Can a pharmacists supply unlawful medicines to its customers

Fatwa ID: 01791

Answered by Molana Ishaaq Hussain

Question:

My question is regarding the lawfulness of my current job. I work as acommunity pharmacist in Sheffield. I recently read a fatwa statingthat anything that is haram fome to use is also haram for me to sellor supply, even to non-Muslims. I also read another fatwa that it isnot permissible to use haram medicines when halal alternatives are available.

Now a lot of times I have to supply a haram medicine, even though ahalal alternative is available, because that is what the doctor has prescribed which I have to give or a patient might want to buytheir favourite brand of medicine. And of course as this is anon-Muslim country, neither the doctor prescribing the medicine or acustomer requesting to buy a medicine will be too concerned whetherthe ingredients are haram or not and will be concerned with otherfactors such as price of medicines and it is difficult for me torefuse to supply those haram medicines. 

So basically I wanted to know, is it haram for me to supply / sell amedicine that I know contains a haram ingredient when other halalalternatives are available. 

Answer:

Bismillah

Majority of the scholars agree that if a person is suffering from a severe illness and he has the financial ability to pay for the treatment, then to treat himself through medicines or other sources becomes wajib upon him. However, if the illness is not serious and he does not have the financial ability then to treat himself does not become wajib. It only becomes mustahub. (NizamulFatawa P.350 V.1)

Wherever possible the cure should be done with paak and halal animals. However, sometimes in necessity, the only alternative for a certain illness is through a particular medicine, which have impure and unlawful substances.

There are two possible strands:

  1. To use it without necessity
  2. To use it in necessity.

Regarding the first possible strand, the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has said that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has placed no cure for the Muslims in haraam. (MishkaatulMasaabeeh P.388 V.2)

In another hadith it is stated that the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has prohibited us from impure and filthy medicines. (MishkaatulMasaabeeh P388 V.2)

However, later day jurists, keeping in mind the modern day impure medicines and the weakness of people against it have given permission in the usage of haraam medicine on the condition that another lawful and pure medicine is not effective or is not available. (Maariful Quran P.437 V.1)

The second possible situation is to use it in necessity. A person whose life is in danger can use such medicines, which are forbidden on him to save his life on the following conditions:

  1. There is extreme necessity that one’s life is in danger.
  2. Another lawful medicine does not work, or is not available.
  3. It should be certain that the disease would be cured through the medicine.
  4. A person should not enjoy the medicine.
  5. Only the amount, which is necessary, should be used. (Maariful Quran- Ibid)

With regards to your question, as long as another readily effective lawful medicine is not found it will be permissible for you to supply these types of medicines which contain haram ingredients. However, where a lawful readily effective medicine is found you should encourage Muslim customers to choose the lawful medicine over the unlawful one, in particular if the medicine is being brought over the counter.

Where the medicine is being prescribed by a doctor which is unlawful and is similarly effective to a lawful medicine or even less effective to a lawful medicine, then you can supply the medicine. You will not be responsible for the actions of others.

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by MolanaIshaaqHussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed TosirMiah

DarulIfta Birmingham

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