It is not permissible for a Muslim living in non-Muslim country to apply for franchise or agency that sells forbidden items. It is only possible if he has a non-Muslim partner who will own and manage this part.

Operating a Franchise or Restaurant Selling Forbidden Food

Similar Questions

  • Obtaining an agency to start a restaurant that sells some forbidden food;

  • Taking up the franchise of a food chain that includes some forbidden items.

The Issue

A Muslim living in a non-Muslim country may apply for an agency or franchise that allows him to open a restaurant or a fast-food cafeteria which will sell some items of food or drink that are forbidden in Islam. On the other hand, what is the ruling regarding someone who has already done so and committed himself to a contract? Can he continue in such a business?


In Decision 13 of the fifth convention, held in Manama, Bahrain, 1428 AH, 2007, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America stated that a Muslim may not make an application to open a restaurant or fast-food cafeteria which sells forbidden items of food or drink unless his application is limited to the food and drink that are permissible in Islam. If the regulations of the parent company do not allow giving an agency or franchise to someone that wants to exclude some of its products, but it is possible to have a non-Muslim partner who does not consider such products forbidden, then there appears to be nothing to prevent that. However, the non-Muslim partner should acquire these products and be their owner and manager, taking any accrued profit or incurred loss from them. These products should also be separated from the ones that are permissible so as not to cause any confusion.

A Muslim who has already entered into an agency or franchise contract with the parent company, and what he sells is mostly permissible items, may continue with his contract providing he observes the following controls:

  1. The agency does not include selling wines or intoxicating drinks, even in small quantities:

  2. He should do his best to persuade the parent company to agree to not supply him with prohibited items to sell:

  3. He should do his best to reduce the quantities of these forbidden items and their promotion:

  4. He should employ non-Muslims to attend to the preparation and sale of forbidden items:

  5. He should dispense of any accrued profit from forbidden items and give it to charity.


The prohibition of applying for an agency or franchise to sell products that include some forbidden items is based on the rule that forbids cooperation in furthering evil and aggression which states:

‘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.’

(5: 2)

If a part of the ownership of such a place belongs to a non-Muslim, the prohibition discontinues.

When something is already in place some aspects are overlooked on the basis of continuity, while these cannot be overlooked at the time of initiating the arrangement. Hence, when a contract is already in existence the Muslim needs to observe the controls mentioned.


  • Decisions by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.

  • Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.