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Unlawful Income


 “Those who devour usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Evil one by his touch Hath driven to madness. That is because they say: "Trade is like usury," but Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist, shall be pardoned for the past; their case is for Allah (to judge); but those who repeat (The offence) are companions of the Fire: They will abide therein (for ever).”‌ (Al-Baqara: 275)

According to the religious teachings, what one gains by unlawful means has a very different nature compared to what is earned lawfully. This has been explained in many verses of the Holy Qur’an.

 The Truth of Unlawful Income in the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an reveals the reality of unlawful income with two examples.

1. What you earn unlawfully is nothing but fire:

“Those who conceal Allah’s revelations in the Book, and purchase for them a miserable profit, - they swallow into themselves naught but Fire; Allah will not address them on the Day of Resurrection. Nor purify them: Grievous will be their penalty.”‌ (Al-Baqara: 174)

2. To eat up others share is to devour fire:

“Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a Fire into their own bodies: They will soon be enduring a Blazing Fire!”‌ (An-Nisa: 10)

Worldly Punishment

What has been said in these verses, is more than only other worldly punishments, as it is obvious in the words of Qur’an, “Allah will not address them on the Day of Resurrection”‌ and “They will soon be enduring a Blazing Fire”‌, such people will be punished for their evil deeds in this world in addition to their eternal punishment in the world after.

There is a belief that the angels do not enter a house in which the livelihood is earned with unlawful means; but the fire does.

The Truth of Unlawful Earnings in the Words of Great People

Imam Baqir said, “God won’t accept a pilgrimage to Mecca that has been paid for with unlawful money.”‌

One Abu Basir, a companion of Imam Baqir, told him in Mecca when they were both on pilgrimage that a great number of Hajjis were there on pilgrimage to Kaba. Imam Baqir answered, “How numerous are the sinners and how few are the real pilgrims!”‌ Then he touched the eyes of Abu Basir with his hands so that he could see the truth too. What he saw after that was a lot of beasts and only a few believers around Kaba.

Our Spirit vs. Unlawful Earnings

“By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;”‌ (Ash-Shams: 7)

This verse shows that God has created the soul of people in the best way possible. Human soul cannot be in accord with everything in the world. It is not in accord with both what is lawful and what is not. Therefore, the soul is only in accord with what is lawful unless it is unhealthy and sick. Just the way healthy bodies find joy in clean air.

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi

Other links:

The Importance of Seizing the Opportunities of life (Part 1)

The Importance of Seizing the Opportunities of life (Part 2)

What are Self-judgement and Self-control mean?

What is the Constitution of Self-Judgment?

Truth is the beauty of speech and ground of success

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