Question # 413: Assalam-o-Alaikum. I was reading your answer no. 138 on job in a conventional bank on interest and I came across this .. Ali ibn Abu Talib (ra) heard Allah`s Messenger (saws) curse those who took usury, those who paid it, those who recorded it, and those who refused to give sadaqah. I am concerned with the part saying “who recorded it”, because I am an accountant by profession working in finance department of a company. Would my duties be considered halal. Jazak Allah

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Generally speaking, the scholars are of the view that it is permissible for a Muslim to work in commercial institutions whose activities are Islamically lawful but may engage in some usury-based loans. This is with the condition that one is not directly or intentionally involved in any usury-based contracts or help others engage in them. Hence, if your work does not involve dealing with riba or approving it or calculating or helping with it, or dealing with other haraam things apart from riba, then it is permissible to work and there is no sin on you. On the hand, if someone is employed in such a job as one needs to work in order to earn a living and provide for oneself and his dependents, then he can continue working until he cannot find any other lawful job; but, he is obliged to quit it whenever he finds a lawful job opportunity because necessity is measured in accordance with its true extent and must only be answered proportionately. Also Refer Question # 138: Job in a conventional Bank or Fund Management Company.

Long Answer: Generally speaking, [the scholars] …are of the view that it is permissible for the Muslim to work in commercial institutions whose activities are Islamically lawful but may engage in some usury-based loans. This is with the condition that one is not directly or intentionally involved in any usury-based contracts or help others engage in them, as Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “…And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression..” (Soorah al-Maidah, 5:2) …[Hence, working in companies] that buy, sell and manufacture things that Allah has forbidden, such as makers of alcohol and tobacco, and tourist hotels which approve of and encourage immoral actions, [or banking (non-Islamic) industry or recording, managing or monitoring riba-based accounts in any company or institution amounts to ‘Cooperating in sin and transgression’ and ‘dealing in riba’ respectively.] The fatawa of the scholars mention one or both of these issues when giving the ruling on [any associated] job, unless the work is free of anything that goes against shari’ah, in which case it is permissible.

Indeed, it is confirmed that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah has cursed the one who consumes Riba, the one who gives it to others, the one who records it and the one who witnesses it (its transaction).” He said: “All of them are equal in sin.” (Muslim and others)

The hadith of the curse on the one who writes down riba is general in meaning and includes the writer of the original document, the one who copies it if it wears out, the one who writes the figure in accounting books and the accountant who works out the rate of interest and adds it to the original amount or sends it to the one who deposited it, and so on. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)

[Hence,]..it is not allowed ..to work in [such a job] unless one cannot find any other lawful job and one needs to work in order to earn a living and provide for oneself and his dependents; … but he is obliged to quit it whenever he finds a lawful job opportunity because necessity is measured in accordance with its true extent and must only be answered proportionately.

One should bear in mind that whoever gives up something for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate and substitute him with something better, and whoever fears Allah and adheres to Taqwa (piety and righteousness), Allah will facilitate his affairs for him, bless him with sustenance, and provide for him from (sources) that he never could imagine. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect.” (Soorah At-Talaq, 65:2-3)

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Islamqa.info on similar topics)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam