I work in a hotel in Sharm al-Sheikh and my job is to carry suitcases for foreigners and any guest who comes to the hotel. I get a salary and a percentage and baksheesh. I do not work with alcohol and my agreement with the administration of the hotel is that I will carry luggage only. I hope that you can advise me because I am confused about my situation, because I want to leave this field, and with the salary, percentage and baksheesh I want to start my own business, but I want the money to be halaal so that Allaah will bless it for me.
Please note that there are some foreigners who carry alcohol in their luggage when they come to the hotel, and sometimes we know about that and sometimes we do not.
There are many guests in the hotel who do not like the free atmosphere in the hotel, which makes them leave the place.
We congratulate you on your eagerness for your wealth to be halaal, and we ask Allaah to make us independent of means by that which He has permitted, so that we will have no need of that which He has forbidden, and to make us independent of means by His bounty.
With regard to your salary and the percentage that has been agreed upon between you and your boss, there is no problem with these two issues, provided that the work for which you are being paid is permissible in principle. Carrying suitcases is basically permissible work, but the fact that you know there is alcohol in them makes carrying them haraam, and in fact it is a major sin. Abu Dawood (3674) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah 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 it (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 al-Irwa’ (2385).
With regard to baksheesh, one of the following three scenarios must apply:
1 – either there is an agreement between you and your boss that the baksheesh belongs to you, in which case there is nothing wrong with you taking it;
2 – or it is customary among people in such jobs that the baksheesh belongs to you and the boss knows that and approves of it, so there is nothing wrong with you taking it;
3 – or there is no agreement between you concerning baksheesh and the giving baksheesh is not customary in a job such as yours, and you do not know how the boss would react if he knew that you are keeping the baksheesh for yourself, or you know that his reaction would not be in your favour and he would not approve of that. In this case the baksheesh is what is known as the “agents’ gift” and it is haraam and it is not permissible for you to take it, because of the hadeeth of Abu Humayd al-Saa’idi, which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) employed a man called Ibn al-Latbiyyah to collect the zakaah. He came and said: This is for you, and this was given to me. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up on the minbar and praised and glorified Allaah, and said: “What is the matter with an agent whom I send, and he comes and says, ‘This is for you and this was given to me’? Why doesn’t he sit in the house of his mother and father, and see if he is given anything or not? No one of you brings any such thing but he will bring it on the Day of Resurrection, whether it is a camel or a cow or a sheep.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2457) and Muslim (1832).
With regard to the job itself – should you carry on with it or leave it? Working in a hotel to which foreign tourists come is not haraam in and of itself, but if it involves some haraam actions then it becomes haraam. Such hotels are not free of alcohol, haraam mixing, music and swimming pools, etc. This is what you refer to in your question by the “free atmosphere” which exists in the hotel. This is what makes working in this hotel and others like it haraam. You also say that you carry suitcases for customers in which there may be alcohol, which also supports the view that your working in this hotel is not permissible.
Based on that, you should hasten to leave this job and find a job in which your mind will be at ease about the salary that you earn. Be certain of the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him”
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You will never give up anything for the sake Allaah, but Allaah will exchange it for something that is better for you than it.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Hijaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah (47).
In the answer to question no. 46704 we have quoted the fatwa of one of the scholars which states that it is haraam to work as a security guard in a hotel in which there are haraam things, and it is haraam to work in furnished apartments and rooms in which there are haraam things.
In the answer to question no. 82356 we have spoken of the ruling on working in places such as the place where you are working.
And Allaah knows best.