The Importance of Lawful Earning in Islam: Part 1

Why Should We Make Money?

Have you ever thought about the concept of earning in Islam? Or what role wealth plays in our lives and why we really need to earn money? To some people, money could be a result of the exchange of value. In other words, what you are doing is of value to someone, and that is why you are paid for it.  


You might get excited to know the value you are delivering to people is making their lives better; then you will be probably more motivated to enhance your get-rich potential and try to make more and more money! This would be an ideal reason for someone to earn money. However, we all need money to spend for certain reasons, e.g., food, clothing, shelter, etc.


What Does Earning in Islam Suggest?


Muslims believe wealth is one of the innumerous blessings of Allah that is referred to as ‘Khair’ -meaning goodness- in some verses of the Holy Quran (2:215, 2:180). In another verse, it is mentioned as an attraction of this worldly life (18:46). What’s more, gaining wealth has been given so much importance in the religion of Islam that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “Seeking lawful earnings is compulsory for every Muslim” [1].


Islam also seriously recommends attaining the sustenance provided by God through hard work and striving. It is stated in the Islamic narrations that Allah does not like a person who prays for income while he has quit earning and does not try for it [2]. The holy Quran also says:

That nothing belongs to man except what he strives for, and that he will soon be shown his endeavor, then he will be rewarded for it with the fullest reward” (53:39-41).

earning in Islam , Halal income , Islamic life

How Should We Earn Money?

Along with the importance Islam attaches to gaining wealth through hard work, it places greater emphasis on making money through lawful (Halal) ways.

Eat of what is lawful and pure in the earth, and do not follow in Satan’s steps” (2:168).


Based on this verse, consuming only what is lawful (Halal) and good, and abstaining from unlawful (Haram) things, are among the basic principles of the Islamic lifestyle. Many Islamic narrations advise and praise the acquisition of livelihood through fair means, i.e., NOT through stealing, cheating, betting, etc. Islam actually underscores the importance of productive enterprises that can increase output and generate jobs; this is the reason why earning money through gambling is Haram in this religion.


Some Features of a Lawful Income in a Prophetic Tradition:


According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in order for an income (in trading) to be Halal, one should not

  • fault the product he/she is buying,
  • praise the product he/she is selling,
  • deceive anyone
  • swear to God while trading [3].


The Benefits of Lawful Earning in Islam


“Whoever lives on Halal earnings for forty days, God shall enlighten his heart” [4]. 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” [5].


  • 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 [6].


  • Receiving God’s Glory and Honor on the Day of Judgment [7]

  • Strengthening One’s Faith [i]

  • 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: “And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him” (65:3)

earning in Islam, halal income , Islamic life

The Adverse Effects of Unlawful Earning in Islam

You see many of them actively engaged in sin and aggression, and consuming illicit gains. Surely, evil is what they have been doing” (5:62).


Here are a few negative effects that await people who choose the wrong way of earning money (by foul means) either for their greed or deprivation:


  • Their Halal income will be reduced, and they will be deprived of Allah’s blessings (Barakah) [8]
  • Their prayers will not be answered [9].
  • They will become hard-hearted and cruel [9].
  • Consumption of Haram will have negative effects on their offspring and descendants [9].
  • Our sustenance lies with Allah


Finally, we should always remember that God is the All-provider (51:58) who has ordained Halal sustenance for all creatures, and the creatures’ efforts to earn their living is placed alongside His will. So, we will definitely reach what is provided for us by Him if we try more patiently, and if we are content with and thankful for what we already have.


God has not forgotten any of us; the Holy Quran says: “There is no animal on the earth, but that its sustenance lies with Allah, and He knows its [enduring] abode and its temporary place of lodging. Everything is in a manifest Book” (11:6) Then we had better avoid what Allah has told us is unlawful (Haram) since:

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” (2:216).



[i] “Never give up striving for lawful livelihood as it reinforces your faith”. Imam Sadiq (AS) [10]



[1] Bihar al-Anvar, vol. 103, p. 9

[2] Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Mafatih al-Hayat, p. 582

[3] Ibid p.589

[4] Bihar al-Anvar, vol. 53, p. 326

[5] Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Mafatih al-Hayat, p.589

[6] al- Daawat, p. 24

[7] Kanz al-Ummal, vol. 14, p. 249

[8] Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Mafatih al-Hayat, p. 593


[10] Bihar al-Anvar, vol. 71, p.128