Q: I currently work for my own company specialising in providing Accountancy Services mainly to large Corporate businesses. I work 6-12 month contracts on projects or providing short term cover. My contracts are primarily in the Banking sector.
My key responsibilities are to support the production of external reporting for the Bank so that it can be sent to the regulator; the Financial Services Authority. The reports represent a snapshot of the capital requirements of the bank (i.e. how much money the Bank should keep a side to prevent themselves from failing/collapsing during economic downturn periods). My job is to ensure the numbers presented in the report are a calculated accurately using regulator rules and provide commentary on the numbers.
My job is all back office work and does not involve selling interest based products or driving business strategy.
My question is whether it’s prohibited to provide my working services, as described above, to a Bank?
If yes, is it also forbidden to provide my services to any Alcohol or Tobacco selling companies, defence/military companies or companies that generate revenue from these types of businesses?
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: For an answer to accountancy per se and the calculation of interest please see: http://alqalam.org.uk/fatawa/earning-halal-fatwa/is-it-permissible-to-be-an-accountant/
The services you provide to the banking sector, as described by you, are not strictly prohibited according to the more lenient of opinions. Additionally, the majority of the funds of a bank are not derived from interest or other haram sources so it is permitted to be remunerated from the comingled funds of the bank. However, one should avoid such employment as much as possible in view of the more prudent opinion. See: http://alqalam.org.uk/fatawa/earning-halal-fatwa/are-we-permitted-to-work-in-a-bank-or-insurance-company-if-our-job-is-limited-to-a-non-haram-part-of-the-business-e-g-as-an-it-technician/
Similarly, it is not strictly prohibited to provide the described services to the other business sectors mentioned in the question. However, the remuneration for providing such services may or may not be lawful depending upon the dominant nature of the funds available to the company concerned. For example, a non-Muslim owned alcohol company may legitimately trade in alcohol from a Sharia perspective and the revenue earned is lawful for them.
It is then permitted for a Muslim to be remunerated from that revenue. This does not apply to an insurance company. The proceeds of tobacco, for example, are subject to a difference of opinion amongst contemporary scholarship and so should be avoided. I am personally of the opinion that there is a strong case for prohibition in the case of tobacco. The prophetic instruction is to leave what is doubtful for what is not doubtful.