Unlawful earnings: Its effects on wife and children

Q653 :If a man makes a great deal of unlawful earnings, will that affect his wife and children? How can he escape punishment on the Day of Judgment?

A653 : There is a basic rule in Islam which tells us that everyone is responsible for his or her own actions. No one shares the burden of another. However, if this man's wife and children (if they are adults) know of his unlawful earnings and accept them or indeed encourage him in his unlawful actions, then they share his sin. That is not because they are his wife and children, but because they know of his action and they encourage him to proceed with it. They are responsible for that encouragement. What this means in effect is that if the wife is ignorant of her husband's activities and if the children are too young to know or judge their father's practice, they are free of blame. Allah does not punish one person by inflicting suffering on another. This man is certainly responsible for what he does, but the way Allah punishes him is not by inflicting that punishment on his children or his wife. Allah is the most just of judges and He does not punish one person for another person's mistake. Having said that, I have to point out that such a person deprives his dependents, whom Allah has entrusted to his care, of the benefits of living on lawfully earned money. What is lawful brings goodness and enhances talents and abilities. With what is forbidden comes gloom and a stifling atmosphere. To escape punishment by Allah for such a sin, the first thing this man should do is repent of his action. His repentance must be sincere and combined with a resolve not to indulge in such an activity again. Secondly, and equally important, he should return to everyone what he got from him by unlawful means. It is open to him to return these in any way which is suitable and which does not land him in trouble. If he cannot identify those who have claims against him, then he should isolate unlawful earnings and give them away as charity. He must not keep them with him.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )