“There is no direct relationship between their income being ḥarām and their acts of worship being accepted. This is one thing and that is something else. That is not to say though that Ribā is no problem—this is one of the major sins. So even if it does not mean that a person’s fasting and prayers are not accepted, a person should leave alone everything that Allāh (عز وجل) has forbidden.“
سؤال وجواب – عربي – ٥:٣٥ دقائق
Question and Answer – English [3:46]
If a person’s source of income is from Ribā, are his fasting, his prayers and his other acts of worship going to be accepted? And how are we to deal with a person like this, especially when they feel no remorse and say that there is no way to avoid dealing in Ribā in our day and time?
There is no direct relationship between their income being ḥarām and their acts of worship being accepted. This is one thing and that is something else. That is not to say though that Ribā is no problem—this is one of the major sins. So even if it does not mean that a person’s fasting and prayers are not accepted, a person should leave alone everything that Allāh (عز وجل) has forbidden.
As mentioned in the previous āyah, Allāh (عز وجل) said that the purpose of fasting was to achieve taqwá. And so, if a person is fasting yet he does not achieve taqwá and he is continuing to do what is ḥarām, there is something wrong with his fast.
If a person is performing the ṣalāh yet this ṣalāh is not preventing him from al-Faḥshāʾ and al-Munkar, then there is something wrong with his ṣalāh. If a person is performing the ṣalāh but he is continuing to do the ḥarām, there is some deficiency there in his ṣalāh.
As mentioned in the ḥadīth of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), dealing in Ribā could be one of the sources of a person’s duaʾ being rejected. The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) mentioned there would be a man on a journey, he was dusty and dishevelled raising his hands to the sky calling upon his Lord saying, “O my Lord, O my Lord” but his food was ḥarām, his drink was ḥarām, his clothes were ḥarām and he had been nourished with the ḥarām, so how could his duaʾ be answered?
This ḥadīth shows us how very dangerous it is to get involved in earnings that are ḥarām, like dealing in Ribā because they could prevent a person’s acts of worship like duaʾ from being accepted. Furthermore, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said about fasting that whoever does not leave false speech and acting upon it and ignorance, then Allāh has no need of him leaving his food and drink. There is no doubt that Ribā is part of that false speech mentioned by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and it could be something that prevents the person’s good deeds from being accepted.
There is nothing that Allāh (عز وجل) has commanded that people are unable to do, and there is nothing that Allāh has forbidden that people are unable to leave. Allāh (عز وجل) says,
﴾ وَمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَىٰكُمْ عَنْهُ فَٱنتَهُوا۟ ﴿
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muḥammad) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” [Sūrah al-Ḥashr 59:7]
And the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Whatever I have forbidden you from, then leave it. And whatever I command you to do, do of it as much as you can.” The point is that the things that are forbidden in Islām, it is entirely possible for a person to leave them. A person does not need to do anything that is ḥarām. Whoever thinks this way has been tricked by the Shayṭān, and whoever wants to open the door thinking this way that doing the ḥarām is something they need, then he is going to open the door for every despicable person to do whatever their lowly desires dictate to them. He is going to leave the person who commits zinā saying, “I can’t leave it, I am used to it and I can’t”, and so on and so forth.
So it is an obligation upon the Muslim to obey the commandments of Allāh, His Religion and to leave everything that He has forbidden (سبحانه وتعالى). Allāh (عز وجل) says,
﴾وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلًا مُّبِينًا﴿
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allāh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allāh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.” [Sūrah al-Aḥzāb 33:36]
And Allāh (عز وجل) says,
﴾فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا۟ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا﴿
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muḥammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:65]
It is not permissible for a Muslim to say, “I can’t leave off that ḥarām. I got to do it.”—it is not true. Everything that Allāh has forbidden, you are able of leaving it. When a person enters into Islām, he must leave everything that Allāh (عز وجل) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) have forbidden.