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I came across the question Working in banks in an Islamic country. According to my understanding of the answer by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid,

You are doing haram if you are helping someone in anyway who is doing haram.

I could not ask this question to shaikh because of website's response

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If my above statement is correct then what about below cases

  1. Governments borrow money from World Bank or other countries, which is definitely interest based, to run various projects e.g. health, education, welfare, highways, etc.
  2. Governments keep their money in Central Banks, which lend money to other banks or states or any other financial institutions and earns interest on that money.
  3. One of the source of income is Tax payed by citizens.

Government is involved in riba business by helping World Bank in earning riba and earning riba herself by lending money. I am helping government by paying taxes. Am i involved in riba-business?

  1. I am a network engineer
  2. working in a company having riba-Bank as one of its client
  3. I go to a mall by a taxi/cab
  4. and purchase a t-shirt

And here is the riba-chain

  1. Bank is involved in riba
  2. my company is helping them to maintain their network so the company is involved in riba
  3. i am helping the company so i am involved in riba
  4. taxi/cab driver helped me so s/he is involved in riba
  5. shopkeeper helped me providing t-shirt or i purchased t-shirt by riba-money so the shopkeeper is involved in riba too

Can one imagine when would this chain end!! Is there anything which would left without riba!!

I actually couldn't get the meaning/context of help in

It is not permissible for a Muslim to work in banks that deal with riba, because that involves helping them to engage in riba-based transactions in one way or another, by writing them down, witnessing them, guarding the bank, etc. Helping them in that manner is cooperating in sin and transgression, which Allaah forbade when He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“but do not help one another in sin and transgression”

  • I think some say that "Riba" is "usury" which is in cambridge dictionary "the activity of lending someone money with the agreement that they will pay back a very much larger amount of money later" not always any extra money that you get. Not sure yet.. – servant-of-Wiser Jun 1 '15 at 8:26
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Now the point is as follows as long as you don't have direct deal with riba your earnings are halal. But if you somehow deal or help for riba business your earnings are haram. This means if you don't have direct contact with riba all you do is halal.

I found a fatwa (Arabic) saying that you can even work in a bank (that deals with riba) if you work in section which is clean from riba!

If for example you work for a company that deals with (riba) banks your income is halal.

Nevertheless Muslims used to do business with Jews. As Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) used to work for a Jew knowing that the Jew deals with riba! As Allah said about them:

And [for] their taking of usury while they had been forbidden from it, and their consuming of the people's wealth unjustly. And we have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. (4:161)

The reasoning mentioned in your Question is a bit too hard as in this you have to know the following hadith:

Jabir said that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cursed the accepter of interest and its payer, and one who records it, and the two witnesses, and he said: They are all equal.

(Sahih Muslim and other hadith collections)

Therefor all you should do is avoid being one of those!

But you might know that some scholars allow dealing with riba for muslims in non-muslim countries for example via credits for Houses and flats!

And in general it is better to follow the Verse you mentioned in your Question:

O you who have believed, do not violate the rites of Allah or [the sanctity of] the sacred month or [neglect the marking of] the sacrificial animals and garlanding [them] or [violate the safety of] those coming to the Sacred House seeking bounty from their Lord and [His] approval. But when you come out of ihram, then [you may] hunt. And do not let the hatred of a people for having obstructed you from al-Masjid al-Haram lead you to transgress. And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

[Suratal-Maida (5:2)]

See also the following fatwa in Arabic: http://www.binbaz.org.sa/node/20699

Conclusion:

From all of this you seem neither to be a witness of a riba transaction nor somebody who pays or record it, your money is free from interest and doesn't come from riba, as you earned it by work! So you don't deal with riba directly! And your income is halal, even if it is not recommended to work in a bank if you had other opportunities.

And Allah knows best!

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    "Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cursed the accepter of interest and its payer, and one who records it, and the two witnesses...", is not working in a bank being as a witness for what the bank is dealing with? – servant-of-Wiser Aug 29 '15 at 16:31
  • @servant-of-Wiser As i mentioned it seems you could work in a section where there is no riba business. And if you have no direct contact to riba you are no witness (a witness must be present during a transaction and see/hear it), Else how could the sahaba and tabi'yn... work with/for or deal with Jews? But as i don't know anything about banking i prefer to say Allah knows best. – Medi1Saif Aug 31 '15 at 6:04
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    @azam Could you please explain that how working in a bank makes you a witness? In my view if i am the one signing on an interest based loan's document then yes i am a witness but if i am the one serving tea then i am not. Please explain your point of view. – bjan Sep 6 '15 at 18:11
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    As a software engineer, i can tell you that doing so will fall under "one who records it" of the hadees above. Because softwares are nothing but digital registers and processors. So, one would definately avoid it. – Zia Ul Rehman Mughal Feb 20 '17 at 17:15

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