Question 63 : What is the ruling (in Islam) for a taxi driver in Canada who sometimes is requested to fetch a customer to a place where alcohol is served (bar/pub) or from there to the customers house. And if it is haraam in Islam is there any (expiation) kaffarah for that? Despite the above, working as a taxi driver is convenient for me as I can stop the car whenever I can and go to pray in the masjid at the time of the prayer.
Answer : Assalamu alaikum Brothers and the friend who asked this question,
For us to find an answer to that question, let’s first consider what reason there may be to consider it haraam for a Muslim taxi driver in a Kafir society with alcohol everywhere to drive a customer to an alcohol shop in the taxi? If the reasons for it being haraam apply to our case, it will be haraam. Otherwise the default is halaal.
So, possible reason for it to be haraam, the first of the two main reasons maybe that Allah said in Surah Maidah:
ولا تعاونوا على الإثم والعدوان
“And do not mutually help each other in sin or transgression.”
Second reason maybe the Prophet (s.a.w) forbade not only the drinking of intoxicants but also other things that lead to it and facilitate it:
عن ابْنِ عُمَرَ قال قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( لَعَنَ اللَّهُ الْخَمْرَ وَشَارِبَهَا وَسَاقِيَهَا وَبَائِعَهَا وَمُبْتَاعَهَا وَعَاصِرَهَا وَمُعْتَصِرَهَا وَحَامِلَهَا وَالْمَحْمُولَةَ إِلَيْهِ ). وصححه الألباني في صحيح أبي داود .
Narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has cursed alcohol, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who squeezes (the grapes etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who carries it and the one to whom it is carried.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
The taxi driver is similar to, though not identical to, a bus driver in that the driver is merely taking a passenger from one address to another as a job in exchange for the cost of transporting. The taxi driver thus is not promoting, encouraging or mutually helping the person to drink alcohol. Rather he is driving from one address to another. Given that one address happens to be a pub is not helped by the taxi driver.
If instead the taxi driver took the person not as a transport but as a help and took him for free so that the customer could go and drink alcohol there, then this free helping is indeed helping and thus haraam. But driving a transport vehicle to transport a person from one address to another for fare paid in exchange is not helping to go to pub rather it is transport job from an address to address.
Likewise the taxi driver is really not doing any one of the ten things prohibited by the Prophet (s.a.w) in the above mentioned hadith.
**Taxi Driver Case Conclusion**
Thus, given that transporting does not come under prohibition of helping in sin nor serving the sinful alcohol, a taxi driver driving a person from an address to another address is permissible/halaal even if the 2nd address is a place of alcohol or haraam that is a common destination like any other in a Kafir country.
**Taxi Driver vs Uber Driver**
Also, a taxi driver is forced to take any customer that he is called to transport and cannot refuse it ordinarily. But if he knew beforehand that the destination is a place of alcohol, then it is good, but not obligatory, to not take that job for sake of keeping away from bad places. Thus a uber driver, if he has a choice not to take a customer going to a destination (such as pub) then it is good for him to stay away from bad places of sins, though not obligatory to reject that job because of reasons mentioned above.
**Taxi Job vs Alcohol Restaurant or Pub Shop Assistant**
Also all this is so for a taxi driver because he is taking perhaps a hundred customers from one address to another during his shift in a week and many of them will be to ordinary halal locations while only a few are to a pub type of address. Thus given that transporting of type mentioned above is itself permissible, this is permissible. But if the person is working in a restaurant and has to serve alcohol to a person who will drink it, then here this is not permissible because it is not a person being transported but the alcohol being served – something the Prophet (s.a.w) specifically forbade as in hadith above. Likewise if someone is working to shelve alcohol bottles in a shop selling alcohol then this too is haraam because shelving sale items is part of the selling process – specifically forbidden by the Prophet (s.a.w) in the hadith in Sahih Muslim and other hadith too.
**Taxi Driver vs Courier of Alcohol Parcels**
But if a person had to courier a parcel of bottles of alcohol then this is a grey area. Because it is not a person being transported from one to another address given that a person has a choice not to do haraam at the destination, whereas this is transporting the haraam object to someone else to drink the haraam and as such it ought to be haraam.
**Summary of Main Question**
Returning to the main question, transporting a person as a taxi driver from an address to any another as a job for money seems to be halaal after considering the texts from Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w).
Allah knows best.