Charging for Services

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Q: After completing my studies here in the UK I started doing assignments for foreign Arab students on their behalf and I charged a fee for this work. Somebody told me it's not allowed in Islam because this is cheating. At that time I asked one of the famous Imams after explaining to him that I do work for the Arab students who cannot write English well and the situation of that student is so bad that they cannot even write a single complete sentence. It was very hard for the students to write in English but their concepts are strong. For example, if they explain the concept in Arabic they can explain well, but English is the main problem and students cannot write effective English. The Imam told me the fee is Halaal for you because you are charging him for your labour. In addition, he explained that it is not Halaal for the student because he/she is cheating with the university. I am doing this work since then and have earned handsome money from it. I am also guiding the students on how to do their own work so in the future they can do their own assignments. One of my colleagues today again told me that I am doing wrong and it's not Halaal money. I am so worried about that. Please guide me. One thing I need to mention is that I am guiding to students on how to improve their English.

A:
The money you have earned is Halaal. We agree with what the Imam told you, that you earned money for doing a particular work notwithstanding the motives of the students for whom you worked. You were paid for a valid service, and in Islam such payment is Halaal.

However, for the future you should devise a system where you provide students with techniques and guidelines that will enable them to do their own assignments under your supervision. In this way they will not be cheating. It is wrong and deceiving on the part of the students to let you do the whole assignment and then pass it off as their own. Moreover, this will impact negatively on their progress in whatever course they are studying. So refrain from doing full assignments; instead let them do most of the work but you guide and aid them through the process.

And Allah knows best

Mufti Siraj Desai