Paying for one's studies with haraam money

Q: My questions are regarding haram earnings and investing it in education. I have learnt that investing haram money in a halal business is haram, and any remuneration is impermissible. This is what I understand.

1. If someone invests haram money in education by purchasing a course(s) that are permissible to study like language, science etc. and then they go on to study a degree also bought with haram earnings, will the knowledge that they acquire be permissible for them to use?

2. What is the status of the certificates and/or degree gained? Are these things haram for one who acquired them to keep or show employers?

3. And if he goes onto use this knowledge in a profession like medicine, teaching, engineering etc. will his earnings be haram? For example, he studies GCSE's, A-Levels, then goes onto study a degree in physics and then becomes a physics teacher after qualifying; will his earnings be haram after he spent haram earnings on all his previous courses?

A: 1-2-3. If the haraam wealth was usurped or acquired unjustly, it should be returned to its rightful owners. If the rightful owners are not known (e.g. interest money obtained through the banks etc.), then its equivalent should be given in charity to the poor without the intention of receiving any reward. One should sincerely repent to Allah Ta'ala for obtaining and utilising the haraam wealth. Nevertheless, the earnings acquired through such education and knowledge will be halaal if utilised correctly and their is nothing impermissible associated with it.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)