Is It Haram To Work In A Bank

Photo Courtesy: Mike Mozart

All scholars agree that it is halal for a muslim to work in an Islamic bank. Islamic scholars agree that it is not permissible to work in a banking job that is directly involved in riba (interest-based) dealings. Islamic scholars differ in opinion when it comes to the specific job at the bank (i.e working as a security guard for a conventional bank vs a cashier).

Muslims must be concerned about how to earn lawful income and how to avoid unlawful earning. If the income source is haram, he/she is required to quit it immediately. Bank jobs are one of those questionable occupations. Let us review it from Shariah perspective!

Ruling on Muslims Working In An Islamic Bank

There are two types of banks, conventional and Islamic. A job of any nature at any level in an Islamic bank is halal. This is because Islamic banks are not involved in interest dealings. Salaries received from Islamic banks are completely halal.

Ruling on Muslims Working In A Conventional Bank

Islamic scholars and shariah scholars have two different opinions about Muslims working in a conventional bank:

The First Opinion

Any job in a conventional bank is haram. Muslims are not allowed to work in a bank that deals with riba whatever job position they hold. Working at such banks means helping the bank in riba based dealings.

The second reason is that salaries of employees come from interest. So, any job at conventional banks including the job of a driver or a security guard will come from interest-based sources, therefore making their money haram hence making that job impermissible.

Job of employees who are directly involved in writing down riba transactions, transfers, deposits is considered haram. According to the hadith of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him)

The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba, the one who pays it, the one who writes it down and the two who witness it, and he said, “They are all the equal.”

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 2/401 (source)

Here’s another Fatwa

Work of a Muslim in a bank that deals with riba is impermissible even if the Muslim employee has nothing to do with riba, because he is serving the employer who is involved in riba. Allah says:“Do not help one another in sin and evil doing”

al-Maa’idah 5:2 (source)

The Second Opinion

The Shariah ruling on working in a bank depends on exactly what the job entails. Employment at a bank that requires direct involvement with interest based transactions is considered unlawful (haram) (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (15/48) (source)

Examples of unlawful jobs are:

  • Manager
  • Cashier
  • Clerk

Examples of lawful jobs related to the bank:

  • Driver
  • IT Technician
  • Guard jobs

A Banks pool of money is not entirely interest based. There are many sources of fund mixed in it. There are also amounts that people have deposited in their accounts and the bank has taken them as loans, and there are also amounts that are the original capital of the bank owners, there are also amounts that bank earns as service fee.

The interest money received by the bank always remains less than the rest of total money the bank owns. Majority of the money in the bank is halal. Therefore, if an employee is paid out of this pooled amount and who has nothing to do with interest matters, then the employment and the salary received is not haram.

According to this school of thought, if an employee’s job revolves around riba, he/she must continue to seek a different job. They must quit their job immediately after finding another halal source of income.

More Opinions on Muslims Working In A Bank

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari explains in a related fatwa:

The salary received from the bank is a mixture of unlawful and lawful wealth of which the majority is lawful. As such, it would be permissible to accept this money as income provided the actual job is lawful.

(Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya: 5/343) (source)

Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, says that working in a bank is permissible. However, signing any interest-based deal or any other direct involvement is not permissible and considered haram (source).

When it comes to dealing company shares, it is not permissible to help a company that is classified as a haram company (i.e selling alcohol or pork). Here’s a list of halal certified stocks in case you’re looking to invest your money.

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