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Last updated on May 22nd, 2024
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Cate Cook

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Cate Cook
Cate is a journalist by profession who started trading shares in 2008, after which she became a full time CFD day trader for more than 10 years. She now combines her passions for writing and trading at MarketMates. Join the blog to receive the latest articles from Cate.
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Sam is the Cofounder and CEO of MarketMates. He has traded since 2008 and is the Author of the Amazon best-seller The Consistent Trader. Over 42,000 traders have taken his Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders. Join the blog to get his latest articles.
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Is Forex Halal or Haram? 

A summary of the information about whether forex is permitted under Shariah law

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Whether forex trading is halal or haram in Islam is a matter of debate among Islamic scholars.

There is no simple consensus on the issue, and there are valid arguments to be made on both sides.

Here we take a look at some of the many issues that Muslims may face when deciding if forex trading is halal or haram under Shariah law.

How to decide if forex trading is halal or haram

The decision of whether or not to trade forex is a very personal one for Muslims.

There is no black and white, right or wrong answer, and each individual must decide for themselves what they believe is the correct course of action.

This may be done in conjunction with a qualified Islamic scholar who may be able to give an opinion on this matter.

If you are a Muslim and are considering forex trading, it is important to do your own research for your particular country and region.

Here are some of the factors and arguments to take into consideration when coming to your decision.

Why forex trading may not be permitted in Islam

Here are some of the reasons why forex trading is not permitted (considered haram) by some Islamic scholars:

Prohibition of using interest (riba)

The primary argument against forex trading is the involvement of interest (riba) in the forex trading process.

Interest comes into play in the form of swap or rollover fees, which are earned on positions that are held overnight.

Islamic finance strictly prohibits the paying of riba, as it’s seen as exploitative and leading to an imbalanced and unfair transaction.

Lack of real assets

Another argument against forex trading is the absence of tangible assets being exchanged.

Islamic finance encourages only the exchange of real assets.

It discourages transactions that are speculative, or involves the trading of intangible assets, such as CFDs.

An intangible asset is one that does not really exist, in the sense that you can’t actually ‘touch’ it.

However, a nation’s currency is a tangible (real) asset, so it can also be argued that forex trading is actually trading a real asset.

Trading tangible assets is generally halal in Islam, as long as there is no exploitation involved.

Indulging in speculation

Some people regard forex trading as being a form of speculation associated with a high level of uncertainty or risk (gharar).

Islamic principles consider speculative trading as akin to gambling, as it involves uncertain outcomes and the potential of loss, involving risk.

The other side of this argument states that forex trading is an intelligent and skilled use of the laws of probability.

Therefore, it is not the same as gambling.

There is also an argument that forex trading can be used to hedge against risk, and to therefore make a profit, which are both permissible activities.

Unfair practices

Some may argue that forex trading leads to exploitation, as it permits traders to profit from fluctuations in currency values, without contributing to real economic activity.

This can be seen as contrary to the principles of fairness and justice.

However, on the other hand, economic activity between nations requires the exchange of currency to facilitate legitimate halal trading.

Therefore, it can be considered a necessary aspect of halal trading, which is permitted.

In addition, there are no ‘victims’ when a profit is made from currency exchange; no person or individual is disadvantaged, or unfairly taken advantage of.

Whether a profit is made by forex trading is largely a matter of knowledge, skill and timing, with no exploitation involved.

Use of leverage and margin

The use of leverage and margin in forex trading is considered haram (forbidden) by many Islamic scholars.

The reasons are:

  • Leverage magnifies riba (interest): When you use leverage or margin, you’re essentially borrowing money from the broker to trade with. This borrowed money often incurs interest (swap fees), making it a riba-based transaction
  • Leverage increases gharar (excessive uncertainty): Islamic finance discourages excessive uncertainty (gharar) in financial transactions. Leverage and margin trading can significantly amplify the uncertainty in forex trading. With magnified positions, even small price movements can lead to substantial gains or losses, making it akin to gambling for some Islamic scholars

What do Islamic scholars say about forex trading?

The permissibility of forex trading in Islam is a complex issue with varying opinions among Islamic scholars.

Here’s a breakdown of some prominent scholarly sources and their perspectives:

1. Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA)

Source: The International Islamic Fiqh Academy India (Resolution No. 189.)

This is an international Islamic institution for the advanced study of Islamic law.

It is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with branches in many Islamic countries.

The Academy’s mission is to provide religious guidance on modern legal, social, cultural and economic issues.

What the IFA says about forex trading

The IFA states that currency trading is permissible in principle, as long as it adheres to certain conditions.

These conditions include:

  • immediate settlement
  • avoiding interest-based transactions (eg. carry trading)

Resolution 189 emphasises the importance of fulfilling the underlying purpose of trade, which is the exchange of goods and services, and avoiding excessive speculation.

You can read an English translation of the full wording of Resolution 189 here.

However, it must be noted that the use of leverage and margin for forex trading is considered haram (forbidden.)

Dealing in bonds, indexes, options and futures are also considered haram.

2. The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI)

The AAOIFI is an Islamic international not-for-profit corporate body that prepares ethics and Sharia standards for Islamic financial institutions.

The AAOIFI standards aim to ensure ethical and responsible financial practices within Islamic finance.

Source: AAOIFI Sharia Standards

What the AAOIFI says about forex trading

AAOIFI recognises that currency exchange is permissible within certain conditions.

These conditions are similar to those outlined by the IFA, focusing on:

  • avoiding interest-based transactions
  • avoiding speculative behaviour

Details of their ruling and the exact wording used is available in English here.

3. Local fatwa boards and committees

Local fatwa boards have varying opinions based on their interpretations of Shariah principles.

Some may permit forex trading with Shariah-compliant structures, while others may consider it entirely impermissible due to concerns about riba and gharar.

You may wish to consult your local fatwa board in your area to find out their exact position in relation to forex trading.

What type of trading is definitely halal?

To comply with Sharia law, permissible trading activities must adhere to certain principles and guidelines.

Interpretations may vary among Islamic scholars, but here are some types of trading that are generally considered halal:

  • Stock market shares: Generally, trading shares in companies that adhere to Shariah principles is considered permissible. This encompasses investing in individual stocks or participating in Shariah-compliant equity funds. The key factor is ensuring the company’s core business activities align with Islamic values and avoid prohibited activities such as alcohol, gambling, or interest-based finance.
  • Commodity trading: Trading in physical commodities, like gold, silver, oil, and agricultural products, is generally permissible as long as the transactions are conducted on a spot basis (immediate delivery) and without excessive speculation or uncertainty.
  • Islamic mutual funds: Investing in Shariah-compliant mutual funds, which are managed in accordance with Islamic investment principles, is considered halal. These funds invest in permissible assets and comply with Shariah guidelines regarding interest, prohibited activities, and excessive speculation.
  • Gold forex trading: The permissibility of trading gold in the forex market (known as gold forex trading) in Islamic finance is a topic of ongoing discussion among scholars, and opinions may vary. The ruling depends on the specific circumstances and compliance with Islamic principles.

It’s important to understand that not all Islamic scholars have the same view on forex trading in general. Opinions vary widely.

Some may allow it with Shariah-compliant structures like Islamic (swap-free) accounts that eliminate swap fees

Others may entirely prohibit it due to a variety of the concerns discussed above.

As a Muslim, you may wish to do your own research and speak to your local fatwa board, council or committee before deciding if forex trading is right for you.

Get this week's best trading content

Lessons for all levels of trader. Nail the basics, master your mindset and learn advanced techniques.

Cate Cook

Cate Cook

Cate is a journalist by profession who started trading shares in 2008, after which she became a fulltime CFD day trader for more than 10 years. She now combines her passions for writing and trading at MarketMates. Join the blog to get the latest articles from Cate.
Cate Cook

Cate Cook

Cate is a journalist by profession who started trading shares in 2008, after which she became a fulltime CFD day trader for more than 10 years. She now combines her passions for writing and trading at MarketMates. Join the blog to get the latest articles from Cate.

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© 2024 – MarketMates.
All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Risk Disclosure

General Advice Warning: From time to time, you may receive general non-binding advice from us. This information is intended to be general and is not personal financial product advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. Before acting on any information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided and the nature of the relevant financial product having regard to your objectives, financial situation, and needs. MarketMates is not liable for or held responsible for any loss, financial or otherwise in relation to information received from MarketMates.

© 2024 – MarketMates.
All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Risk Disclosure

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