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I am an international Master's student in San Francisco, an expensive city. My visa doesn't allow me to work, at least legally, so I was looking for a job "under the table". I found a job for delivery food via the DoorDash app (via my friend's account).

Some orders include alcohol, which I never accept.

Other orders include pork ingredients, but I'm struggling to decline so many, as this could result of the closure of my account.

Under these circumstances, am I allowed to deliver this kind of products under the exception that it's a necessity?

  • Welcome to Islam SE. Questions are expected to be specific, on topic, and with some research done prior to asking. Please refer to How to Ask, and take a tour in our help center. What is your basis that you are allowed to work illegally in the first place from an Islamic point of view? – III-AK-III Mar 17 '18 at 13:29
  • Working on a student visa outside the university is not permissible as per law. You knew this before even applying for the visa. Coming to the second part of the question, in SFO you have many 'desi muslim' restaurants that hire F1 students on cash basis. It is illegal and the pay is low. But you won't be serving pork or alcohol. Or you could uber if you have a car or you could transfer to a university in a cheaper city or better still apply for a GA or RA position at your current place. – Ahmed Mar 18 '18 at 14:35
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Under any circumstances, the answer is the same. The forbiddance of both alcohol and swine is well established in Islam and is not contextual; hence, no specific fatwa is required. Any act that one does to assist oneself or someone else to obtain or consume any such forbidden items is a cooperation on sin and transgression that Allah has commanded us not to do:

وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَاب

And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

— Surat Al-Ma'idah 5:2

Furthermore, specific to your situation of assisting on the selling of swine through delivery, in 8 A.H. the year of the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet ﷺ told his companions that selling of wine and swine (among other things) was forbidden. The companions questioned about the other benefits of the fat of swine, but the Prophet ﷺ maintained that it was forbidden:

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثٌ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ أَبِي حَبِيبٍ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ أَبِي، رَبَاحٍ عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ عَامَ الْفَتْحِ وَهُوَ بِمَكَّةَ

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ حَرَّمَ بَيْعَ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْتَةِ وَالْخِنْزِيرِ وَالأَصْنَامِ

فَقِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ شُحُومَ الْمَيْتَةِ فَإِنَّهُ يُطْلَى بِهَا السُّفُنُ وَيُدْهَنُ بِهَا الْجُلُودُ وَيَسْتَصْبِحُ بِهَا النَّاسُ فَقَالَ

لاَ هُوَ حَرَامٌ

ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ

قَاتَلَ اللَّهُ الْيَهُودَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَمَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهَا أَجْمَلُوهُ ثُمَّ بَاعُوهُ فَأَكَلُوا ثَمَنَهُ

Jabir ibn 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying in the Year of Victory while he was in Mecca:

Verily Allah and His Messenger have forbidden the sale of wine, carcass, swine, and idols.

It was said: "Allah's Messenger, you see that the fat of the carcass is used for coating the boats and varnishing the hides and people use it for lighting purposes," whereupon he said:

No, it is forbidden.

Then Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said:

May Allah the Exalted and Majestic destroy the Jews; when Allah forbade the use of fat of the carcass for them, they melted it, and then sold it and made use of its price (received from it).

— Sahih Muslim, Book 22, Hadith 87

Accordingly, the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta ruled in its Fatawa 14/50 (Arabic only) that it is forbidden to work or earn money through dealing with forbidden items (wine or swine), and that any return or reward or earning coming out of such items is harām.

The cost of living in some places may be higher than one's expectations or capabilities, but this does not elevate to the necessity that warrants an exemption. The rule that one who fears Allah then Allah will provide for one holds:

وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ ۚ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا

And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.

— Surat At-Talaq 65:2-3

On another note, since you brought it up in your question, if you enter a country under the condition that you would not work, you need to acknowledge such a condition as:

  • As Muslims, we are commanded to respect our contracts
  • Breaching a condition is a breach of trust.

As Muslims, at all times, Allah commanded us to fulfill our contracts:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ

O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.

— Surat Al-Ma'idah 5:1

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said that the rule in Islam, when it comes to contracting, is that everything is considered forbidden unless what is explicitly allowed by a contract term or what is implicitly allowed by higher governing laws and regulations (see Majmū' al-Fatāwa 30/126, Arabic only). So even if your visa (an F-1 student visa, I presume) does not explicitly prohibit you from working unless it explicitly says you can work, it is forbidden to do so in Islam. If there is an explicit condition of not working, then it is even a more obvious case that it is not allowed in Islam to do so as we as Muslims are bound by our conditions: "And the Muslims will be held to their conditions, except the conditions that make the lawful unlawful, or the unlawful lawful" (see Jami' at-Tirmidhi 15/32).

When a Muslim is entrusted with a matter, one has to attend to such trust (and promise):

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ

And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive

— Surat Al-Mu'minun 23:8

Ibn Qudamah explained in Al-Mughni 9/295/7587 (Arabic only) that betraying the trust of the people that allow one to enter their land and establish residence is not allowed, as such trust is conditional upon obeying their laws and not betraying them, even if not explicitly expressed in their contract; it is an assumption that elevates to knowledge. Ibn Hajar had the same message in Fat'h al-Bāri 5/341 (Arabic only), and added that attending to one's trust and promises is not conditional upon the other party being Muslim. Not only so, but even during the times of war, if a Muslim enters a country of the enemy under conditions of security, Imam Ash-Shāfi'i said in Al-Umm 4/263 (Arabic only) that Muslims must attend to their trust and promises until they leave (to get back into a state of war) without inflicting injustice or committing betrayal during their period of stay.

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