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Shares of a Bank

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I work in a bank and as part of my work we are given employee benefits
such as being able to own shares.

What is the ruling regarding this?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, it would not be permitted to purchase or own shares or stocks from a conventional, interest-bearing bank.

The first condition for the permissibility of investing in a company is to ensure that its primary line of activity is permissible. This condition is absent in the majority of conventional, usurious banks.

(Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘ (2.1028))

Please also see this answer and this answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Can I Help a Bank Drive More Website Traffic?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I am a digital marketing professional working for an agency who has recently won a bank as a client. Is it permissible to perform updates and setting strategy with the aim of helping the bank drive more website traffic?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

This would be permitted although it may be best to avoid given banks and interest.

The reason this would be permitted is because your actual work i.e. technical updates and website strategy, is not impermissible. If you are actually designing technical components, it cannot be ones that are exclusively used for usurious transactions.

Similarly, the website strategy would be permitted if it relates generally to a banks webpage as opposed to exclusively an interest-based service.

For more, please see: Is It Considered Assisting in Sin to Develop Software for Casinos, Banks, or Insurance Companies?

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is It Permissible to Receive Cash Back and Travel Rewards That Are Provided by Credit Card Companies?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Is it allowed for us to receive incentives such as cash back (I.e 1%) and travel reward points from credit card companies?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

These are permitted as leading scholars, such as Mufti Taqi Usmani, have stated. They are legally viewed as being gifts.

However, if they are being given by the bank as interest on your deposit or can only be redeemed by purchasing bank products that are impermissible, then it would not be permitted.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: ALEXEY ABROSIMOV

Is It Permissible to Audit Company Accounts in Which There Is Interest?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Is it permissible to audit company accounts in which there is interest? The auditor only checks the accounts and budgets. He does not write or partake in the interest transaction but only checks whether the accounts are correctly recorded. He is not present when the usury (riba )transaction is signed.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This would be permitted.

The prophetic tradition cursing the one who records an interest transaction refers to an individual who does so as an actual party to the transaction. The auditing you describe is simply recording an event retrospectively. This is the explanation provided by Mufti Taqi Usmani and others, which is supported by a number of classical texts commentating upon the tradition in question.

Therefore, as long as the primary business of the company an auditor works for is permissible, there would be no harm in auditing their accounts even if it involves recording such interest transactions.

Please see: Is It Permissible to Work on the Projects of a Riba (Usury) Based Bank?

Please see also: How to Avoid Riba (Usury): A Reader

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Should I Do About Interest Charges From Banks Earned Before I Became Muslim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

I have several bank accounts with traditional interests. My parents opened my accounts before I became Muslim.
What should I do with this banking interests? Also I do not remember exactly the rates…

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

The money you earned before you were a Muslim is permissible for you as the rulings of the Sacred Law do not apply to non-Muslims.

Any misappropriated rights and debts, however, do need to repaid back to their rightful owners, as do unlawful earnings acquired after you became a Muslim.

Debts are serious matters, and this is why the scholars mention that returning a right is from the conditions of valid repentance.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to seek refuge from debts by saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge with you from care and sorrow, incapacity and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debt and being overcome by men.” [Bukhari]

Please also see: How Do I Get Rid Of Haram Money? and: Accepting Wealth from a Person Whose Wealth is Predominantly Unlawful and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is It Permissible to Work on the Projects of a Riba (Usury) Based Bank?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: We are working in the IT sector. Recently, we got a request to develop a web portal for one of the reputed Riba based Bank.

Is it permissible to work on the projects of a Riba based Bank as the payments made by them may include prohibited money?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The work that you have described would be permitted.

There are two issues here: (a) the nature of the work itself and (b) the source of the money that you will receive in payment.

Concerning the first, as long as the work itself is not something that is interdicted, the income that is gained from it is permitted. Developing a web portal is in itself perfectly permissible, and its usage for interest-based transactions is only indirectly related to it. For more on this, please refer to:

Is It Considered Assisting in Sin to Develop Software for Casinos, Banks, or Insurance Companies?

As for the second point, while banks do hold money earned through interest based transactions, this is not the only revenue stream that they have. Rather, the money that banks hold include, among other things, the initial deposits of their customers, capital put in by owners, and so forth. The money from these sources is usually in greater ratio to money held gained by a bank through interest charges. Therefore, any payment received from such a bank would be permitted.

Please see also: How to Avoid Riba (Usury): A Reader

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Bank Employment: When is it Permissible?

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