Islamic branches of usurious banks
Fatwa No: 90500

Question

What is Islam's opinion about the Islamic branches of the commercial banks? As some commercial banks like Doha Bank, Commercial Bank and Qatar National Bank have opened some Islamic branches who deals with Sharee'ah rules. Please feedback me as soon as possible.

Answer

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

 

If these branches of banks that deal with Riba (usury and/or interest) do not deal in any of their transactions with usury or interest as their owners claim, then it is permissible to deal with them according to the Sharee'ah. Dealing with these branches in such a case is like dealing with a person who usually deals with usury and interest in other transactions that are lawful [free from usury and interest].

It is permissible in Islam to deal with people who deal with usury and interest in lawful and permissible transactions as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to deal with the Jews who dealt with usury and interest. Indeed, 'Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) died and his shield was kept as a deposit with a Jew for 30 Saa' (i.e. a measure of weight) of barley.

However, one should make sure that this claim is true, that there is really a religious committee who runs these branches according to Islamic principles. That is because many banks claim that they are Islamic banks whereas in reality they are otherwise. A bank that deals with usury and interest is subject to accusation, therefore one should not believe their claim of having Islamic branches; rather one has to investigate whether or not their claim is true.

Allaah Knows best.

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