A wife and children that can’t earn their own living are not accountable for the husband unlawful earning. He is responsible for his own deeds but they should do their best to persuade him to find a legitimate income.
Earnings through evil means.
Some Muslims living in non-Muslim countries sell wines, port and other forbidden articles. As a result their spouses and children may feel uneasy about the legitimacy of living on such earnings.
A man’s wife and children who are unable to earn their own living through lawful means may live on the unlawful earnings of their husband or father. However, they must try their best to persuade him to find a different job that gives him only lawful earnings. This is the ruling stated in Decision 23 (11-3) of the Islamic Fiqh Council.
In this sort of situation, if they do not live on his earnings they will harm themselves. This is clearly a case of necessity, which relaxes prohibitions.
Children have a rightful claim to be properly looked after by their father. If his earnings are unlawful then he is accountable for that and they have the right to benefit from it. He will be responsible for his deeds and they bear no responsibility because they are only taking what they are entitled to. This case is similar to that of a person who is owed some money by the father, either as an advance or against the price of goods or surety for something the father had damaged. The lender is fully entitled to obtain what he is owed, even if the money is illegitimately earned. The blame for the sin committed is totally with the one who earned the money unlawfully, but that money is perfectly legitimate for the one who is entitled to it. This comes under a Fiqh rule which says that money unlawfully earned through, for example, usury, bribery, cheating, etc. is forbidden for its earner but permissible for one who has a rightful claim to it, as in the case of the living expenses of one’s wife and children, the price of something sold, surety for damage, rent, a loan, etc.
Decisions by the Islamic Fiqh Council.
Fatawa al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah by a number of scholars.