Working in Construction
It is not permissible to work on the architecture of buildings that will be used for forbidden purposes. If it is not possible to work elsewhere and the forbidden activities are rare then an exception is made.
Working in Construction
Working in planning and construction;
Working in architecture firms.
A Muslim living in non-Muslim countries may have to work in architectural firms which design and construct buildings. The work may sometimes involve designing and constructing buildings where forbidden activities are carried out, such as public houses, gambling facilities, wine shops, temples of pagan creeds, etc.
It is not permissible for a Muslim to design or build the temples and houses of worship of non-Muslims or to contribute to the project financially or physically. This is clearly stated in Decision 23; 11-3 of the Islamic Fiqh Council. The same ruling is endorsed in Decision 9-5 of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, which provides more detail. It says: ‘It is not permissible for the Muslim owners of architecture and construction companies to design or construct buildings where forbidden activities are carried out, such as public houses, gambling casinos, wine shops, or temples where the worship of more than the One God is carried out. They may not take up any project that includes such activities, unless the company includes a non-Muslim partner who undertakes such projects as owner and executor, taking any profit and bearing any loss. Where such forbidden aspects constitute only a small portion of the work and it has not been possible to assign the work to non-Muslims, it may be exempted.
‘If the building is initially planned for permissible uses and a small portion of the activities carried out in it are forbidden this is overlooked because this is very common and the need to work is great. Securing projects where only permissible activities are carried out is very difficult in some countries.
‘There is no harm in working for architectural and construction firms when the permissible and prohibited areas of the work may be mixed together, but the employee must avoid undertaking forbidden activities, such as designing and building public houses, casinos or temples.
‘If a Muslim employee in such a firm is assigned to design or construct a building that is used for forbidden purposes and he is unable to avoid this or to find an alternative job, he may be given an exemption on the basis of need, particularly if giving him such a project is a rare occurrence. However, if such forbidden projects are frequent and he cannot avoid them he must look for alternative work that will give him lawful earnings and earns him God’s pleasure. In the meantime he should dispense of the income he receives from such forbidden activities.’
Working on projects that will be used for forbidden purposes furthers evil and aggression which God has forbidden, as He says:
‘Help one another in furthering righteousness and piety and do not help one another in furthering evil and aggression. Have fear of God, for God is severe in retribution.’
An exception is made in the decision of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America where it is permissible to work on some projects that involve a small portion of forbidden activities, on the basis of this being a common occurrence and the need to work is treated as necessity. Each case of necessity is determined on its own merits.
Decisions by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.
Decisions by the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.
Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.