Q: Can I pursue a career as an actuary?
The degree is called actuarial science and involves a high amount of mathematical analysis which predict, as best as may be possible, future risks in financial investments.
Some of the jobs available from this degree are in the insurance and banking sector. As well as numerous other industry sectors such as pension, health insurance etc.
Also, some calculations will involve working within the concept of interest.
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: When working as an employee in a business where a major portion of the business does not conform to the dictates of Sharīʿah as tends to be the case in the conventional financial sector there are principally two issues that must be determined:
1. Is the job itself permissible? I.e., does the contracted work itself fall foul of the Sharīʿah or, if not, does it amount to assisting in sin?
2. What is the source of funds from which the employee is remunerated?
As for the first, if the role of an actuary simply involves mathematical analyses to predict financial risk in future investments, then this of itself is permissible even if the analyses involves calculating interest. The prohibition of recording interest relates to the recording of the actual contract only. See the following link for further details: http://alqalam.org.uk/fatawa/earning-halal-fatwa/is-it-permissible-to-be-an-accountant/
As for the second, if the majority of the funds of the employer are sourced from permissible sources then the income received will also be permissible. However, if all or the majority of the funds of the employer are sourced from impermissible sources it will not be permissible to be remunerated therefrom.
Furthermore, according to the principles of Imām Abū Yūsuf and Imām Muḥammad the work of an actuary working within a prohibited sector is not permitted as it amounts to assisting in sin and the actuary is also not entitled to any remuneration. Therefore, on account of the opinion of Imām Abū Yūsuf and Imām Muḥammad, a Muslim should avoid taking up employment in the prohibited sector, even if it involves only a permissible function. This is the more prudent and cautious position. However, according to the principles of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, if a Muslim is an employee in a prohibited sector and only performs a permissible function such as the actuarial function mentioned above, such employment will be permitted and any remuneration received will also be lawful. Whilst the superior position is definitely that of Imām Abū Yūsuf and Imām Muḥammad and a Muslim should always endeavour to adhere to this position, it would appear that, for Muslims living as minorities in the west, there is capacity to adopt the position of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah.