FAQs

We have received hundreds of queries over the years and we respond to each one (just about!).

But then we realised that many people had the same queries.

So we’ve compiled questions and answers to the most popular issues below. Please note, these are not fatawa, they are just our considered opinion.

If you have a question that has not been answered, please drop us a query via our Contact us page.

Investment FAQs

Are there any halal/haram considerations when using a market order rather than limit order to buy stocks?

Our view is that market order are fine – as the range is determined. Where it isn’t determined – the brokers have a duty to come back to you if its something way off what you wanted to sell for under regs they are bound by anyway.
Finally, one can model it as an agency agreement where you give them complete discretion to sell your shares at the best price they get.

Are there any Islamic Self Invested Pension Plans (SIPPS) that you are aware of?

We recommend either Simply Ethical or Wahed Invest (https://campaign.wahedinvest.com/ifg). If you set up with Wahed and then call them, they are live with their SIPP but just not public about it.
You can also DIY it with someone like AJ Bell and then just use that SIPP account to buy some Islamic funds.
Do subscribe to our mailing list and we’ll share with you a detailed SIPP article in the coming weeks and months.

Would you recommend splitting my investment between Wahed and Yielders?

We can’t advise on specific cases but generally diversification is a good idea and you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. You can actually split a lot more than just 2 companies too.

Can I have access to the excel spreadsheet of the zero debt companies?

Can I contact you by phone?

We do not have a phone helpline at this stage. You can however email us via our contact us page.

You can also leave queries or voice notes to us on Whatsapp by adding our business account on +447535054920.

 

Can you advise if X public company is halal?

Unfortunately we no longer offer our screening service as it is just too time-consuming for us.

But we have created instead a Halal Stock Screening Course so you can just learn how to do it yourself and quickly screen companies at your own convenience.

Do you cover US investment options?

We do not actively cover the US sharia-compliant financial products market at this stage, though a number of the featured investments on IFG are also accessible from the USA.

But iA the USA is high on our list of priority countries to cover next!

Can you manage my money for me?

We do not invest people’s money for them. We do not take custody of your monies to invest for you. If anyone asks you to do this and says they are from IFG, this is a scam.

 

revenue sources not given in the accounts – how can I decide how much is from haram sources?

You should estimate, based on publicly available data. Usually this will mean looking at the primary activities of the company and extrapolating from that. So if a company does 95% timber logging and 5% alcohol manufacture, you would assign 5% revenue to haram sources and purify that amount.

Is Your Halal Investment Course only for UK residents?

No.

Our course covers a lot of general investment principles and covers a number of investment assets in detail that you can buy from anywhere globally. There is a section on equities and funds brokerage platforms which won’t be as relevant to people who are not from the UK, but even there, the principles we use to judge the platforms are applicable in other countries’ platforms too.

check out the course here: https://www.islamicfinanceguru.com/courses/halal-investing-for-busy-professionals/

Is the eToro Islamic account haram or halal?

In our view the eToro Islamic account (and any other forex Islamic account) is not properly Islamic.

We would strongly advise against getting into forex for Muslims, but also for non-Muslims due to the deep risks attached to it.

The operators of these companies don’t fully understand what Islamic law says about forex and are just trying to put a veneer of Islam over their products.
Forex is at heart a financial instrument (as opposed to dealing in the currency itself) and for it to be worthwhile there is leverage involved.

Most people who engage in forex lose money – and they lose it to people like eToro who can make money off losing trades.

see here: https://www.islamicfinanceguru.com/islamic-finance/forex-a-fresh-look-with-more-industry-perspective/
see also here: https://www.academia.edu/39060244/Forex_Halal_or_Haram

Career FAQs

Is Actuarial Sciences Halal or Haram?

Actuarial sciences leads to a few halal careers yes. Especially if you think insurance is permissible – like we do.
See here and here for more details.

How can I get into Islamic finance as a career?

I am interested and keen into breaking into Islamic finance, however, I’m unable to find the best route for myself in doing so. Do you have any suggestions on how this can be achieved?
 
I’m a mature student studying at a non-target university and currently in my penultimate year. I understand the need for professional Qualification is most certainly an option in conventional finance e.g CFA, ACA, CIMA or a qualification in Islamic finance itself. Furthermore, Would you suggest taking either one of those or an Islamic finance qualification on its own?
Pathways into Islamic finance
  1. Many people specialise in conventional finance and then switch over. We’re not fans as it means you have to engage in impermissible stuff first.
  2. You work for an Islamic finance institution from the start. Halal, but downside is that such institutions are not usually great places to learn.
  3. You work in professional services (e.g. lawyer or accountant) and as part of your wider focus, you have an expertise in Islamic finance. Pros are this is usually permissible, you get an actual qualification and skill out of it, and learn mainstream finance too. Cons are to work in Islamic finance even as a professional services employee, you will have to specialise in mainstream finance. While one could make justificatory arguments for such a job, our personal preference would be to avoid such specialisations where you will subsequently end up spending the majority of your time drawing up contracts based on riba.
  4. Academia – not well-paid and hard to get traction.
Qualifications to a career in Islamic finance
  1. none – many go for this approach and do pretty well
  2. professional qualifications – this is easy to get, and you should at least have something you can point to.
  3. serious academic qualification (e.g. BA, MA, or Phd) – this is great and gives you access to people you will later need as your career blossoms, however it is expensive, and doesn’t expose you to traditional ways of thinking.
  4. serious Islamic qualification  really useful to understand where classical Islamic law landed on topics. However not useful for a commercial discussion or an understanding of how the market works.
  5. Both serious Islamic and conventional qualification – this is ideal. Few actually achieve it though, as it usually means years of work and study.

Can you act as my mentor?

We would love to mentor as many people as who approach us. Unfortunately we are limited by the number of hours in the day.

What we would suggest is ask us any questions you want answered (that aren’t already answered on our website) and feel free to drop us queries and voice notes on our IFG Business Whatsapp at +447535054920.

Please also subscribe to our email list and you will hear about any events we do. Feel free to approach us in person to connect then as well.

Can I contact you by phone?

We do not have a phone helpline at this stage. You can however email us via our contact us page.

You can also leave queries or voice notes to us on Whatsapp by adding our business account on +447535054920.

 

Are degree apprenticeships or middle office jobs in an investment bank halal?

I’m currently in Year 13 and I’m in the process of applying for a 4 year degree apprenticeship with JPM. What appeals to me is the fact the bank will fund the 4 year degree in finance. I believe the work experience and future job opportunity will revolve around middle office functions such as cash management, anti money laundering, KYC,  trade support and accounting.

They’ve emphasised that movement between roles is very open and encouraged, my long term aim will be to work with their Islamic structuring and banking services. I understand this is may be very exclusive so I will seek to work in roles that don’t involve bonds such as M & A and equity.

My question is if you could shed some light on the permissibility of: the Degree Apprenticeship Scheme, Investment Banking Middle Office job and working in non interested based front office roles such as M & A and equity research.

I would avoid. Our view has always been that working within an investment bank at whatever function, front office or back office, support or fee-earning, is impermissible. If you can find an equivalent apprenticeship with a corporate that is not an investment bank, that would be much more preferable. You don’t want to set off on your career on the back foot. You want barakah in your career from the start.

Is working in digital payments platform company like Halalah halal?

Halalah is a digital payments platform targeting Consumers & Merchants to create an Ecosystem that will support growth of SME’s via providing them with new digital tools to accept payments, control cash and monitor sales analytics. Halalah Company is licensed by Saudi Monetary Arabian Agency (SAMA) in Saudi Arabia & Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in UAE. https://www.halalah.sa/en

My understanding of Halalah is that they are the Middle Eastern equivalent of Revolut or Transferwise. Fundamentally remittance and helping people transact is permissible and I see no indication that what Halalah are doing right now is impermissible.

However, see our article on digital challenger bank models here. It might be that Halalah do at some point in the future start making significant money from haram third-party provisions in their app marketplace (e.g. by allowing users access to haram financing). They may also start holding customer assets like a bank and using that as a basis for starting a lending operation. Both of these developments would mean that Halalah starts becoming impermissible to work for (its a sliding scale – the more of that stuff they do, the more I would not want to work for them…but if they’re only doing like 1% of that and its not core to their business, I would get comfortable with it).

So right now, probably fine to work for them, but keep an eye on what their long-term strategy is.

Is M&A considered to be an advisory role and therefore halal?

If the M&A team is based within an investment bank then my view is that is not permissible as you are then part of an overall institution that is fundamentally doing a whole bunch of things that are not sharia-compliant.

If the M&A team is part of an advisory boutique such as Lazards or Pirella Weinberg, I would be comfortable with that.

As stated in other FAQs, whether you are assisting the client with an analysis around debt projections etc. is of itself not impermissible. However, if you can guide your career towards sectors where cash buyouts are more likely, that’s helpful. Or, if your team is set up around functions, if you can guide your career to work in the function that puts the deal together and does the initial research rather than the team that sorts out the financing model, that would be much better. From conversations with friends in investment banking, this is generally somewhat possible. See also this guest article from an investment banker.

Is it halal to work for a highly-leveraged company?

For companies that sell fundamentally halal products like shell, Pepsi, etc,…. These companies are highly leveraged, for instance d/E ratio for fmcg companies is 4. Isn’t the same hadith of the prophet “the receiver, payer, witness” fall under employees who work in these companies across different functions? For instance the salesman, marketing, operations, like the salesman in Pepsi, cannot sell that much quantity of Pepsi at that price point, which allows to sell to customers with net 60 payments terms, and all of that is happening because of the huge debt that the company has. The point being all employees in Pepsi are witnesses, of the debt the company has. And what about the cfo of the company who knows, sees and sign everything related to interest payments.

The same point (referenced in other career FAQs) about creating intolerable difficulty for ourselves applies. If you adopt this approach you will restrict the job pool for Muslims to a much much smaller pool and most public sector employers will also be ruled out. Pepsi is fundamentally a halal business. Yes if it leverages that is not permissible, but you as an employee are not directly linked to that. Pepsi could of course have taken out a halal loan – so they could well have sold the same amount of coke in a halal context too. Now I personally would not want to work as a CFO or finance department employee for such a company however, as that would likely bring in play the prohibition on witnessing and entering into interest-based transactions. 

Is it halal to advise a firm that is going to use leverage for a buyout?

On the buy side, there are a few PE companies that are evergreen and buy equities in a company with equity. So if I work in such a PE firm, when I’m working with the executives of this company on how much loan to get and on which interest rate and and, how can this be purely halal? Don’t you think this enters a Grey area? 

I agree that even as advisory only you should try to specialise in a field that is not advising haram activities as much as you can. That is possible. If your conscience is upset with something that is usually a good sign. However, the general principle still applies: advisory-only services, even to a non-sharia-compliant business, are at heart permissible. Not holding this principle would lead to an intolerably difficult job market for Muslims.

Is working at an M&A Advisory boutique haram or halal?

On the sell side, you talk about working with an advisory boutique such as Lazard as halal.My question to you is based on the hadith, of the prophet “the receiver, the payer, the witness” isn’t the person who is creating these valuation models, discounted cash flow,etc… that person is building the entire models, based on Interest rate and is going a step further and recommending which bank to finance this merger or acquisition. Based on the hadith, how can this be halal? Do you consider this is entering a Grey area? Also, some M&A acquisitions happen with companies which are fundamentally non halal, what does a person do in that case? How can a person work in London or Paris, and be an associate and climp up the ladder, with a huge possibility of facing these issues? 

The approach I have adopted is that an advisory-only service (regardless of whether the underlying business is permissible or not) is permissible. If you want to be very cautious, you may wish to avoid even that. But my view is that this would make life intolerably hard.

What are halal careers I can work in in the City or with a finance degree?

Check out this video here.

I have an interview coming up with a corporate – can you help?

We would be happy to help with specific queries. You can use our contact us page to get in touch with these.

However, as you can see from the volume of FAQs on here, we simply can’t help give you general advice and guidance. We have produced a bunch of content, lectures and podcasts on this so we’d refer you to:

It is also not good practice to reach out to us or any other person you are looking to for advice or guidance for just general advice. Most people won’t even respond.

But mentors are important and you should try to get hold of them. Ideally you get introduced to them by someone they know. If not, a good cold email can also work.

But rather than asking “I am looking to get into corporate law – you guys have done it already – what is your advice?” you should ask “I am looking to get into corporate law, I have read the following book, or listened to the following podcast or attended the following open event, and these are my specific questions for you that only you can answer (and I can’t Google or ask someone else that I can easily get hold of). People are much more likely to answer that.

 

 

My employer doesn’t provide an Islamic option for their pension

That is not acceptable in our view and this is a breach of indirect discrimination legislation in the UK in our opinion. Use our Contact us page to get in touch. We’ll fight your corner on this.

Is it halal to study for economy and finance?

Yes. Studying anything is fine other than if it causes you to actually do haram while studying it. So if you were studying alcohol and had to drink it, that would be impermissible, but if you were studying it generally, that would be fine. Same applies for economics and finance.

Mortgage FAQs

See here for mortgage FAQs.

Is X Halal or Haram FAQs

Are there any halal/haram considerations when using a market order rather than limit order to buy stocks?

Our view is that market order are fine – as the range is determined. Where it isn’t determined – the brokers have a duty to come back to you if its something way off what you wanted to sell for under regs they are bound by anyway.
Finally, one can model it as an agency agreement where you give them complete discretion to sell your shares at the best price they get.

Are fees on balance transfer cards halal?

We are comfortable with paying those fees and view them as administrative fees as opposed to interest. Interest is usually significantly more than the fees they charge so there is a reason for the distinction between fees and interest.

However if there is not distinction and the contract is is just window-dressing a straightforward loan agreement then it wouldn’t be. We have no reason to suppose the majority of balance transfer credit cards are doing this, so would be comfortable with them unless proven otherwise.

Can I contact you by phone?

We do not have a phone helpline at this stage. You can however email us via our contact us page.

You can also leave queries or voice notes to us on Whatsapp by adding our business account on +447535054920.

 

Are degree apprenticeships or middle office jobs in an investment bank halal?

I’m currently in Year 13 and I’m in the process of applying for a 4 year degree apprenticeship with JPM. What appeals to me is the fact the bank will fund the 4 year degree in finance. I believe the work experience and future job opportunity will revolve around middle office functions such as cash management, anti money laundering, KYC,  trade support and accounting.

They’ve emphasised that movement between roles is very open and encouraged, my long term aim will be to work with their Islamic structuring and banking services. I understand this is may be very exclusive so I will seek to work in roles that don’t involve bonds such as M & A and equity.

My question is if you could shed some light on the permissibility of: the Degree Apprenticeship Scheme, Investment Banking Middle Office job and working in non interested based front office roles such as M & A and equity research.

I would avoid. Our view has always been that working within an investment bank at whatever function, front office or back office, support or fee-earning, is impermissible. If you can find an equivalent apprenticeship with a corporate that is not an investment bank, that would be much more preferable. You don’t want to set off on your career on the back foot. You want barakah in your career from the start.

Is working in digital payments platform company like Halalah halal?

Halalah is a digital payments platform targeting Consumers & Merchants to create an Ecosystem that will support growth of SME’s via providing them with new digital tools to accept payments, control cash and monitor sales analytics. Halalah Company is licensed by Saudi Monetary Arabian Agency (SAMA) in Saudi Arabia & Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in UAE. https://www.halalah.sa/en

My understanding of Halalah is that they are the Middle Eastern equivalent of Revolut or Transferwise. Fundamentally remittance and helping people transact is permissible and I see no indication that what Halalah are doing right now is impermissible.

However, see our article on digital challenger bank models here. It might be that Halalah do at some point in the future start making significant money from haram third-party provisions in their app marketplace (e.g. by allowing users access to haram financing). They may also start holding customer assets like a bank and using that as a basis for starting a lending operation. Both of these developments would mean that Halalah starts becoming impermissible to work for (its a sliding scale – the more of that stuff they do, the more I would not want to work for them…but if they’re only doing like 1% of that and its not core to their business, I would get comfortable with it).

So right now, probably fine to work for them, but keep an eye on what their long-term strategy is.

Is M&A considered to be an advisory role and therefore halal?

If the M&A team is based within an investment bank then my view is that is not permissible as you are then part of an overall institution that is fundamentally doing a whole bunch of things that are not sharia-compliant.

If the M&A team is part of an advisory boutique such as Lazards or Pirella Weinberg, I would be comfortable with that.

As stated in other FAQs, whether you are assisting the client with an analysis around debt projections etc. is of itself not impermissible. However, if you can guide your career towards sectors where cash buyouts are more likely, that’s helpful. Or, if your team is set up around functions, if you can guide your career to work in the function that puts the deal together and does the initial research rather than the team that sorts out the financing model, that would be much better. From conversations with friends in investment banking, this is generally somewhat possible. See also this guest article from an investment banker.

Is it halal to work for a highly-leveraged company?

For companies that sell fundamentally halal products like shell, Pepsi, etc,…. These companies are highly leveraged, for instance d/E ratio for fmcg companies is 4. Isn’t the same hadith of the prophet “the receiver, payer, witness” fall under employees who work in these companies across different functions? For instance the salesman, marketing, operations, like the salesman in Pepsi, cannot sell that much quantity of Pepsi at that price point, which allows to sell to customers with net 60 payments terms, and all of that is happening because of the huge debt that the company has. The point being all employees in Pepsi are witnesses, of the debt the company has. And what about the cfo of the company who knows, sees and sign everything related to interest payments.

The same point (referenced in other career FAQs) about creating intolerable difficulty for ourselves applies. If you adopt this approach you will restrict the job pool for Muslims to a much much smaller pool and most public sector employers will also be ruled out. Pepsi is fundamentally a halal business. Yes if it leverages that is not permissible, but you as an employee are not directly linked to that. Pepsi could of course have taken out a halal loan – so they could well have sold the same amount of coke in a halal context too. Now I personally would not want to work as a CFO or finance department employee for such a company however, as that would likely bring in play the prohibition on witnessing and entering into interest-based transactions. 

Is it halal to advise a firm that is going to use leverage for a buyout?

On the buy side, there are a few PE companies that are evergreen and buy equities in a company with equity. So if I work in such a PE firm, when I’m working with the executives of this company on how much loan to get and on which interest rate and and, how can this be purely halal? Don’t you think this enters a Grey area? 

I agree that even as advisory only you should try to specialise in a field that is not advising haram activities as much as you can. That is possible. If your conscience is upset with something that is usually a good sign. However, the general principle still applies: advisory-only services, even to a non-sharia-compliant business, are at heart permissible. Not holding this principle would lead to an intolerably difficult job market for Muslims.

Is working at an M&A Advisory boutique haram or halal?

On the sell side, you talk about working with an advisory boutique such as Lazard as halal.My question to you is based on the hadith, of the prophet “the receiver, the payer, the witness” isn’t the person who is creating these valuation models, discounted cash flow,etc… that person is building the entire models, based on Interest rate and is going a step further and recommending which bank to finance this merger or acquisition. Based on the hadith, how can this be halal? Do you consider this is entering a Grey area? Also, some M&A acquisitions happen with companies which are fundamentally non halal, what does a person do in that case? How can a person work in London or Paris, and be an associate and climp up the ladder, with a huge possibility of facing these issues? 

The approach I have adopted is that an advisory-only service (regardless of whether the underlying business is permissible or not) is permissible. If you want to be very cautious, you may wish to avoid even that. But my view is that this would make life intolerably hard.

What are halal careers I can work in in the City or with a finance degree?

Check out this video here.

Is the eToro Islamic account haram or halal?

In our view the eToro Islamic account (and any other forex Islamic account) is not properly Islamic.

We would strongly advise against getting into forex for Muslims, but also for non-Muslims due to the deep risks attached to it.

The operators of these companies don’t fully understand what Islamic law says about forex and are just trying to put a veneer of Islam over their products.
Forex is at heart a financial instrument (as opposed to dealing in the currency itself) and for it to be worthwhile there is leverage involved.

Most people who engage in forex lose money – and they lose it to people like eToro who can make money off losing trades.

see here: https://www.islamicfinanceguru.com/islamic-finance/forex-a-fresh-look-with-more-industry-perspective/
see also here: https://www.academia.edu/39060244/Forex_Halal_or_Haram

Is life insurance halal or haram?

We have considered this topic in great detail here. In short we adopt the minority position that life insurance is often permissible.

Is insurance halal or haram?

We have covered this topic in great detail here. In short, we take the minority opinion that insurance can often be permissible in many cases.

Are premium bonds halal or haram?

Premium bonds are not permissible. The earnings they offer are derived from interest and the whole set-up is to allow the issuer of the premium bonds to access cheap finance (at the premium bondholders’ expense).

Personal Finance FAQs

Are Islamic Marriages Accepted in English Law?

Islamic marriages (nikah contracts) are typically not accepted in English courts.
We’d strongly recommend getting a legal marriage. Particularly relevant for wills.

Are there any Islamic Self Invested Pension Plans (SIPPS) that you are aware of?

We recommend either Simply Ethical or Wahed Invest (https://campaign.wahedinvest.com/ifg). If you set up with Wahed and then call them, they are live with their SIPP but just not public about it.
You can also DIY it with someone like AJ Bell and then just use that SIPP account to buy some Islamic funds.
Do subscribe to our mailing list and we’ll share with you a detailed SIPP article in the coming weeks and months.

Would you recommend splitting my investment between Wahed and Yielders?

We can’t advise on specific cases but generally diversification is a good idea and you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. You can actually split a lot more than just 2 companies too.

Can I contact you by phone?

We do not have a phone helpline at this stage. You can however email us via our contact us page.

You can also leave queries or voice notes to us on Whatsapp by adding our business account on +447535054920.

 

What are your credentials? Why do you give fatawa?

Our backgrounds are here. As you can see we are classically and conventionally trained in Islamic finance and law.

We do not give fatawa but we do consult with senior scholars in our research.

revenue sources not given in the accounts – how can I decide how much is from haram sources?

You should estimate, based on publicly available data. Usually this will mean looking at the primary activities of the company and extrapolating from that. So if a company does 95% timber logging and 5% alcohol manufacture, you would assign 5% revenue to haram sources and purify that amount.

Do any Islamic banks offer mortgages for Right to Buy Tenants?

Not that we are aware of unfortunately.

My employer doesn’t provide an Islamic option for their pension

That is not acceptable in our view and this is a breach of indirect discrimination legislation in the UK in our opinion. Use our Contact us page to get in touch. We’ll fight your corner on this.

I have some haram earnings – how can I purify my wealth?

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