Is Forex Trading Haram or Halal?

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Published on
June 25, 2023

As the understanding and acceptance of diverse financial systems grow globally, questions regarding their compliance with specific religious laws become increasingly relevant. In this context, many followers of Islam wonder if engaging in Forex trading is halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden) according to the principles of Islamic Finance and the teachings of the Holy Quran. To give a definitive answer to this question, we delve deep into Islamic jurisprudence, economic theory, and financial statistics.

The discussion around the legitimacy of Forex trading in Islam has been ongoing, with various muftis and Islamic scholars providing their interpretations. But before we proceed further, let's briefly explain what Forex trading entails.

Forex, short for foreign exchange, involves the trading of different national currencies. Traders attempt to profit from the fluctuations in exchange rates, buying currencies at a low rate and selling when the value increases. However, while this may seem straightforward, Forex trading's reality is characterized by high risk and volatility, and it may contradict several Islamic finance principles.

Principles of Islamic Finance

Islamic Finance is a system of finance that complies with Islamic Law (Shariah). Fundamental principles govern Islamic finance, which are designed to promote fairness, justice, and social welfare, including:

  1. Prohibition of Riba (Interest): The charging or paying of interest is strictly forbidden in Islam, as stated in the Quran: "God has permitted trade and has forbidden interest" (Quran 2:275). This principle eliminates the conventional notion of "time value of money," a cornerstone in Forex trading.
  2. Prohibition of Gharar (Uncertainty): Contracts should not be ambiguous or uncertain. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, "Leave what makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt" (Tirmidhi). Forex markets are characterized by extreme uncertainty, which directly conflicts with this principle.
  3. Prohibition of Maysir (Gambling): Islam forbids all forms of gambling. The Quran states: "O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, and arrows for seeking luck or decisions are an abomination of Shaitan's (Satan's) handiwork" (Quran 5:90). Many argue that Forex trading resembles gambling due to its speculative nature.
  4. Ethical and Social Considerations: All financial activities in Islam should support social good and not harm others.

Forex Trading from an Islamic Perspective

Given these principles, let's examine Forex trading under the Islamic Finance lens.

Riba in Forex Trading

Forex trading often involves the element of interest in the form of swap or rollover charges when positions are held overnight, which is clearly prohibited in Islam. A commonly suggested alternative is swap-free or Islamic accounts that many brokers offer. However, scholars like Mufti Taqi Usmani argue that the concept of "deferred delivery" in these accounts still contradicts the "spot settlement" principle of Shariah.

Gharar and Uncertainty in Forex Trading

Forex markets are unpredictable and highly volatile, with rates influenced by a myriad of global events. This inherent uncertainty conflicts with the principle of Gharar, where all contractual terms should be clear and known to both parties. Sheikh Hacene Chebbani, a well-known Islamic scholar, categorically stated that "the unknown elements in this [Forex trading] venture are so great that the contract is rendered void due to the high level of gharar or uncertainty."

Forex Trading as a Form of Gambling

Forex trading is primarily speculative. Traders bet on future currency value changes without any real desire to own the underlying asset, closely resembling gambling. Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq, Associate Professor of Economics and Finance at Upper Iowa University, argues that "in speculative Forex trading, traders are essentially playing a game, making it akin to gambling, which is haram."

Ethical and Social Considerations

Forex trading's high-risk and speculative nature can lead to significant financial losses, impacting individuals and their families. From a social perspective, it's argued that Forex trading doesn't contribute any real value to society and can promote harmful behavior like greed and obsession, contradicting Islam's ethical and social values.

Sheikh Dr. Ali Al-Salous – Scholar and Islamic Finance Expert

Dr. Ali Al-Salous, a well-respected scholar in Islamic Finance, has elaborated on the concept of Riba in Forex trading. According to Dr. Al-Salous, "When the dealing is done in the same kind of currency, then the transaction must take place in the same sitting, hand to hand, and if the currencies are different, then it is permissible for the exchange rates to vary, provided that the transaction is completed in the same sitting as the contract." This interpretation is based on a Hadith narrated by Muslim (1587) from Ubadah ibn al-Saamit.

In this context, Forex trading does not fulfill the 'hand to hand' requirement as traders rarely take possession of the currencies they trade. Hence, Dr. Al-Salous considers it impermissible.

Dr. Monzer Kahf – Renowned Islamic Economist and Scholar

Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent Islamic economist, posits that "Forex trading is permissible if it's done on the spot market, delivered immediately, and the transaction does not include any form of uncertainty (Gharar) or interest (Riba)." This statement underscores the challenge of fitting Forex trading within Islamic norms, given the inherent uncertainty in Forex markets and the prevalence of interest.

Sheikh Bilal Khan – Leading Shariah Advisor

Sheikh Bilal Khan, a leading Shariah Advisor and co-chairman at Dome Advisory, opines, "Forex trading involving speculation and interest is not permissible. However, if it is performed with the intent of obtaining a real underlying asset and follows all other Islamic Finance principles, it may be considered permissible. But this usually is not the case in practice."

Mufti Muhammad Shafi and Mufti Taqi Usmani – Renowned Pakistani Scholars

In the compilation of fatwas titled "Contemporary Fatawa," Mufti Muhammad Shafi argues that the only acceptable form of currency trading in Islam is physical possession and transfer. His son, Mufti Taqi Usmani, widely recognized for his work in Islamic Finance, supports this view.

Mufti Taqi Usmani further elaborates on the issue in his book "An Introduction to Islamic Finance," stating, "The requirement of settlement of both issues, i.e., sale and purchase, is designed to preclude uncertainty or riba al-nasiah. The presence of any of these conditions renders the exchange contract void."

Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid – Founder of IslamQA

Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the founder of the popular Islamic Q&A website IslamQA, echoes the view of earlier scholars, stating, "Trading in currency for speculative purposes is not permissible because it is a kind of gambling."

Mufti Muhammad Arif – Director at AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics

Mufti Arif elaborates on the issue from a risk perspective, arguing that "since 90% of traders typically lose money in Forex trading, it may be classified as gambling, which is forbidden in Islam."

Statistical Evidence on the Risk and Outcome of Forex Trading

Data and statistics strongly illustrate the risky nature of Forex trading. According to a report from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), over 70% of retail Forex traders lose money on these platforms. Another study by French regulator AMF revealed that a staggering 89% of traders lost money over four years.

The high percentage of losses is attributed to the unpredictable nature of Forex markets and the high level of leverage offered by brokers, which magnifies losses and profits alike. This statistical evidence clearly underlines the inherent risks in Forex trading and how it is unsuitable for the average individual who cannot afford such high-risk exposure.


In light of Islamic principles and the teachings of the Holy Quran, the high-risk and uncertainty involved, and the views expressed by renowned Islamic scholars, it can be persuasively argued that Forex trading is not permissible in Islam. It not only contradicts essential Islamic finance principles but also statistically presents high potential for loss.

While the world of finance is continuously evolving, we must bear in mind the wisdom of our faith and its guidelines that promote justice, fairness, and social welfare. As Muslims, we are encouraged to seek Halal means of earning and spend in the path of righteousness, fostering a beneficial and balanced society.

Remember, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Seeking halal earning is a duty after the duty" (Ibn Majah). It's time we commit ourselves to this profound wisdom and carefully consider our financial decisions under the light of Islam.

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