Opening account without interest in interest-based bank out of necessity
Fatwa No: 335296

  • Fatwa Date:7-12-2016 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 8, 1438
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Assalaamu alaykum. I have a question which I am very concerned about. In order to study at an Austrian university, I am requiered to open a bank account and deposit a large amount of money in order to get a visa, and my student dormitory also wants me to open a bank account so that they can take the monthly rent from my account. Is this considered a necessity? Am I allowed to open a bank account in order to study? I have read articles about the Austrian "Bawag" bank introducing bank accounts without interest in order to appeal to muslim customers. In this "budget account", the customer would neither pay nor receive interest. The customer would pay a fixed amount of 3,90 euro per month for the service. Although they offer this service without interest, the bank nevertheless also deals with prohibited loans. Am I allowed to open an account in this bank? There are no Islamic banks in Austria, and Bawag is the first one to introduce an offer without interest. I do not want to help others commit sin; my intention is only to study, not to deal with prohibited money.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

We do not know exactly what this bank is so that we could give an appropriate ruling about it.

But in general, if a person is in need to open a bank account while there are no banks that do not deal with interest, then he is permitted to do so because of the necessity to open an account in an interest-based bank – without taking the interests for himself.

The fatwa of the Standing Committee reads:

It is not permissible to deposit money in banks that deal with interest, even if one does not take the interest, as this is helping in sin and transgression; Allah says (what means): {…but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.} [Quran 5:2] However, if a Muslim fears losing his money and does not find another alternative to save it except by depositing it in an interest-based bank, then he is permitted, in such a case, without taking any interest from depositing this money, as a way of committing the lesser of two evils, and avoiding the worst of the two evils.

Besides, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “If you are in need of opening an account in an interest-based bank, then it is permissible, but if you are not in need to do so, then do not open an account there.” [Excerpted from the Open Door meeting]

Hence, it is permissible for a person to open an account without interest in an interest-based bank when there is a necessity to do so and there are no banks that are free from interest. There is nothing wrong with the known amount that the bank takes in return for opening the account and for the services that it provides. This is nothing but a fee for the bank for the benefits that it provides for the client.

Allah knows best.

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