Is working for the NHS halal since it is funded by taxes and national insurance?

Q: Is working for the NHS halal since it is funded by taxes and national insurance? There is a clear necessity for the NHS and it can only be funded realistically through such taxes.


الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب

A:In Islam there are several sources of state revenue which include, Zakat, Ushr (agricultural produce), Kharaj (land tax), tax on mines, treasure troves, and estates of deceased persons (in some circumstances). Such sources do not originally include income tax, national insurance or sales tax. In fact, there are several reliable traditions which prohibit the levying of tax and so scholars have traditionally not allowed the imposition of income tax. However, if the legitimate sources of state revenue are insufficient to meet the needs of the state then can the state impose additional taxes? Some contemporary scholars maintain that the state cannot impose additional taxes as, despite the need, there is no precedent of the Messenger of Allah sws or his companions ever doing so. Other scholars maintain that, given the needs of modern economies the state may impose additional taxes provided:

  1. The tax is levied only to meet legitimate need and is used correctly.
  2. The tax levy is not more than the actual need.
  3. It does not overburden the masses.
  4. The administration of the tax is simple does not create difficulty and complications for the masses.

The position of the Al-Qalam panel is that it is permitted to impose additional taxes with the conditions mentioned above. The NHS is a service that certainly qualifies for the imposition of additional takes such as income tax and national insurance. Therefore, there is no reason to doubt the permissibility of working for the NHS simply on account of the fact it is funded through tax.

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