Now I know that selling illicit substances or stealing or pickpocketing it's haram by default according to Quran, Sunnah and ijmaa', so I don't want answers like "Stealing is haram and deplorable..." because I'm going to mention a very delicate context. If a person 1- is homeless, cannot get a job because they have had a bad past and, because of it, they are barred from both job centers and job market itself, 2- cannot go out of their own country because they're the citizen of that only country and they are moreover barred to go out of that country (i.e passport revoked permanently) 3- won't be helped by social services because of, again, their bad past. 4-has not any relative whatsoever 5-tries to seek help but with no avail because of them being rejected for the person they were

and their only way to survive is to pickpocket, steal items or growing and selling illicit substances, is it islamically permissible for them to seek these routes, since all the possible legit doors are shut down for them?

P.S these things are haram in general, I do know that.

  • 2
    The problem with your scenario is that there are halal ways to earn sustenance other than conventional jobs, e.g. informal work, foraging, trading, freelancing etc. – UmH Oct 17 '19 at 4:09
  • A relevant concept in jurisprudence is الاضطرار the condition where one faces certain and immediate death, in which case it is temporarily permissible to avert it by consuming the property of another, as in such a situation the person has a right to it and the other person is obligated to spend on them. – UmH Oct 17 '19 at 4:29
  • I'm supposing the person is barred on every direction. They do not have access to anything whatsoever. – us er Oct 17 '19 at 6:47

A person can do what they must to survive, to avert death.. even if that means stealing food when in dire situations. It's even reported that the rightly guided caliph Umar ibn Al Khattab رضي الله عنه said, "do not cut the hand of the thief who steals dates in the year of famine". If there was no leniency, this would not have been his verdict; rather he would've upheld cutting off their hands even in famine.

The concept of doing what is forbidden out of necessity/compulsion is proven through the Qur'an. Allah (ﷻ) made exceptions for those who are driven to eat something haram out of necessity, on the condition that they have no inclination (desire) to do that action otherwise. You can read this IslamQA fatwa for the details and conditions: Permissibility of haraam things in the case of necessity and the conditions governing that.

Hopefully this answers your question.


It's important not to dwell on "hypotheticals". This situation you describe is very unrealistic. Some people have other options and yet they still pretend they have no options and need to do haram. This is delusional and they are going to get the full extent of sin for those actions.

e.g., if the person has the ability (land, water, etc) to grow something on Allah's (ﷻ) green earth, then it makes no sense (and would be haram, no exceptions) why he would choose an "illicit substance" over something that is pure and halal.. like farming food and selling it for sustenance. Moreover, it's harder for those with bad pasts to get jobs but not impossible. Nowadays some places even offer specific jobs and/or free programs for rehabilitation to such people who are trying to turn their lives around.

And there's a few other options that you're overlooking. This person should first seek out the nearest masjid (mosque) for assistance, financial and otherwise. Masajid do not do background checks to help people :) But if for some reason the masjid cannot help (unlikely), begging on the streets is still better than stealing!

All in all, the person should strive to do what is right from the start, and Allah (ﷻ) will support him.

Qur'an 65:2-3 "whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out And will provide for him from where he does not expect"

  • Salamo3alaykom, thanks for the answer. However, the situations like these one are really common place, especially in the country I live in, which has masjid members that are faaaar from being merciful and polite to the homeless. – us er Oct 18 '19 at 14:56
  • Wa Alaikum as Salam. There's sincere people in every country. I'm sure your country/area doesn't only have 1 masjid. Find another masjid with people that are willing to help. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Oct 18 '19 at 23:49

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