Defense Companies — Haram Earnings?

Defense Companies — Haram Earnings?Category: GeneralDefense Companies — Haram Earnings?
RH asked 2 years ago

Assalamu Alykom. I hope this finds you well. I am reaching out with a question regarding an internship position I held for the past two years, and whether the income I made from it was halal.
For context, I am currently a sophomore in college living in the US. At the end of my senior year of high school, my guidance counselor reached out to me to tell me about an opportunity to apply for an internship position for students interested in STEM. She told me it would be a good opportunity to gain some work experience and that, if I got the position, I would also be granted a scholarship that would go towards my college studies. I decided to apply and alhamdulliah ended up getting the position. What I didn’t realize initially was that the program was sponsored by an organization that works in government/defense and so the positions being offered were all at defense contractors, and though I knew this was not a career path I wanted to pursue, I wasn’t totally aware of the atrocities these companies directly profited from. I went through my internship, gained some valuable engineering experience, and at the end of the summer, my manager told me they’d be sending me a return offer for the next year. I was hesitant, not wanting to prolong my time there when I knew I wouldn’t want this to become my permanent career, but people around me encouraged me to take it, saying it was a prestigious opportunity and that I wouldn’t find another internship with only one year of college done. I justified it by telling myself I was gaining valuable coding experience — experience I could eventually put towards a cause I felt passionately about and could truly commit myself to — but that after that next summer, I would need to find a new opportunity. During my work there those two summers, I was obviously never directly involved in the design of a weapon and the extent of my work didn’t surpass the typical intern workload; I spent most days working through company training videos on different data analysis techniques or new coding languages, and since I didn’t have a security clearance, my involvement in their large projects was minimal. I created automated spreadsheets to expedite review processes, read through manuals to review technical drawings, etc. Near the end of the summer, I became slightly more aware of the loss and devastation these companies were causing, and struggled a lot with the cognitive dissonance of knowing that the basic human rights I would usually make a point of defending were directly under attack by the company I worked for. I learned about the atrocities in Yemen and how this company directly stood to gain from the bombing of innocent civilians. Up until this point, I somewhat naively hadn’t really thought about the implications of this company’s work. I knew the defense industry in general was somewhere I didn’t want to establish my career, because regardless of the ethics of the conflicts our country was involved in, the products they create will be harming someone, and of all the things I could have been putting my skills towards, I’d rather commit myself to something where I can be sure I’m contributing something positive. After that summer, I officially rejected their return offer and have since taken up work with which I feel much more morally aligned alhamdullilah, but I’ve recently begun learning more and more about the immorality this company was tied up in. I have sought forgiveness from Allah (SWT) and feel that I really was just ignorant of the harm these companies were causing when I worked there. I recently came across this article (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/16/us/arms-deals-raytheon-yemen.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&login=smartlock&auth=login-smartlock) that showed the extent of these companies’ involvement was far worse than I initially thought; they actively pushed for the war in Yemen and killing of innocent civilians to continue all for the sake of profits, finding legal loopholes to allow them to influence policy decisions and push for our continued involvement in the war and provision of arms, even as Congress members on both sides sought to end it on humanitarian grounds. I’ve felt incredible guilt the more I uncover these things, and I know I obviously wasn’t aware of them at the time and have since decided I will never go back, but my question is in regards to the money I made there. I believe this money came from a haram source — even if I wasn’t directly involved in doing haram work — in that they profit off of the bombing of innocent people. I think I should donate all of the earnings I made while working there as I do not want to keep this haram source of money, but people I’ve spoken to have told me that I worked for this money and did not know, so this seems extreme. However I feel the problem is that the source of this company’s money is coming from immorality, and that now that I am more aware of this — even if i wasn’t at the time — I have a responsibility to do something. Is this the correct thing to do? JAK and thank you in advance.