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)?

Q: Are we permitted to work in a bank or insurance company if our job is limited to a non-ḥarām part of the business (e.g. as an IT technician)?

الجواب حامدًا و مصليًا و منه الصدق و الصواب

A: When working as an employee in a business where a major portion of the business does not conform to the dictates of Sharīʿah 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 regards the first, the job of an IT technician which merely involves maintenance of the computer systems is itself permissible. According to the principles of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah this also does not amount to assisting in sin as any sin incurred, such as in the transacting a usurious transaction, is incurred by an independent agent. According to Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, as the computer systems can be used for permissible and impermissible acts, any impermissible act will not be attributed to the IT technician but rather restricted to the independent agent.

As regards the second, the majority of funds in a typical bank are sourced from deposit holders, shareholders and sometimes governments. Although any loans thereby generated will be interest based the loan itself will be permissible.[1] Interest received by a bank constitutes only a small portion of the banks funds. Thus, it is permitted to receive remuneration for performing a permissible function, such as that of an IT technician, from the bank. The majority of funds available to an insurance company are generated by the premiums paid by the premium holder. As the construct of the contract is a commutative contract that also falls foul of the prohibitions of ribā, gharar and qimār the funds available to the insurance company are impermissible.[2] Thus, although an IT Technician may perform a permissible function within the insurance company, as the funds available to the insurance company are of an impermissible nature, the IT Technician cannot accept remuneration from those funds.

According to the principles of Imām Abū Yūsuf and Imām Muḥammad the work of an IT Technician within both a conventional bank and insurance company is not permitted as it amounts to assisting in sin and the IT Technician 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 a conventional bank, even if it involves only a permissible function. This is the more prudent and cautious position. However, if a Muslim is an employee of a conventional bank and only performs a permissible function such as that of an IT Technician, then, in view of the opinion of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, such employment will be permitted and any remuneration received will also be lawful.

ففى رد المحتار: قوله: (وجاز تعمير كنيسة) قال فى الخانية: ولو آجر نفسه ليعمل فى الكنيسة ويعمرها لا بأس به لأنه لا معصية فى عين العمل. قوله: (وحمل خمر ذمى) قال الزيلعى: وهذا عنده وقالا: هو مكروه ” لأنه عليه الصلاة والسلام {لعن فى الخمر عشرة وعد منها حاملها} “. وله أن الإجارة على الحمل وهو ليس بمعصية ، ولا سبب لها وإنما تحصل المعصية بفعل فاعل مختار. وليس الشرب من ضرورات الحمل لأن حملها قد يكون للإراقة أو للتخليل ، فصار كما إذا استأجره لعصر العنب أو قطعه. والحديث محمول على الحمل المقرون بقصد المعصية. اهـ. زاد فى النهاية وهذا قياس وقولهما استحسان. ثم قال الزيلعى: وعلى هذا الخلاف لو آجره دابة لينقل عليها الخمر أو آجره نفسه ليرعى له الخنازير يطيب له الأجر عنده وعندهما يكره . (كتاب الحظر والإباحة ، فصل فى البيع ، 6/392-391)

[1] For further details refer to the answer at the following link:

[2]For further details refer to the following link:[Read-Only].pdf


Mufti Zubair Butt

Al Qalam Shari’ah Panel Chair

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