Q&A on Potential Dangers Found in Many Accounting Jobs

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.

Signed by:

  • 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

7 thoughts on “Q&A on Potential Dangers Found in Many Accounting Jobs

  1. As salaamu ‘alaykum akhee,

    In India almost all salaries are deposited directly in bank accounts which give interest. Every year as per government Income Tax rules all tax-payers have to make an “Interest Statement” which gives the breakup of how much interest a person was given by the bank.

    Is making such a statement also included in “the scribe”?

    JazaakAllaahu khayra

    • Whoever falls into haraam, riba-based transactions and wants to repent from that has to get rid of this haraam interest by spending it on the poor and needy or on charitable projects that serve the common interest, such as hospitals, schools, orphanages and so on.

      The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas said:

      It is essential to get rid of the bank interest because it is a type of haraam riba. So it should be spent on the public interests of the Muslims, such as giving it to the poor and needy, in order to get rid of it. End quote.

      Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 16/532

  2. As-Salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

    I was researching some fatawa on alifta regarding usury, and I kept running into a phrase which means, “…permissible as long as it is hand to hand…”

    It occurred to me that debit card/electronic purchases/exchanges might not qualify as “hand to hand” since they take until the end of the day, or one day, or two days, or more than that to “reconcile.” Can you please clarify whether or not debit card purchases (not credit card), or online purchases, or other forms of electronic purchases are permissible given that they take at least one day until the money moves from one side to the other? I couldn’t find any fatawa to clarify this.

    May Allah reward you for your continued assistance and efforts on our behalf. Jazakallahu khayran.

  3. As-Salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu,

    If a Muslim business owner has a credit card but never pays interest, and at the same time refuses to stop using the credit card, is his accountant among those mentioned as cursed in the hadeeth?

    Jazakallahu khayran.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. If he has not documented any usury-based transactions, then the hadeeth does not apply to him. However, the religion is sincere advice, so let him advise his Muslim brother about the contract behind the credit card. A logical question may be helpful, like: “Would you take a loan from a person who stipulates that if you do not pay on time, you have to drink whiskey or commit adultery when paying it back?” Of course, no one would agree, even if they were completely confident they could pay back the loan on time! So how could someone agree to pay an amount of ribaa (usury, interest) if he does not return the money on time? Ribaa, intoxicants, adultery… these are all major sins from the first crimes to be strictly forbidden in Islam! Look how Shaytaan has tricked us and made one of them seem acceptable in our agreements! And Allaah knows best.

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