The banking business is mostly based on interests. We know that Islam has strictly forbidden dealing in interests. Riba is the 12th major sin in Islam. So, does Islam permit jobs in banks? Is the banking job halal?
There are some positions in the banking sector that directly deal with interest. For example, there are jobs in banks (i.e. manager, cashier, clerk, etc.) that are associated with the collection of interests, administration of interests, record making, etc.
Clearly, Islam does not allow such jobs that are directly or indirectly related to interest. For reference,
Hazrat Jabir (R.A) has narrated that the Messenger of Allah PBUH cursed (i) the one who consumes Riba (Interest), (ii) the one who pays it, (iii) the one who writes it down, and (iv) the two who witness it”. And the Prophet (PBUH) said: “They are all the same.”Sahih Muslim, Vol #4, Hadith #4093
Apart from the jobs that deal directly with interest, there are many other positions in banks that are not related to interests in any way. For example, the bank driver, IT technician, guard, etc.
Are such banking jobs halal? Many argue that such jobs are also haram since they are associated with the institute that deals with interests.
Since the banks earn a greater part of their revenue from interests. So, they pay salaries to their employees from the money/profit generated from those interest-based transactions.
What is Shariah’s Ruling for such Banking Jobs?
Islamic Scholars are divided on this topic. Some consider such jobs halal while others call them unlawful in Islam.
Fatwas on such banking jobs being haram
In Fatawa al-Ladjna ad-Daa-ima 15/41, it is mentioned that jobs in banks that have nothing to do with interests are also not permissible for Muslims.
This Fatwa is based on the argument that Qur’an does not allow helping one in committing sin.
Since such jobs in one way or another help the actual business that is dealing with interests, such nature of the job makes the job itself haram.
For instance, the IT technician provides assistance by ensuring that the software to make the records of transactions runs smoothly. The driver takes the cash from one bank to another. Similarly, the guard provides security to the institute that is dealing with interest.
Similarly, according to Dr. Zakir Naik, working in any position in a business whose core activity is haram is not permissible for Muslims. Therefore, any sort of job in any conventional bank that is dealing with interest-based transactions is haram. Other Islamic scholars like Dr. Israr Ahmed and Mufti Tariq Masood also hold the same point of view.
However, according to Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza, apart from those jobs directly dealing with interests in banks, there are other positions too i.e. ensuring the safety of deposited money and lockers, depositing bills, etc. These jobs cannot be categorically considered haram.
However, EMAM said, it is still better to find some other job rather than work in a bank.
Fatwa on Banking Jobs being Permissible in Shariah
According to al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya: 5/343, it is actually the nature of the job that makes the job lawful or unlawful.
So based on this fatwa, even if a bank driver earns his salary from money that is a mixture of lawful and unlawful money (as of banks), the job of the driver is itself lawful.
Hence, according to Fatwa, we should not categorically consider all the bank jobs as haram.
In light of the Fatwas and Arguments on the subject, we reach the conclusion that it is better to avoid banking jobs. Even if someone wants to work in banks, he/she should go for Islamic banking.
Moreover, if someone is currently employed in a conventional bank, he should seek some other employment.
Lastly, there are multiple jobs in banks. Some are directly linked with interests. There is a clear Islamic ruling for them as mentioned above in Ayat and Hadees. So, it is always recommended to avoid such positions.
However, working in positions not linked with the accumulation or distribution of interest still somehow lie in the gray area. It is also better to avoid such jobs as well.
As our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,