Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Question: As a Muslim am I allowed to work in a bank?
Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The principle concerning employment in a bank (or any other financial institution) is that any work or job that entails being directly involved in interest-based transactions will be unlawful and sinful with the wages on such work being Haram, and any work that does not entail being involved in usurious transactions will be lawful.
In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) invoked curse (la’na) on the receiver of interest, the payer of interest, the scribe and the two witnesses, and he said: “They are the same” (i.e. in sin). (Sahih Muslim)
Keeping the above principle in mind, let us now look at certain specific posts and jobs at a bank:
1) Working in a bank as a call attendant and answering phone calls would be permitted as long as the job entails discussing general matters regarding one’s account and giving information to the customer in a general manner. However, if the job also includes giving advice on interest-based transactions or helping the customer in being involved in Riba, then this would be considered assisting in sin, hence not permitted.
2) Providing computer software or making computer programmes for the bank would also be permitted. However, designing programmes that are exclusively used for usurious transactions will not be permitted.
3) Working as a manager in a bank is not permitted.
4) Working as a cashier at a bank is also not permitted.
5) Working as a guard, a cook or a cleaner in a bank will be permitted.
Thus, in conclusion, if a job has a direct connection and link to the writing, assisting, recording and advising of interest-based transactions, then it will not be permitted to take up that job. However, if a job at a bank has no connection with interest-based transactions, it will be permitted, but still better to avoid.
I hope your query has been answered with the above explanation.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari