Mixing lawful with ill-gotten money

Q: When money earned through lawful means is mixed with unlawful money, what is the ruling on it? This occurs in dealings with individuals as well as government agencies? What is the ruling on using money known to be earned in a suspicious way? Am I permitted to use it though I condemn the person who earns it through these channels?Is it permissible to work in factories involved in such dealings, while I am aware of it and strongly criticize them? My father insists that I should work with him in the field of accounting.When my father tells me that he will bear the responsibility and the sin on my behalf; am I then permitted to obey and eat from the money he earns through this work? I can accept other work elsewhere at any salary, but this will displease my father who will directly oppose the idea.Is it permissible for me to remain in the house of my family? Leaving the house will negatively affect the condition of the family. Bearing all this in mind, I hope Your Honor will carefully study my letter and consider the different influences on me. Islam, on one hand, prohibits me to live on unlawful money, supposing that what I earn is unlawful; and on the other hand, my condition in the house is very difficult since neither I nor anyone of my brothers can leave the house or (Part No. 26; Page No. 313) even think about that. My presence in the house widely helps prevent many violations that Islam does not tolerate and that which may prevail were I to leave.

A: First, offering and accepting bribes are Haram (prohibited) for the briber, the person being bribed and the mediator between them. Second, we previously issued a Fatwa no. 2512, 28/7/1399 A.H. in which we explained the ruling on using money earned through both lawful and unlawful channels. The Fatwa reads:If you know that the source of the gifts you receive or the food that is offered to you is prohibited, you must not accept the gifts or eat the food. The same ruling applies to any Haram earnings. If the Halal (lawful) money a person earns is not separated from the Haram, scholars differ as to whether it is permissible to accept gifts or eat food served by them to their guests. Some scholars say that it is absolutely Haram. Other scholars say that if the Haram money is more than one-third of such a person's property, then, it is Haram to eat food offered by them or accept their gifts. Others say that if the Haram money is more than the Halal, it will be Haram to eat the food they offer or accept their gifts. A third party says that it is not Haram at all to eat their food or accept their gifts. This is the preponderant opinion, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted a roasted sheep from a Jewish woman and ate it, and also according to the general meaning of what Allah (Exalted be He) states, The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you It is known that the Jews and the Christians deal in Riba (usury/interest) and do not (Part No. 26; Page No. 314) care about earning from Halal sources; they earn both Halal and Haram money. However, Allah has made it Halal to eat their food and the Prophet (peace be upon him) ate their food. A group of people reported from the Hadith narrated on the authority of Sufyan Al-Thawry on the authority of Salamah ibn Kuhayl on the authority of Dhir ibn `Abdullah on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud that a man asked him, "I have a neighbor who deals in Riba and he invites me to eat with him." Ibn Mas`ud said to the man, "Enjoy the food and the sin (of dealing in Riba) is on him." However, it is better for Muslims to refrain from mixing, exchanging presents, and frequently visiting such people and to keep the scope of dealing with them as narrow as possible, as interests or necessity requires. Third, it is not permissible for you to work in these factories, even as an accountant, while you are aware of the conditions you have mentioned above. This involves cooperation in sin and transgression and Allah (Exalted be He) states, ...but do not help one another in sin and transgression. If you have the power to change the prohibitions it involves, then, it is preferable for you to remain in that work due to the reformation and changing Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Shari`ah and Muslims of sound intellect). Fourth, your father's promise to bear the consequences of the evil acts committed in the factory will not avail you. Allah (Exalted be He) states, ...and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. He also states, O mankind! Be afraid of your Lord (by keeping your duty to Him and avoiding all evil), and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, nor a son avail aught for his father. (Part No. 26; Page No. 315) Therefore, it is not permissible for you to obey him in taking that job, even if it displeases him. That is because there is no obedience to man in defiance of the Creator; obedience to man is only in what is good. If you are able to forbid and change the evil acts, you may remain in that work. Fifth, if your stay in the family's house will most likely rectify condition through advice or will help them give up their violations of the Shari`ah (Islamic law), it will be good to stay with them. Otherwise, you should not, provided that you treat them kindly in order to maintain kinship ties and follow the path of the person who turns to Allah in repentance and in obedience. Indeed, you are more aware of your state and whether or not you can bring about reform and change the evil.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.