Working as a Lawyer
It is permissible for a Muslim lawyer to work in non-Muslim countries in civil courts. As long as he believes that the case is legitimate and he aims to help those suffering injustice otherwise it is forbidden.
Working as a Lawyer
- Representing clients in courts in non-Muslim countries;
- Acting for a client in a dispute.
A Muslim living in a country with a minority Muslim community may work as a lawyer or a barrister, putting his clients’ cases before a civil court in order to remove injustice and obtain people’s rights.
Working as a lawyer is perfectly permissible, even in non-Muslim countries, if the lawyer is convinced that the case he is undertaking is just and legitimate. This view is endorsed by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America in its decisions 3-2 and 8-5. It is also the view expressed in Fatwa No. 3,532 of the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa. The Committee gave this ruling in answer to a question, stating: ‘If working in the legal or judicial systems aims to establish rights, to prevent taking things through false claims, giving people what belongs to them and helping those suffering injustice, then it is perfectly permissible because it represents helping others in furthering righteousness and piety. Otherwise, it is prohibited because it then represents cooperation in furthering evil and aggression.
“Help one another in furthering righteousness and piety and do not help one another in furthering evil and aggression.”’
Whatever is permissible to do personally for oneself in seeking judgement is also permissible to do as an attorney. It has already been stated that it is permissible to put a dispute to a civil court when it is necessary to obtain one’s rights or to prevent injustice. Therefore, it is permissible to work as a lawyer to demand the administration of what is right or to prevent injustice, after making sure that the case one is taking on is a just case. This will then be within what God has commanded the Muslim community to do, namely to help one another in doing what is right and pious. He says:
‘Help one another in furthering righteousness and piety and do not help one another in furthering evil and aggression.’
This question is closely related to that of putting disputes to civil courts, because when the lawyer presents his client’s case he is acting as an attorney. What is permissible for an attorney is no more than what is permissible to the one giving him such power. Therefore, the permissibility is limited to what is necessary, as is the case in putting the dispute to such courts.
- Decisions by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.
- Waleed al-Mineesi, ‘The Permissible and the Forbidden in Judicial Work in non-Muslim Countries’: a paper presented to the fifth annual convention of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, held in Manama, Bahrain.
- Fatawa by The Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa.