Bank Job

Bank Job


Question: As you know, the whole of our economy is based on interest these days. In this situation, is it allowable for young graduate to work for a bank, considering the fact that banks also provide services other than loans?

(From Karachi)


A bank employee can avoid being involved in interest earning transactions and projects only if his job is confined to what may be described as the ancillary services of a bank as remitting money and collection of bills.

If your employer can guarantee that your role in a bank will be confined to such areas as are unrelated to interest earning activities, then one might consider the justification you are deliberating on as viable. However, I do not think such a role could be had in a bank* save at the cost of an employee's career development. So, unless you are ready to work as a clerk or an officer of the lowest rank in the operations department of a bank for the rest of your life, the idea that you can avoid being involved in taking interest by confining yourself to certain ancillary services in a bank does not seem to be a very plausible one.

There is no doubt that the whole economy is based on interest and that the existing circumstances might be regarded as extenuating in many cases. However, there is a difference between 'taking' interest and 'giving' interest. The Qur'anhas specifically prohibited the former (see the Qur'an2:270 and 3:130; 'devouring' interest has been forbidden). 'Giving' interest (for example when one takes a loan) is prohibited when it virtually amounts to co-operating with 'the devourer' of interest (that is one who lends on interest). (See the Qur'an5:2)

The argument that in the prevailing situation, 'the giver' of interest (the borrower) usually faces such problems in setting up and running a business that he has no recourse but to take the loan seems to be reasonable in many cases. However, there seems to be very little ground for accepting the same excuse from the 'the devourer'.

Although exceptions might be there, a bank job usually amounts to virtual co-operation with 'the devourer' of interest. Therefore, a Muslim should try to look for jobs in areas other than banking, which fortunately are not as scarce as is generally imagined. However, if someone feels that he has some reasonable, personal excuse for working with a bank -- an excuse he can present to God on the Day of judgement --, it might be expected that he will be forgiven by the All-Knowing and Oft-Forgiving.

Finally, we should remember that all our planning and effort can fail us. In life, there are no absolute guarantees. The only absolute guarantee life affords us is that the efforts and sacrifices we make for Allah shall not go waste in the Hereafter and that Allah, Who is our Sustainer -- One Who can make little plenty and plenty little even in this worldly life of ours -- is always well-aware of our problems and woes: He knows -- and He cares. If we face difficulties for His sake, He will be with us; He will not abandon us, for He is the best of friends. He never betrays -- neither His friends nor His enemies --, and ultimately everything is in His hands.

God be with you.

Yours faithfully,

Asif Iftikhar

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