I want to know if owning a hotel is allowed in Islam knowing that one cannot assure an environment where no sin is committed.
Praise be to Allaah.
There is nothing wrong with a Muslim who adheres to obedience to Allaah owning a hotel; in fact he should do that if he can keep his hotel free of evils, so as to keep his brothers safe from bad hotels which have become places of idle entertainment and evil activities have become part of many of them.
The one who is able to establish a hotel in his country must adhere to that which will keep it free from sin and distinct from other, bad hotels, by adhering to shar’i guidelines. That includes the following:
Keeping the hotel free of female workers and the haraam mixing that takes place in many hotels; what is regrettable is that women are exploited in the worst ways in such places, where beautiful women are put to work on the front desk and on the information desk, and those who are less beautiful are put to work cleaning the rooms. The one who wants to adhere to sharee’ah must avoid this evil and not employ women, out of fear for them and others.
Not playing music in the hotel.
Not enabling customers to watch immoral and indecent channels. Allaah has granted them an alternative in the form of Islamic and conservative channels, which contain all aspects that the viewer needs to see, such as news, documentaries, children’s programs, religious programs, all of which are shown free from musical instruments and women.
Verifying the identity of the woman who is accompanying the guest, lest immoral people take advantage of the hotel rooms to commit actions that Allaah has forbidden. There is nothing wrong with employing the wives or sisters of some workers to deal with matters in which a woman is needed, such as checking the identity of women in niqaab, or for dealing with female guests in general. This will also make the guests feel more comfortable, and will build bridges of trust and friendship with this conservative hotel, so long as you make sure that the woman is working with her husband or brother, and that she is not highly visible, rather she should be in an office of her own where she can maintain her covering and chastity.
The rooms, restaurant and halls should be free of haraam food and drink. Allaah has given us enough that is halaal so that we have no need of that which is haraam. Keeping the hotel free of these haraam things will bring barakah (blessing) to it and attract customers who are sensible and conservative, and there is nothing good in those who are the opposite of that.
We do not think that the hotel owner should open the door of evil by opening a health club or swimming pool, unless that meets two guidelines:
(i) Female guests do not take part in it
(ii) That properly covering clothes are worn in both cases.
It is preferable for the hotel owner to place a small bookshelf of Islamic books in each room, containing a copy of the Holy Qur’aan and easy reading books about different Islamic topics, and he should put a larger bookshelf in the hotel lounge or in a large separate room, and supply it with modern equipment, such as computers and audio and video tapes, magazines, and conservative newspapers that are free of bad images.
Finally, we should draw attention to cleanliness and prices. Those who stay in such hotels should not find that their hotels are dirty and not clean, rather they should set an example of cleanliness and good organization. The price of rooms should not be too high either; these hotels should set a good example of dealing kindly with people, and we offer people the good news that the phenomenon of conservative, Islamic hotels is spreading in many Muslim countries. This is something that gladdens the heart of conservative people and lifts the spirits of those who are religiously committed.
And Allaah is the source of strength.