Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Posts Tagged ‘halal and haram income’

My view of what is Halal and Haram income for an employee

Friday, February 13th, 2009

I am now “jobless”, having worked for more than 3 decades. My career encompassed jobs that might be classified by many Malaysians as a ticket to the easy life. Somehow I missed the many ticketing offices that lined the roads of my career. 

I have my parents to thank for this. Somewhere along the line, my parents have drummed in the message (I am sure I did not learn this in school) that the only income that is allowed (halal) for me as an employee was that paid to me by my employer as salary, bonuses or share options and the like. (Yes, the pay that I got should have put me on easy street had I practiced sound personal finance management, but this is not the point of this story.) 

As a Muslim, I devoutly and absolutely believe that my rezeki (livelihood) is in the hands of the All Mighty. This doesn’t mean that I should sit at home and just pray for my livelihood. I have to work and strive my best for my living. I have tried to explain this philosophy in one of my earlier posts about the Arab and the camel. 

Much is being written in the Malaysian papers and other media that we could be forgiven for accepting “presents” given to us by our customers, suppliers and others we deal with in our line of work. I don’t agree and disagree strongly at that.  These presents are a form of income due directly to our position or office that we hold. And these are income not from our employer. I deem these to be tainted income. In the clear cases where these “presents” are given by a beneficiary because we did our work or because we did not do it, then it is clearly haram.  Examples may be buying something like, office supplies at a price which is below our office’s budget, but still at a higher price that what we could have obtained from another supplier. In return we get some sort of a gift from the supplier we bought the supplies from. This is clearly haram. Our job is to ensure that our office gets the best price we can get and all the savings should go to our employer. 

Benefits that accrue because of the network built up from the workplace are a different story. So long as we can in all honesty say that the transaction in question has nothing to do with the post or position that we hold, then it is halal. An example may be buying a piece of land together with friends met through work and then selling it for a profit.  

I am sure my daughters, who have just started working, would be facing many temptations along the way. Some easy to turn down and others not so easy. Still the test as mentioned above should be applied and a decision can be made relatively easily. 

There may be some borderline cases. What if someone gives a gift during a festival? This happens a lot in Malaysia where you can see lorries of hampers being delivered to many of the offices around town during festivals. The best would be to open the hamper there and then and distribute the stuff to the office staff.  

It will be tough when we try to take such a stand when so many of our colleagues do otherwise. We just have to remember and keep reminding ourselves that we should earn only halal income and only such an income should be used to feed our families. We don’t have to judge others. That is for them and for their conscience to decide. 

After a while word should and will get around. Word that so and so does not like such gifts. And can still be depended upon to do the right thing.  

This is what is meant by a reputation and this is the reputation I want my children to earn.  

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