Among the sins of the abdomen are to consume the money of usurious gains (ar-riba), to consume the money of taxes on trade (al-maks), to consume the money of others taken from them by force (al-ghasb), to consume the stolen money (as-sariqah), and to consume anything taken through a deal which is unlawful by the Islamic law (shar^).
Explanation: Consuming any type of money that one receives through usurious gain (ar-riba) is prohibited. This does not refer to only eating what is taken by usurious gain, it also refers to using any type of money that one acquires through usurious gains because such money does not belong to the one who acquired it in this unlawful way. If someone acquires money through usurious gain, this person does not truly own the money; this money is still owned by the original owner. This is why the one who takes it is not allowed to consume it.
Consuming the money taken by usurious gain is an enormous sin. Some of the Companions said:
لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ءاكلَ الربا وموكِلَه و كاتبه و شاهده
Which means: The Prophet ﷺ damned the one who takes Ar-Riba, the one who gives it, the one writes its contract and the one who witnesses such a contract.
All of them are damned by the Prophet ﷺ and any sin about which it is mentioned in the religious texts that the one who commits it is damned, is an enormous sin. The one who writes the contract for usurious gain is damned by the Prophet ﷺ and is committing an enormous sin, whether he takes money or not to write the contract. The one who witnesses such a contract contract is damned, whether he takes money to be a witness or not.
It is also prohibited to consume the tax money (al-maks). What is meant by the tax money is the money which is unrightfully taken from the traders and others by the ruler1. Consuming such money is also a sin.
Likewise, it is sinful to unlawfully take money from someone by force and consume it (Al-Ghasb). Both, taking it unrightfully by force and consuming it are sinful.
It is also sinful to consume stolen money (As-Sariqah). Religiously, stolen money refers to the money which is taken unrightfully in a concealed manner from where it is usually kept. If money was taken in the said manner, it is stolen money. So, for example, if one had a certain amount of money in a bag and he left that bag of money outside the masjid, next to the door, so that he can go make wuDoo’, then someone comes and takes that bag of money; the one who takes it did not steal the money. He is not permitted to do that and he committed a sin, but in the rules of the religion, this is not considered stealing because this is not where money is usually kept. Consuming such money and consuming stolen money are both prohibited.
Also, one might take the money of someone else while relying on running away; not in a concealed manner and not relying on force. Such a person might snatch the money and run away. Unrightfully taking someone’s property in such a way is sinful and consuming such money is sinful.
Anyone who knows that the money was acquired unlawfully is not permitted to consume it. For example: Person B unlawfully takes the money of person A, whether by usurious gain, force, or otherwise, and then person B gives this money to person C. If person C knows that this money was taken unlawfully, he is not allowed to consume it because he knows this money was taken unrightfully from its owner, person A. So, anyone who knows that the money was taken unlawfully is not allowed to consume it. If it reaches one’s hands and he knows that it was taken unlawfully, he needs to give it back to its actual owner (the one from whom it was originally taken unlawfully).
It was narrated by Al-Bukhariyy and others that the Prophet ﷺ said:
إن أناسًا يتخوضون في مال الله بغير حقفلهم النار يوم القيامة
Which means: Those who indulge in using unlawful money deserve the torture of Hellfire in the Hereafter.
So, one must avoid unlawful money.
In Harar, there was a trader who bought olive oil to make soap out of it. They don’t grow olives in Harar, so the oil is imported there and this usually makes it more expensive. He had the olive oil in a container and a mouse went into that container of olive oil and it died in it. So, as it is known in by the religious judgment, after the mouse died, it became najas-filthy and all the olive oil in that container became najas-filthy. This man was a good person, so he went to one of the scholars and he asked him, “Is it permissible for me to sell this olive oil after it became najas filthy?” That scholar told him, “No, it is not permissible for you to do that.” So the trader immediately disposed of the olive oil. He was not a wealthy person at all at the time. However, he later became one of the wealthiest people in that town. He became a big trader and a very wealthy person, maa shaa’ Allaah.
This is how one should act. One should observe the rules of the religion, regardless of the money that is coming in. Whether one’s income is a lot or a little, one should observe the religious rules in all cases.
1It is not permissible to take money from traders and others unrightfully, like many rulers do nowadays. However, when there is a necessity and there isn’t enough money in the treasury to fulfill those necessities, it is permissible for the ruler to take enough money from the wealthy people in order to fulfill those necessities. He cannot take anymore than what is needed to fulfill those necessities.
An example: There are poor people in an area who do not have basic shelter, basic food, and basic clothing. If there isn’t enough money in the treasury to cover the needs of these people, the ruler is permitted to take some money from the wealthy people which is enough to fulfill the needs of these poor people. He can do this to cover such needs even if it reaches a point of taking all the money of the wealthy and leaving them with enough to cover their needs for one year. So, if there is a necessity, the ruler can take all the money of the wealthy and all of their belongings, except for what they need for themselves and their dependents for one year.
In the rules of the religion, it is not permissible to leave those poor people without taking care of them. If the ruler does not want to do it for one reason or another, then the wealthy Muslims must take care of this issue. If they neglect fulfilling the needs of those poor people, they would be sinful for that.