Many States in the Arabian Peninsula use their muslim brothers from Bangladesh on 3-year rolling contracts with a six month break to return to their families. Many of these men are married. This tears them away from their children & their wives. Given the stipulations in the Hadith about sexual abstinence, the claims of wives have on their husbands, that husbands have on their wives, is this practice not Haram?

If it is, then it is not Haram practice by simply the contracting companies, but also by both States; as it requires the collaboration of the both States for these schemes to become a practical reality. (I'm talking about both the Bangladeshi State & Arabian State. But of course Bangladesh is in a weaker position here).

Unfortunately, I do not read Arabic; nor Bengali well enough to know whether there has been a debate on this issue in either the Islamic States in question, nor in Bangladesh. The English press, in Bangladesh seems to have been silent on this issue. But then again, this may be due to my ignorance, I don't spend a great deal of time there, nor do the people I know there tend to be highly literate.

Basically, the question hinges on what counts as human trafficking in Shariah, and what is legitimate.

(Of course, there is the practice of these Work Visas being bought & sold at the rural level at $3500, when the per-capita income of Bangladesh is $850; and at the rural level its much less. I do know that the Malaysian Government is trying to do something about this, if not the Arabian States, but I'd like to bring that up in a separate question, but I'm not sure its legitimate here).

  • 2
    <comments deleted> @NabilA., this sort of discussion should be held on meta, not in comments.
    – goldPseudo
    Dec 10, 2012 at 22:14
  • in old times people did travel for long periods of time away from family and came back when children were all adult. That didn't affect their martial status. Yes both, male/female, has right on to each other. But food is also important. Workers aren't doing it out of hate, anger, etc...they are doing it earn halal food. Oct 22, 2013 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I have lived most of my life in Saudi Arabia, and am a Saudi national. I try to be fair and balanced in my views, but bias of some sort is inevitable.

This is a very broad issue, and is being debated a lot among more forward thinking society in the host nations of the Arabian peninsula. In fact, many of those countries are drafting reforms to labor laws to handle these sorts of complaints. Are they perfect? Probably not, but reform and change come very slowly to this part of the world.

Returning to your question, there are many many issues and problems with regards to expatriate labor laws (and they do differ among different countries), so it would literally take multiple essays to fully answer it.

So, I will single out only one issue: the long contracts. The keyword here is contract. If (and only if) both signatories have agreed to the terms in the contract (fair or not), then according to Islamic word of law the contract is binding. Now, is the contract in the spirit of Islam? That is a whole different issue (that isn't strictly black and white) and would probably take far too long to discuss to be an SE answer.

  • The length of the contract is specifically what I'm asking about. I haven't raised any other issues in the question, (but of course there are others). I'm also asking about one country - Bangladesh. I don't understand why expatriate labour, say from Pakistan comes into it. You're answering a different question, I'm afraid: which is when is a commercial contract binding. But I'm glad to hear that the issue is being debated, and possible reforms to labour laws may happen. Dec 10, 2012 at 20:46
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    This is an issue that isn't restricted to Bangladesh. Workers from many other south Asian countries suffer the same thing. Dec 10, 2012 at 20:48
  • I'm aware of that, but like you yourself say, 'expatriate labour laws differ for each country', to answer for each & every-one would take too long. You asked 'is the contract in the spirit of Islam?' Well that's exactly what I'm asking. Dec 10, 2012 at 21:14

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