Haram is an Arabic word and it refers to “anything that is forbidden.” Practically, it is an act or thing that is forbidden by Islamic law. Haram is the highest level of prohibition in Islam. Some acts or things may be discouraged or not recommended in Islam (prohibited), but they are not necessarily haram. Only Allah and His Messenger decide what is haram and what is not. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُلُوا مِمَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
“O mankind! Eat of what (is) in the earth lawful (and) good. And (do) not follow (the) footsteps (of) the Shaitaan. Indeed, he (is) to you an enemy clear.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:168)
Seeking excellence in ensuring your earnings are lawful and full of barakah and blessings is to give your best in your work, and to fear Allah with regards to cheating others, or going into contracts or agreements that are oppressive. Several factors lead to indulging in haram income. They are greediness, jealousy, the absence of God-consciousness and impatience. Allah says:
وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
“And He will provide for him from where not he thinks. And whoever puts his trust upon Allah, then He (is) sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah (will) accomplish His purpose. Indeed, Allah has set for everything a measure.” (Sūrah Al-Ṭalāq, 65:3)
Haram income is easily attained. The easier it is to attain it, the farther is keeps you from purity. An obsession with haram income is an encouragement for corruption. It’s an encouragement for looting public fund. It’s an encouragement for abuse of power. It’s a cause for the downfall of the family institution. Until we fix our source of income from haram income to halal income, we can’t fix our many social problems.
مَّنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فَعَلَيْهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ
“Whoever does righteous deeds then it is for his soul; and whoever does evil, then it is against it. And not (is) your Lord unjust to His slaves.” (Surah Fussilat 41:46)
Effects of Consuming Haram Wealth
- Food that you buy with the ill-gotten wealth lacks blessings
- In ill-health, it harms instead of nourishes
- Laziness in performing acts of worship
- Difficulty in getting up for tahajjud
- Getting your heart hardened
- General unhappiness and unease in life
- Resistance to performing taubah and reflection
- Strained relationships with parents, spouse, children
- Wealth increases but due to the lack of barakah, it never feels enough
Some Effects of Haram Income:
The decision to hold one to account for his haram activities is solely in the hands of Allah. He brings him to account however He wills. He may punish the individual in this life. He may delay it for him to the Day of Judgement. As for what might happen in the next life, we leave it until the next life comes. Since we are living the moments, let’s discuss some of the impacts of haram income on our worldly life.
Greediness: Greediness is when one develops an excessive desire for wealth. A greedy person only cares about himself, and cares not, if the rest of the world starves.
Jealousy: A dissatisfied person easily falls into jealousy. He can’t stand seeing anyone with success or good achievement. As much as he wants to attain your best, he wants you to lose the blessings Almighty has bestowed upon you.
The absence of God-consciousness: Being mindful of Allah and having constant consciousness for Him serve as strong immunizations for the believer. It also keeps the believer guided in all he does.
Impatience: One of the factors of failure is impatience. This applies to worldly affairs, as well as affairs about the next life.
The Effect of Haram Income on the Earner: The process of making income from haram source is haram by itself. And this is the first impact of haram income. A person, who is indulged in haram lives a severe anxious and stressful life. He knows happiness. But he can’t find it or taste it. This can be worse if any of his victims are praying against him Effect of Haram Income on the Earner’s
Religious Activities: It’s from one’s income, that he usually feeds himself. It’s from that feeding that he seeks good health.
The Effect of Haram Income on the Earner’s Loved Ones: A stable person reacts to events reasonably. An anxious or stressful person reacts unpredictably. Because he can’t think straight. Since haram income drives its earners anxious, this state of anxiety extends to affect their families.
The Effect of Haram Income on the Society: Haram income does injustice to the society at different levels. When someone bypasses normal procedures to take over a post, knowing that there are better candidates for the job, he has done injustice to them. Allah says:
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“Yet it may be that you dislike something, which is good for you, and it may be that you love something, which is bad for you, and Allah knows, and you do not know. ” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:216)
What After One Repents?
The door of repentance is open. As long as the sun rises from the east and sets at the west. Allah surely accepts repentance. We are of three categories when it comes to repentance:
- The unlucky ones: those who are not fortunate and are not granted the chance to repent.
- The luckiest ones: those who are granted repentance with an absolute pardon.
- The lucky ones: those who are granted repentance, but with some consequences
The Benefits of Lawful Earning in Islam
“Whoever lives on Halal earnings for forty days, God shall enlighten his heart”. Some benefits of earning income through fair means are:
- Receiving the Protection of God: Allah says: “If what you eat is Halal and pure, I will protect you”.
- Acceptance of Prayer: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says if you want your prayer to be accepted and fulfilled by Allah, make sure your income is Halal and pure.
- Receiving God’s Glory and Honor on the Day of Judgment
- Strengthening One’s Faith
- Getting Allah’s Blessings and Favors (Barakah): Your income sometimes may not seem enough, but if it is gained through Halal ways, it will be blessed by Allah; so it will suffice:
The unlucky ones are made to take things for granted. And by the time they come to their senses and realizations, it’s too late for repentance. It’s either they cared not about repentance and died in that state, or they defied and refused to accept the possibility that they can be forgiven. Allah says:
لِيُنفِقْ ذُو سَعَةٍ مِّن سَعَتِهِ وَمَن قُدِرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقُهُ فَلْيُنفِقْ مِمَّا آتَاهُ اللَّهُ لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا مَا آتَاهَا سَيَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ بَعْدَ عُسْرٍ يُسْرًا
“Let spend owner of ample means from his ample means, and (he) who, is restricted on him his provision, let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not burden any soul except (with) what He has given it. Allah will bring about after hardship ease.” (Surah At-Talaq 65:7)
Allah has secured everyone their provision. Everyone’s comes in a different format a different time. Man does injustice to himself when he goes impatient with Allah’s decision. This can lead to many implications. Many of which have been ruining our communities and societies for long.