Is it permissible to learn and practice the profession of a lawyer, prosecutor and judge?

The Details of the Question

- Is the money those who practice this profession earn halal?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

First of all, a person who believes in Allah and what He has revealed, even if concisely, who confirms it with his heart and expresses it with his tongue is a believer. As long as he continues in this state, he will continue to be a believer, and according to the belief of Ahl as-Sunnah, sins do not make a person an unbeliever. The fact that there is a door to unbelief in every sin is a separate issue. First of all, it is necessary to understand this issue well.

Secondly, only learning a branch of science does not make a person an unbeliever. Probably the most dangerous science in this regard is magic; its leading people to unbelief is not just because it is learned.

It is permissible with the uninterpreted decree of fiqh to study at schools such as faculties of law, leaving aside their benefits and harms related to the future. It depends on the purpose. It is a duty and a deed of worship to study it with the aim of fully or partially applying absolute justice, reducing oppression as much as possible, defending, protecting and guarding those who have been wronged. Depending on the two opposite possibilities, it may also be fisq or unbelief.

When you study at these schools, you will graduate and work in this direction. In case of being a judge, the situation is still the same. Accordingly,

“If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.” (al-Maida, 5/44)

The decree of the verse above is not unconditionally valid for them. So, there are some conditions and considerations:

1. First of all, it is metaphorical to call these people “hakim (judge)”. They are not truly judges. They are in a position to apply a decree determined by the real judges. If the decree in question is contrary to “absolute justice” and the judge has no discretion, he will apply it unwillingly and, where he has the opportunity to apply real justice, he will reduce the cruelty, that is, the decrees that are contrary to real justice, as much as possible. It is not regarded as unbelief; it means alleviating the oppression and as they put it, “preferring the lesser evil”.

2. Even the biggest disobedience other than unbelief committed by a person who believes in the way we have mentioned above and maintains this belief is not regarded as unbelief; it can be a major sin at most. Therefore, it is not regarded as unbelief for a person to apply the decrees of Saddam, Hitler, Lenin, and Hajjaj by believing in the trueness of Allah’s decree. He may be regarded as a cruel person. This can be said at most for those who choose this profession without any good intentions.

3. If we declare those who do not judge based on what Allah has revealed as unbelievers without any reservation or limitation, even Muslim judges in an Islamic country will not be able to escape from this decree because they will not be able to find Allah’s clear decree in every issue; they will have to use their own judgment and ijtihad in most of the cases, and might not judge correctly in their decisions. In such cases, how can we say that they are unbelievers since we cannot say that they ruled based on the decree of Allah? Never. Moreover, what is meant by those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are unbelievers is those who deny Allah’s decrees.

4. In that case, one should aim to study in faculties of law in particular, to isolate oppression step by step, to establish absolute justice, and to prevent victimization while doing it. We believe that even this education will be regarded as worship with this intention. Yes, it is impossible to get into the swamp and not to get muddy. However, there is nothing else to do if there is no choice but to enter the swamp in order to move to a mud-free environment.

The state of prosecutors and notaries public is no more dangerous than that of judges as long as the intention is good and maximum effort is made not to get involved in persecution. Being a lawyer should also be evaluated according to the same criteria.

The people who work as lawyers, judges, prosecutors, etc. work mentally in the law cases that they undertake by using their reasoning, knowledge and experience; they also exert (partially) physical and material efforts for the follow-up of the case. The wages that lawyers receive are the price of the time and effort they spend. Therefore, as long as they do not defend religiously illegitimate issues in the cases they undertake, and they abide by the principles of rights, justice and conscience, the fees received by lawyers are halal.

However, if they defend issues that are religiously illegitimate or that are incompatible with the principles of rights, justice and conscience, they become partners in the sin that is committed, and the wages they receive in return for it become doubtful in terms of religion.

In this respect, it is not appropriate and it is a sin to help people who deal with religiously and morally wrong things in return for a fee and to defend them within the framework of law and with the opportunities provided by law.

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