Is share market business and life insurance allowed in Islam?

The Details of the Question

Is share market business and life insurance allowed in Islam?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Is private life insurance permissible?

There are many aspects of the insurance. It is impossible to mention all of them here. Insurance is divided into three groups, these are; compulsory or social insurance, private business insurance and solidarity insurance (mutual insurance, indemnity insurance). Since the third one is completely an organization of help and solidarity, it is permissible and nearly everybody is unanimous in this. Having the purpose of providing help and solidarity among the citizens in order to share the risks of life between each other, the first one too, is actually same with the third one. The only difference between them is that the first one is compulsory. 

The insurance, which is argued about, is the second, which is private business insurance. Actually, having no difference in terms of operation, such insurances have two unfavorable aspects. The first is; because of the amount of money that the insurance companies are suppose to tie up in a bank, generally they are subsidiary companies of a bank and they get interest from the collected amount of money. And the second is charging interest to the some kinds of life insurances. Apart from that, the difference between these type of insurances and social insurances is only that social insurances are organized by government but these are organized by private sectors. And this doesn’t change the judgment. The first unfavorable case of these two doesn’t break the contract, since it is out of the terms of the contract. It is something like that for example a grocer –that you trade with- makes use of money in an ill-gotten way. Such a contract isn’t forbidden but since it indirectly sustains undeserved earnings, it is not unobjectionable. Allah Almighty decrees; “Help each other by fairness and piety (taqwa), but not by enmity and sin”. Therefore, if there are insurance companies which don’t include such kind of objections, we should work together with them, but if there aren’t, it can not be permissible.    
But the second objection is directly interest and such a contract is completely forbidden itself. The insured person pays the premium for a length of time and pays it back with its real interest rate later. Certainly this is usury. 

In conclusion, if there is an opportunity that removes such objections, then claiming that it is forbidden will have no grounds.  

Faruk Başer

Is share market business allowed in Islam?

Today, in this sense, we need to analyze the selling and purchasing the stock certificate which is the base of the stock exchange.

1- To be a shareholder of a company which is working on business licit to be produced and put into market. This is without any doubt is allowable. The buyer becomes a partner of that company in accordance with the percentage of his shares, and takes part in its profit and loss, and he is entitled to sell his shares whenever he wishes.  (The number of such companies is quite much.)

2- Buying and selling a share that  gains or losses price in a way free from the economical value it belongs in the intend of  appreciating  the present money or keeping its charge or making money by seeking profit. The dealings in the stock market are in the second form. Investing on the exchange market in this sense, though not completely, it is similar to playing gamble or lottery.

It causes the shares to be more precious or cheaper than they are. The people earn or loss money without any sound contribution to the economy and production of the country. In this regard, it is very difficult to assess the exchange stock to be, at every point, as an acceptable trade. (Hayrattin Karaman, Gunluk Hayatimizda Halallar ve Haramlar, p. 265, Istanbul 1999)
In the final declaration of the Stock Market Symposium held in Rabat in 1988 with the attempt of Islamic Law Academy adherent to Islamic Conference Organization and in the seventh term meeting of the academy which was conducted in Jeddah in 1992, it was stated that the shares are licit in that they take part in both profit and loss and yet the Islamic decree about this subject is highly related with the condition that the trade dealings and utmost purpose of the company in question must be permissible. 

At this point it must be stressed out that in the cases that the profit of the company might be mixed with illicit, not because of that the activity area of the company is doing prohibited dealings, producing the commodities against the Islamic law, but because of that the company may have been in favour of unlawful proceedings, the shareholders are recommended to count this amount roughly and spend it in the way of good assuming that it is, after all, the right of the public but he should not seek any intention of good deeds for himself.

Indeed majority of the scholars of Islam arrived at a consensus, though some contemporary scholars claim otherwise, the stock market and shares two important Islamic problems of today are permissible in Islam. However, the company whose shares we want to purchase should not have any hand in producing alcohol or pork meat which is forbidden in Islam.

Whether it is permitted buying and selling shares from Stock Exchange, we can determine it by analyzing the following conditions.

1- It is banned to purchase the shares of the companies obviously conducting interest proceedings such as banks, bankers, usuary institutions.

2-It is the same decree for the companies working on the production, selling and buying of the Islamic-banned-things like vine, beer and so forth.

3- Also, it is vetoed in Islam to buy shares from the companies that are selling at interest the goods of which we have share, and then mixing that profit with the other goods.

4-Though the commodity the share of which we have is allowable, if the Muslim people who are the owner of the company whose shares we have are engaged in disallowed dealings, we are proscribed to get any share from that company. Because if we buy anything from them, then we would support them indirectly which is called “cooperation in sin” in Quran. And that cooperation is not permitted in our holy book.

5- Buying any share from the Christian or Jewish-owned companies is abominable even if there may not be any other drawback. When the Islamic law books observed, it can be come into such a conclusion that it is not allowed to buy any share from communist, mason or atheist dominated companies. 

6- It must be known about what is the percentage of the bought share compared to the whole company.

7-There must be asset. Buying the shares of an institution like Credit Company is prohibited in Islam.

8- It is permissible to buy participation shares from the share owner of a company which is essentially licit but is not being run in accordance with Islamic rules so that you can receive what he owes you. But you must sell those share certificates as soon as possible. And if you make any profit out of that trading; you must give it either to the poor or to the service of public.

9- It is unanimously licit to buy from the companies that have no relation with what is impermissible, the Muslim people constitute the majority, declare obviously the share to the sold stock certificate of the company which is subject to be sold, enable the people whenever they intend to give up the partnership.  And these Muslim Businessmen are extremely important for Islamic enterprises and licit capital. Because participation shares are the most crucial alternative for the interest which is one of the greatest major sins in Islam, the sharpest way of finding management and investment capital. If the Muslim people succeed putting this into practice by keeping it far from interest, they can be a means for coming about great operational managements and eradicating the interest.

Halil Gönenç, Günümüz Meselelerine Fetvalar, 1. Cilt, s. 382-383.

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