Q) What is the ruling on working in a tourism company or an airline company booking airplane tickets or making reservations on ships? What is the ruling on working as a tourist guide? Please note that I am a graduate of the college of tourism and hotel management.
A) Praise be to Allaah.
There is nothing wrong with working in an office booking plane tickets or reservations on ships, if that does not involve helping in evildoing. Helping in evildoing includes selling tickets to one who it is known or thought most likely that he is travelling for haraam purposes, such as one who takes his family to a kaafir country for tourism and leisure, or one who goes to places of corruption such as resorts and tourist areas which are not free of all evils and corruption, such as mixing between men and women, consumption of intoxicants and haraam things, and so on, because Allaah says (interpretation meaning):
“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment”
It is well-known that tourism, as it is known nowadays, it is not free of things that incur punishment and major sins, such as drinking alcohol, nakedness, promiscuity, spread of immorality, neglecting prayers … and all the other evils which have been seen and are known about by everyone who hears about tourism. But if we could say that tourism was free of such evils, then our words would be theoretical and we would be speaking about some other kind of tourism that is different to that which people know and see nowadays.
There is no doubt that working in this field is cooperating in sin and transgression, and inclination towards immoral people and evildoers, and towards the people of sin. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allaah, nor you would then be helped”
Shaykh al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
“And incline not toward those who do wrong” because, if you incline toward them and join them in their wrongdoing or approve of their wrongdoing, “the Fire [will] touch you”, if you do that, “and you [will] have no protectors other than Allaah” to protect you from the punishment of Allaah, and they will not bring you anything of the reward of Allaah. “nor [would you] then be helped” i.e., the punishment would not be warded off from you if it touched you. This verse is a warning against inclining towards any wrongdoer or joining him in his wrongdoing or approving of the wrong that he is doing.
If this warning has to do with inclining towards wrongdoing, then what about the wrongdoers themselves? We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound from wrongdoing. End quote. Tafseer al-Sa’di (290).
Moreover, tourism is based on moving between archaeological places which attract tourists, such as the dwellings of Thamood and Pharaonic temples and tombs, but these are places of punishment and curses and it is not permissible to enter them or visit them.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) passed by al-Hijr, he said: “Do not enter the dwellings of those who wronged themselves unless you are weeping, lest there befall you what befell them.” Then he covered his face with his upper garment (rida’) while he was on the camel saddle. Agreed upon.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
This shows that we are encouraged to be alert when passing by the dwellings of the wrongdoers and places where punishment came down. A similar example is hastening when passing through Wadi Muhassir, because the companions of the elephant were destroyed there. The person who passes through such places should be alert, feel a sense of fear, weep, and learn a lesson from them and the places where they met their doom, and he should seek refuge with Allaah from that. End quote.
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah:
At the end of your letter, you say that you are a tourism manager in your city. If this tourism includes facilitating the committing of sin and evil actions, and promoting them, then it is not permissible for a Muslim who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to be a helper in disobedience to Allaah and going against His commands. The one who gives up something for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will compensate him with something better than it. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah (26/224).
The committee was also asked:
What is the ruling on travelling to Arab and Muslim countries for the purpose of tourism? Please note that we do not go to entertainment venues.
They replied: It is not permissible to travel to corrupt places for the sake of tourism, because of the danger that that poses to religious commitment and morals, because sharee’ah seeks to block the means that lead to evil. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah (26/331).
It is not permissible to work in tourism or any other field which facilitates the aims of sinful people, or to approve of their sins and help them to commit them, or to refrain from denouncing them when one is able to. Rather the one who is unable to change an evil or denounce it, must shun its people and not keep company with them or show them the way to do it.
And Allaah knows best.