I am a communications engineer, working in broadcast engineering. The nature of my work involves operating and maintaining electronic equipment that is used to re-transmit signals to some Arab countries and some local radio stations. Please note that I do not have anything to do with the nature of the programs offered by these channels or stations. Please note these channels and stations propagate and promote goals. Is this work haraam, and if so, why?.
Satellite channels are not all the same, although most of them are not free of evils, innovations and sinful or immoral content, and even kufr and heresy.
These channels may be divided into three main groups: Islamic channels; music and movies; and news channels which also offer educational and political programs.
Working for Islamic channels in operating, re-transmitting and maintaining equipment is permissible work; indeed the one who does that will be rewarded for it if he intends thereby to guide and teach people and to protect their religious commitment and morals. What we mean by Islamic channels is those that propagate the beliefs of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah and that avoid showing women or using music. Examples of that are al-Majd, ar-Rahmah, al-Hikmah and an-Naas.
The opposite is the ruling on working for indecent channels which propagate immorality through their programs, such as movies, soap operas, music, love stories and misbehaviour. These channels may contain all kinds of corruption and evil, or they may specialise in some kinds, such as channels that offer movies, music and indecent messages. There should be no difference of opinion concerning the fact that it is haraam to work for these channels in any way, because just as Allah, may He be exalted, forbade the believer to disobey Him, He also forbade him to help the sinner in his disobedience. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the 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”
With regard to news channels, they are permissible in principle, but because those who are in charge of them usually do not pay attention to Islamic rulings, they end up transgressing the shar‘i limits, such as having female presenters with full adornment, or music, or trailers for movies, or sports news in which the ‘awrahs of men and women appear, or interviews with heretics and innovators, and other things that are well known.
Working for these channels in operating, transmission and maintenance of their equipment is not free of sin, because of the things we have mentioned in the content of these channels. What is most befitting for the Muslim is to avoid working for them, transmitting their content or maintaining their equipment, so as to protect his religious commitment and ensure that his earnings are halaal and free of any haraam contamination.
It should also be noted that the details discussed above apply equally to audio channels as well as video channels; there is no difference.
Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own, and verily, they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about that which they used to fabricate”
“They will bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection, and also of the burdens of those whom they misled without knowledge. Evil indeed is that which they shall bear!”
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow it, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.”
Narrated by Muslim, 2674.
The two channels asked about fall into the second and third categories, hence it is not permissible to maintain their broadcast equipment, because that is helping in the sin that is prevalent in their work, except in the case of one who it is known or thought most likely that he will only use it for permissible purposes.
Please see the answer to question no. 41105 for a discussion on the ruling on working for a company that broadcasts satellite channels.
Remember that whoever gives up something for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him with something better than it.
We ask Allah to make you independent of means with that which He has permitted so that you will have no need of that which He has forbidden, and that He will suffice you from His bounty.
And Allah knows best.