Opening an account in a bank in a Muslim country
Fatwa No: 81349

  • Fatwa Date:11-9-2001 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 23, 1422
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Question

I want to open an account in a bank. In my Islamic country, there are two types of account, one gives you interest on your money per month (faeda) and the another without any (faeda). Can I open the first type and direct this interest to any Islamic cause, not as sadaqa or Zakah, as a gift? Or should I avoid this type of account and make only an account without faeda?

Answer

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.

If the bank abides in all its transactions by the rulings and teachings of the Sharee’ah, and the interest rate it gives is not determined beforehand, then it is permissible for you to open any type of account from the above two accounts. However, if the bank does not stick to this, then it is forbidden to open any kind of account in it, since, if it is the first kind of account you mentioned (giving a monthly interest), it is pure Riba (interest and/or usury) and Allah has forbidden Riba and dealing with it, as it is known by all the Muslims. However, if it is of the second kind (without interest), then this is cooperation with and help to the bank in its Riba transactions. Allah Says (what means): {Help you one another in virtue, righteousness and piety but do not help one another in sin and transgression.} [Quran 5:2]

Therefore, if you do not find any Islamic bank in the country where you live and need to open an account where you could keep your money safe while you are unable to safeguard and save it except with this method, or make some necessary transactions through it, then you could open an current account in a commercial bank of the second type without interest.

You should know that there is no sound reason for the permissibility of taking Riba with the intention of giving it in charity or as a gift and the like, and there is no benefit in doing so for many reasons, among which is that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “You should refrain from doing whatever I forbid you to do, and you should do –according to your ability –whatever I order you to do.” [Muslim]

Another reason is that a person will be asked on the Day of Judgment about his wealth how he obtained it before he is asked about how he spent it.” [Al-Tirmithi]

Allah knows best.

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