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Doing One’s Own Work During Official Work Hours/ Doing personal work in free time during

working hours.

Question 01 : What is the ruling on an employee reading Qur'aan during official work hours at
the company’s expense?.

Praise be to Allaah .
If that is at the company’s expense – as mentioned in the question – then it is not
permissible, because the employee has agreed with the workplace that he will do the work that
he is entrusted with, adhering to the daily work hours. So if he does not work complete hours,
or falls short in his work, that is forbidden, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Fulfil (your) obligations”

[al-Maa'idah 5:1]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Muslims are bound
by their conditions.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (3594), classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh
Abi Dawood.
But if his reading Qur'aan does not affect his work performance, there is nothing wrong
with that in sha Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: If an employee has
finished his work and he wants to make use of the time by reading Qur’aan or reading
something useful, or even wants to take a nap so that he can rest a little, is there anything
wrong with that?
He replied:
There is nothing wrong with that so long as he has completed the work that he was
entrusted with. But if he is negligent or falls short in doing his work, then it is haraam for him
and it is not permissible. As for taking a nap, there is no concession with regard to that, because
he will have no control over himself and he may sleep and miss his work without realizing. End
quote from Fataawa al-Huqooq, compiled by Abu Khaalid al-Juraysi, p. 59.
And Allaah knows best.
Question 02: What is the ruling on doing my own work during work hours, knowing that I do
not have anything to do?.

Praise be to Allaah.
If the second job requires leaving the workplace of the first job, then it is clear that this
is not permitted, because it is breaking the conditions of the first job. The first job stipulates
that he should stay there until this hour until this hour, and the Muslims are bound by their
If the other job does not require him to leave the first workplace and will not conflict with
it or delay it, and he is only doing something when he finds free time during his work, it seems
that this does not do any harm, because so long as he is not busy during this time, then the
time is wasted and not put to good use.

Question 03: Assalaamu alaykum. I have come to know that if we have finished our work and
still have free time, it is permissible to do our personal activities, and we are entitled to the
salary if we stayed available during the time prescribed. What if I use this spare time to support
my freelance work? This means that I am getting paid for freelance work that I do during the
regular job time. I have heard that it is impermissible to do personal work that is paid during
work hours even if we stayed available in the office of the regular job. Is this true? Is the salary
from both jobs halal?

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of
worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and

The effort of the hired worker during working hours belongs to his employer, and he is not
entitled to spend his effort in working for himself or for others except with the permission of
his employer.

Az-Zaylaʻi wrote, "The Ajeer Khaas (private worker) is called thus because he is hired
by one employer as a private worker to carry out a specific task during a specific time interval,
and it is impermissible for him to work for another employer, because his effort in that specific
time is exclusively owned by his employer, and the salary is in return for that effort..."

[Tabyeen Al-Haqaa'iq]
Kashshaaf Al-Qinaaʻ reads, "He – i.e. the private worker – is not entitled to work for another
employer because it entails depriving the employer of what he deserves by virtue of the

The fact that the employee finished his work duties and has free time does not make it
permissible for him to do work for others or for his own personal benefit as long as the
employer has not given him permission to do so; and what is permitted by `Urf (customary
practice of people in your community) substitutes explicit permission. The employee does not
own this time so that he spends it as he wills or earns money during it, because this time
belongs to his employer. So, what his employer permits him to do during this time, he may do
it, and what his employer does not permit him to do, he may not do it.

The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh reads, " if he is a private worker, he is obliged to

make himself available to his employer and allow him to receive the work agreed upon between
them in full in the working hours, and he refrains from working for another employer during
these hours."

If the employee worked for another employer during the working hours without his
employer's consent, scholars held different views regarding the legal effects incurred by his

Kashshaaf Al-Qinaaʻ reads:

"If the private worker worked for other than his employer and his employer was harmed
by that (incurred loss), his employer has the right to demand of him to return the value of that
loss that he incurred by his working for another. (Imaam) Ahmad was asked about a man who
hired a private worker to carry firewood on two donkeys every day. The worker carried
firewood on the two donkeys for his employer and on donkeys for another man and received
his wages from him. (Imaam Ahmad gave his fatwa, saying that) If working for the second
employer incurred loss or harm on the first employer, the worker must return part of the
wages in proportion to the loss. Ibn Qudaamah said, 'The apparent meaning is that the
employer should reclaim part of the wages in proportion to the harm incurred on him because
the employee engaged in other work. It could mean that the employee should give the
employer the money he earned from the other work.' Al-Qaadhi said, 'It means that the
employee should give his employer the money he has earned through working for another
employer, because the private worker's effort during working hours are exclusively owned by
the employer.' It is deduced that if the employer is not harmed (does not incur loss) by the
employee's engagement in other work, the employee is not obliged to return any part of the
wages because the employer has hired him to carry out a specific task and he did it as
Allah knows best.

Ruling on working outside of regular hours for oneself in the workplace

Question 04: I work as a programmer in a computer company, producing educational programs.

After work hours end, I start to think of producing other educational programs that may be
similar, but in a different way than that which I use for work. That would be for my own gain
with a group of my colleagues. Is it permissible for me to do that or not?.

Praise be to Allaah.
We hope that the educational programs that you would like to produce are free of haraam
things such as music, pictures of women, training in riba-based accounting, and so on.
There is no reason why you should not produce identical or similar programs to those that
you produce during your work for the computer company, but that is subject to certain
1. You should not use materials, programs or equipment belonging to your workplace to
produce your own programs.
2. Your work to produce these things of your own should be done outside of regular work
hours and not during them, because during your regular work hours you are obliged to give the
company its due of your efforts, and it is not permissible for you to be distracted by work that
has nothing to do with your regular job, especially if it is work that benefits you personally.
3. You should not try to take customers away from your employer to market your products
to them. You got to know these customers through the company you are working for, so selling
the programs that you have produced to them is regarded as a betrayal of trust.
This is what came to mind of conditions so that your own production of educational
programs will be permissible for you in terms of both production and selling.
And Allah knows best.
Question 05 : I have been working as an engineer in a petroleum services company for ten years.
My basic job is maintaining the company’s equipment and providing technical support, but
other tasks have been added to my job over the last ten years. My company treats me like
anyone else, or less than that, because I do not demand increases in my salary as others do;
rather I wait for the company to evaluate me, which has only happened once or twice. I began
to invent things for my company and I was promised more than once that I would be rewarded,
but this has not happened. On the contrary, I was rebuked because I asked to be rewarded. I
have introduced many inventions and huge improvements. But that was to no avail; all I get
is moral support and words of praise. Now I have invented something but this time I did not
give it to my company directly; rather I gave it to an intermediary company to submit it in its
name to my company in return for commission that I agreed to give to this intermediary
company, after it gets the price for my invention when it sells it to my company. This invention
already exists in America, but it is very expensive, at least 50% more. My company has
benefited greatly from this product. My question is: is what I have done halaal or haraam?.

Praise be to Allaah.
Patents, inventions, copyright and so on belong to the inventor or author, and he has the
right to receive payment for them, because it is customary that these rights have financial
value in the marketplace.
The Islamic Fiqh Council has issued a statement to this effect, the text of which is as
“The Islamic Fiqh Council, in its session held during its fifth conference in Kuwait, 1-6
Jumaada al-Awwal 1409 AH/10-15 December 1988 CE, after studying the research presented by
members and experts on the topic of intangible rights, and listening to the discussions that
were held concerning this topic, has determined the following:
Trade names, company names, trademarks, writings and inventions are all the copyright of
their owners or authors, which in modern practice have acquired monetary value. These rights
are respected by sharee’ah and it is not permissible to transgress against them.
If your work to invent this thing did not involve using any of the products belonging to the
company, and you did not do it on company time, meaning that you worked on it outside of
working hours, or at times when you were not required to work, then this is your exclusive
right as stated above, and there is nothing wrong with selling it to your company or to an
intermediate company who can sell it to your company.
But if that was at the expense of your work for the company, or you used the company’s
materials, products or laboratory, then you have done wrong because you got distracted from
your work and because you used the company’s resources for a purpose other than that for
which they were intended, and you have to compensate the company for what is their due. The
basic principle is that you should tell them and work out an agreement to be paid for your
efforts and invention. If you will be harmed by admitting this or you think it most likely that
the company will not give you anything, then try to give them their due by any means possible
after working out what you owe them with the help of experts in that field.
This right of the company, if it is proven, does not make it permissible to transgress against
the company on the grounds that they did not give you an increase in your salary or that they
did not appreciate your work and inventions, because two wrongs do not make a right. You
should strive to improve your standing in the company by proper means, such as asking for it.

And Allah knows best.