A Muslim concerned about his income asks:
I am an accountant that presents the financial statements of my organization to my employers. The banks pays interests (riba) on the company’s funds (the company is involved in halal business) saved with the banks and in the periodic statements they (the bank) send to us (accountant and my employers) they show clearly the analysis of the transaction my organisation has done with them over the period.
In the normal accounting profession, we are supposed to report this interest (riba) as well as all other transactions in the financial statements to the company, and the financial statements will not be complete unless they are shown, and thus the accountant has no choice but to report the riba as well. Do you not think that one will fall under the curse of the Prophet (though, all these transactions are now done over the computer and no longer written) or does the curse in the hadith only relate to those that actively support/promote riba, e.g those working in riba based banks?
I am referring to the part of the hadeeth that says “who write riba” and “They are all alike (in guilt).”
The scholars have spoken specifically about this issue. The following is a translation of a question and answer published in the Permanent Committee’s Fataawee Collection (v.15, p.5):
Question: What is the intended meaning of the “scribe who writes the ribaa” mentioned in the hadeeth of Jaabir that Muslim collected: “The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) cursed the one who takes ribaa, the one pays it, the scribe, and the two witnesses.” And he said about them, “They are all the same.” Is the “scribe of the ribaa“ only the one who recorded the actual occurance of the transaction itself? Or does it include any individual no matter how distant he was from the original occurance of ribaa, like the example of an accountant who gathers and calculates numbers in record books other than the original ribaa contracts, as is expected from him? Is such an accountant considered a “scribe of ribaa”, or is the phrase specific to only the original transaction and not the secondary ones (records), and thus the curse does not apply to him? Please inform us, may Allaah reward you well.
The response of the Committee:
The hadeeth cursing the scribe of ribaa is general, including the scribe who recorded the original transaction, as well as someone who copied it when it got old (to preseve it), as well as the one who recorded the amount in accounting records, as well as the accountant who calculated the amount of usury and added it to the capital amount, as well as the one who sent it to be deposited, and their likes. And through Allaah is success, and may Allaah raise the rank of our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and companions, and grant them all peace.
- Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Qu’ood (member)
- Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Ghudayyaan (member)
- Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee (vice president)
- Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (president)
This fatwaa was read back to Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have Mercy on him) before his death. He approved of it, allowing its publication.
Furthermore, it is very specific about the point of an accountant who keeps records of ribaa contracts, while other claims attributed to Shaykh Ibn Baaz may have confused some people. [Review this for more related fatwaas and discussion of the topic.]
And Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson