Q: I own a shop for recording audio cassette tapes, and repairing radios and TV sets. I copy these audio cassette tapes and sell them at wholesale and retail prices. The materials recorded on these tapes include useful and useless materials. They contain songs, Islamic songs, recitation of the Holy Qur'an and religious lessons. I support a family and suffer from a severe disease in my eyes. My profits from selling audio cassette tapes with songs are much higher than what I earn from repairing radios and TV sets, because they take much more time to repair and also due to the disease I suffer in my eyes. I am a religious person and care much about the lawfulness of my earnings. Some brothers advised me not to sell (Part No. 26; Page No. 275) or record songs on audio cassette tapes. It should be noted that audio cassette songs have the largest turnover and make the highest profits, and my children's needs are endless and prices are always going up. My income from repairing these sets does not fulfill our needs unless I add to them the profits from selling song tapes. I therefore ask:Is it
unlawful to sell audio cassette tapes with songs recorded on them?
Bear in mind that I do not listen to them, or even know what they are about. I just know the names of the singers.
If this is unlawful, what should I do if I depend on the money I earn from it to support my family? I hope you will answer my question, because I am confused and worried about this matter.
It is not permissible for you to record songs and music, or the like, on audio cassette tapes nor sell or purchase them even if you do not listen to them. Your work is considered cooperation in sin and transgression with the people who will use these tapes according to the Statement of Allah (Praised and Exalted be He) states,
Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwâ (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.
We received a question similar to this one before. We answered it in Fatwa no.4021,which reads:The religious proofs of the Qur'an and Sunnah indicate that a Muslim should do his best to earn lawful money by seeking lawful employment that brings lawful revenues. As regards the money you earn from the work you mentioned, it is unlawful; because these instruments are predominantly used for unlawful purposes.
(Part No. 26; Page No. 276) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.