.s.), “Man working hard for his children is like the fighter in the sake of Allah.”10
Another saying narrates that Zakariah bin Adam al Qummi quoted Abi al Hassan al Rida (a.s.) as saying: “A man, seeking from the generosity of Allah (The Exalted) that which suffices his children, will be rewarded more than he who fights in the sake of Allah (The Exalted).”11
This signifies that he who works very hard to make a living for his children in order to avoid begging and the humility to ask people for money, providing that he obtains it from Halal legal sources, will be rewarded more than he who fights in the sake of Allah (The Exalted). The sayings encourage man to keep driving away hardship from himself and his children and avoid Haraam. This issue is one of Allah’s most satisfying deeds. For example, Abi Abdillah (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “If a man was poor and worked to only gain that which feeds him and his family without seeking Haraam, he will be regarded like the fighter in the sake of Allah.”12
1- Al Kafi, Vol. 5, P. 161.
2- Al Kafi, by Muhammad Bin Yacoub al Kulaini, Vol. 5, chapter “Kasb al Halal,” P. 89, H. 1.
3- Surat Al-Qaşaş (The Stories), verse 24.
4- Surat Al-Qaşaş (The Stories), verse 27.
5- Surat Al-Qaşaş (The Stories), verse 28.
6- Al Kafi, chapter al Kasb al Halal, Vol. 5, P. 89, H. 2.
7- Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow), verse 168.
8- Al Amthal in interpreting the descended book of Allah, by Ayatollah sheikh Makarim al Shirazi, Vol. 1, P. 414-417, in summary.
9- Al Kafi, Vol. 5, chapter “swearing when selling and buying,” P. 161, H. 1.
10- Al Kafi, Vol. 5, chapter “He who works hard for his children,” P. 88, H. 1.
11- Same source, H. 2.
12- Same source, H. 3.