Bisillaahirrahmaanirrahiim (I cannot type this with my notebook in Arabic-.- )
My personal journey in switching to an Islamic savings account.
The idea of switching to an Islamic account crept in during the course of pursuing my diploma. I was exposed to the world of conventional banking since my elective is “Banking, Finance and Investment.”
One of the things I learnt was the main function of a commercial bank. Which is to accept deposits and to give out loans…on interest i.e. Usury or Riba.
The main issues I knew existed with conventional banks are that my deposits are used as
1) Loans in which the banks earned interest, which is forbidden in Islam
2) Investments that may or may not involve in dealings forbidden in Islam.
On a side note, if I remember correctly, banks in Singapore must invest a certain amount of money in something that is safe. For example, investing in bonds, which is also not allowed in Islam.
I pushed my intention to change accounts mainly because majority of the people around me have a conventional account. So I guess it was ok up until I finished my diploma and started to read more about Islamic Banking.
Before venturing into Islamic Banking, I read a book on Riba first. The book is authored by a Malaysian, Dr Zaharuddin Abd Rahman, tittled Riba dan Isu Kewangan Semasa.
What I found in the book was that it is forbidden (haram) to have a savings account with a conventional bank because we are considered helping the bank to do forbidden activities.
Knowing the author is Malaysian, my first thought was that ‘well Malaysians do have more choices in Islamic banking since it’s an Islamic country. I cannot simply put the ruling that it is also haram in Singapore right? If it is haram then people around me would have switched right?’
That thought do not put me at ease so I decided to research more.
What I Need
So I decided to compare the differences between what I currently have, which is the normal DBS/POSB savings account and the intended Islamic savings account with Maybank, which is the iSAVvy Savings Account-i. The points listed below are what I personally need (not really).
|What I Need||Conventional Banking (DBS/POSB)||Islamic Banking (Maybank)|
|ATM Network||Yes. Being the domestic bank, it makes sense that it has more(way more) atms.||Yes. Check out also under ‘atm5- shared ATM Network’, not necessarily a yellow colored atm machine.|
|Withdrawal Alternatives||7-Eleven and more? The atms and 7-eleven sums up to a lot so I don’t bother to look up for more.|
|Used as Ez-link||Yes||Yes|
The problem I see is with the ATM Network. Yes definitely, DBS/POSB will have the most ATM machines in Singapore as it being Singapore’s domestic bank. I then look up the location of the atm machines, its own atm and also the shared network- atm5, which I was quite satisfied with. Check out the locations by clicking here. Macam promo lah pulak.
Please check their respective websites for more thorough and accurate information. Disclaimer: I do not hold responsible for the accuracy of the informations above.
1) I am satisfied with what the Islamic account can offer.
2) I do not know whether having a conventional savings account for Singaporeans is permissible or impermissible, so the best is to leave what is doubtful.
Personally there is no real lost in switching for me. Basically I have nothing to lose. So I switched! Tenang sikit hati. Alhamdulillah.
I felt relieved ever since I made the switch. And now I am trying to find out the permissibility of it. I did not search the permissibility of it before switching because I know I will take a long time and I do not want my money to just sit in the doubtful account. So I switch on the basis of what they can offer me in which I am satisfied with.
Searching for the answer may take a long time because I guess there will be differences in opinions and in the end I need to study the basis on why they say it is permissible and why it is not etc.
In actuality, yes I am currently more inclined towards the impermissibility of it due to the issues mentioned under ‘Problems’ above. In my head I am going: ‘You are a banking student, you should know better! (what the conventional banking is up to)’. But at the same time I am like: ’You do not study fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), you should not make your own ruling’. But I am making a ruling for my own personal decision and not on others. That is why I am keeping quiet that my loved ones still have these accounts. Because, honestly, I do not know. Allah a’lam.
Because if it is really impermissible then the muslim community around me should have switched too right? Mosques and Islamic organizations would have also switched. So if they don’t switch, there must be a valid reason because riba is a major sin. So it only makes sense that there is a valid reason. And it only makes sense that the problem now is I know so little. May Allah increase us in beneficial knowledge.
I strongly recommend though that if you are opening an account for the purpose of savings, for example, only depositing once a month, or perhaps you do not withdraw on a daily basis, then just use the Islamic account:)
What also really triggered me to change is judgement day. If I was being asked why I do not try to reduce my exposure to riba, and the only answer I have in mind is that ‘It is troublesome. There is only a few atms etc’…. The companions put their lives at risk to practice Islam. And that actually made me think.Malu
May Allah make us people who would strive to practice Islam as best as we are able to and may He ease our hisab.
What I can suggest is to look through the services they can offer and see if it meets your needs(not wants) Be truthful.
All in all, it is better for a person to ask his own heart. I have made my decision. And because I do not know, I feel more secure that I am at least on the safer side.
On a side note, growing up is scary. Decisions to make, responsibilities to carry. Now I cannot pinpoint to others, especially adults, to blame it all on. The blame is all on me.
Ya Allah, guide us to the straight path.
Pernah anak murid itu bertanya tentang sesuatu perkara “kan menyusahkan tu…” Gurunya menjawab “Susah di dunia, InsyaAllah senang di akhirat. Jangan berfikiran singkat. Biar susah beberapa tahun, InsyaAllah senang di akhirat selama-lamanya”
P/S: Do correct me if I got the concept wrong etc. And I would love to hear your opinion on this. You can leave a comment below or email at firstname.lastname@example.org