Answering 3 Questions Most Muslim Publishers Ask About Google AdSense

Is google adsense haram or halal?
The big 3 questions Muslim publishers ask about Google AdSense

Muslim Ad Network’s very existence came about because Tabish Hasan – CEO at MAN – owned a couple of popular Muslim websites, and wanted to monetize traffic through advertisements. He was not satisfied with the existing options such as Google AdSense as they did not take Islamic advertising principles into consideration.

For instance, the existing advertising solutions were ineffective when it came to properly filtering questionable ads from being shown to his Muslim audience. 

At the top of his mind were the three most frequently asked questions about the biggest ad platform: Google AdSense! Today we answer those questions once and for all:

1- What is the general consensus on using Google AdSense in Islam?

As always when it comes to matters of Islamic Jurisprudence, MAN must make the disclaimer that we are not experts. 

Please make sure you perform due diligence before taking any action!

The basic principle is that it is not permissible to sign up for advertising programs unless one can be 100% certain that the ads served are free of any impermissible content. You do not want to be in a position where you are actually promoting ‘haram’ products.

Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness, and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment

Source: Quran 5:2

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like the rewards of those who follow him, without that detracting from their reward in any way. And whoever calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like the burden of those who follow him, without that detracting from their burden in any way.

Source: Saheeh Muslim (4832)

For Google Adsense to be permissible, you have to block the ads that go against Islamic rulings. We talk about blocking impermissible ads in the next chapter.

If you are unable to do that with 100% accuracy, and these ads appear on your site against your wishes then you have to leave this service. You do not want to be a partner in spreading and propagating haram (that which is impermissible).  

If you know of an alternative platform that is 100% clear of ‘haram’ advertising while you are unsure of Google AdSense, it would be wise for you to use the alternative platform.

And Allah knows best.

MAN alternative: Muslim Ad Network was created on the very premise that Muslim publishers should never have to worry about the issue of the inaccuracy of blocking ‘haram’ ads on your sites, blogs, and apps.

2- How do you filter your ads on Google Ad Sense to make sure they are Halal? 

Google AdSense helps you filter out ads they define as sensitive that you may deem inappropriate for your blog, app, or website. It has defined the following 17 categories that you can filter out:

  1. Birth control
  2. Astrology & esoteric
  3. Cosmetic procedures & body modification
  4. Consumer Loans
  5. Dating
  6. Downloadable Utilities
  7. Get rich quick
  8. Politics
  9. Religion
  10. Sensationalism
  11. Sexual and reproductive health
  12. Significant skin exposure
  13. Social Casino Games
  14. Video games (casual & online)
  15. Weight loss
  16. Gambling & Betting (18+)
  17. Alcohol

Clearly, there are many categories of ads that Muslims define as inappropriate missing from the list such as:

  • tobacco,
  • pork and other non-halal food,
  • interest-based loans, 
  • and more.

With interest, for instance, you would have to completely block off entire categories – like finance for example – which would take away your ability to feature Shariah-compliant financial products.

On top of that, even if you block a sensitive category like #12 Significant skin exposure, you will still be hosting ads with significant skin exposure by Islamic standards. Google AdSense defines ads with significant skin exposure as follows:

“Ad images where any part of the adult human body from the sternum (breast bone)  to the mid-thigh is not clothed, or the body is clothed in underwear, lingerie, or other see-through clothes or non-clothing items such as a towel or bed sheet.”

So as you can see, it comes nowhere close to the halal dress code for neither men nor women.

MAN alternative: Muslim Ad Network works with Muslim brands and mainstream brands that adhere to Islamic advertising principles. You are guaranteed halal-safe ads without having to break a sweat.

3- Does Google AdSense allow ads to run on a site with Islamic content?

The short answer is yes: if your content is about the Islamic lifestyle or Muslim products, for example, it should not be a problem. As a category, religion can be filtered out by you as a publisher if the advertiser runs ads that advocate for or against certain religious views or incites hate for example. At the same time, your website will be banned if your content incites hate against other religions or religious sects for example.

Hate incitement through your website can mean:

  • purposely provoking hatred of a particular group,
  • distributing hateful material through your content,
  • making inflammatory public speeches,
  • creating your website to incite fear and misinformation, and
  • spreading racial discontent.

If your content does not feature anything of that nature Google Ad Sense has no reason to stop you from running ads on your website with Islamic/Muslim content.

Google states the following on its publisher policy page:

“…incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization. Examples: Promoting hate groups or hate group paraphernalia, encouraging others to believe that a person or group is inhuman, inferior, or worthy of being hated.”

If you haven’t visited the Google Publisher Policy Page yet, it’s best to do so as soon as you finish reading this article.

MAN alternative: Work with MAN professionals and monetize your website, blog, or app under Islamic principles and MAN values that are designed for success in the here and the hereafter.

Video clips credit: olia danilevich, kellymlacy, cottonbro, anthony shkraba production, yan krukov, karolina grabowska

Conclusion

Even “brand-safe” ads can be clearly inappropriate for Muslim website owners and so they can’t feel comfortable earning money by showing “non-halal” ads on platforms like Google AdSense.

It has now been over 10 years since Muslim Ad Network opened its doors to Islamic publishers and advertisers. Hundreds of organizations have used MAN to reach over 250 million Muslims in 190 countries serving over 1 billion ads.

However, the internet keeps expanding and new publishers are popping up every day. So we decided to answer the three most common questions that are still being asked by Muslim publishers today.

Let’s take it one step further and check out the MAN publisher FAQ page to learn more about how you can monetize your content at Muslim Ad Network.

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