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Ruling On Working For Companies Whose Activities Are Basically Permissible, But They Are Involved In Some Unlawful Transactions

Nigeria Student Forum / Books/Literature/Writing / Muslim's Forum / Ruling On Working For Companies Whose Activities Are Basically Permissible, But They Are Involved In Some Unlawful Transactions

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.

Is it permissible to work for some
companies, such as Exxon Mobile
and Schlumberger, which specialise
in oil and gas, and other similar
companies? These companies deal
with riba (usury) in one form or
another. For example, you will find
that they compel their employees to
take out a card called a “travel and
leisure card”, which is a credit card
on which interest is charged in the
event of late payment. In these
companies the employee is also
required to take out health
insurance and life insurance, and so
on, and they have a policy of equity
between men and women, and other
things. I, along with some friends,
am looking into setting up a
shipping company, but the laws
require us to have insurance on the
ships, employees and products. Is it
permissible for us as Muslims to set
up such a company? Is there a list
of names of companies that are
compatible with sharia, whether in
Saudi or internationally? Or at least
some of these companies that are
globally famous?


Praise be to Allah.
With regard to companies whose
activities are basically permissible,
such as the companies that you
mentioned (oil and gas companies),
but they engage in some unlawful
transactions, such as dealing with
riba and other unlawful things,
there is nothing wrong with a
Muslim working in these companies,
so long as he himself does not deal
directly with, or help others with,
the unlawful activity. So his work
should be in permissible sections of
the company, that have nothing to
do with managing the unlawful
activities of the company.
For more information, please see
question no. 175492.

Dealing with credit cards for which
interest is charged to the customer
in the event of late payment is
unlawful. This is riba which Allah,
may He be exalted, has
emphatically forbidden.
But one of the principles of sharia is
that if the Muslim is compelled to
do some unlawful thing, there is no
blame on him for doing it, so long
as he does it reluctantly and is
compelled to do it, and is not doing
it by choice. Allah, may He be
exalted, says regarding disbelief,
which is the worst of prohibited
actions (interpretation of the
“Whoever disbelieves in Allah after
his belief... except for one who is
forced [to renounce his religion]
while his heart is secure in faiths”
[an-Nahl 16:106] .
If the company compels employees
to take out this unlawful credit
card, there is no blame on him for
that, but it is not permissible for
him to use it unless he is certain
that he is able to pay it off before
the end of the time limit after
which interest will be charged. This
has been previously mentioned in a
fatwa issued by Shaykh Muhammad
ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have
mercy on him), stating that it is
permissible to use this card for one
who needs to do so, if he thinks it
most likely that he will not delay
See the answer to question no.
Something similar may be said with
regard to the obligation on
employees to take out commercial
insurance. There is no blame on him
so long as he is compelled to do
that, but he should not benefit from
insurance payouts, except to the
equivalent of the amount that he
paid in premiums only.
But what appears to be the case
with regard to the insurance that
these companies require for their
employees is that the insurance
contract is between the company
and the insurance company, and the
employee is not party to it; rather
he is the beneficiary only.
If that is the case, then there is
nothing wrong with the employee
benefitting from the insurance in
full, because this is something that
was offered by his company, either
as a favour to the employees, or in
return for deducting part of the
salary to which the employee is
entitled, and he is not responsible
for the insurance contract and is
not a party to it.

There is nothing wrong with you
setting up a shipping company. The
requirement of insurance in that
case is a kind of compulsion, which
allows the Muslim to accept such
contracts, as explained above. But
in this case, it is not permissible for
you to benefit from the insurance
company except to the equivalent of
the amount you paid in premiums
only, as has been previously
explained in the answer to question
no. 117290.

Some specialists in the field of
Islamic financial dealings have
issued lists of companies whose
operations are compliant with
Islamic sharia. One of these
specialists is Shaykh Dr. Muhammad
al-‘Usaymi. You can find this list on
the following link, but it is in Arabic:
And Allah knows best.


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