Is it haram to trade forex with a broker?

Some forms of financial trading are haram – forbidden – according to Islamic law. This page explains if forex brokers are haram or halal and how to trade currencies lawfully.
Updated: Nov 16, 2022

There has been a big jump in the number of forex platforms offering Islamic trading accounts in recent years. This guide explains how to find out if a forex broker is haram and what makes them halal.

Is forex trading haram?

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Trading can be haram but there are ways to make it permissible. The big obstacle is that forex trading has generally relied on margin trading and charging interest for positions that are kept open overnight. Usury, or the act of earning or paying interest is forbidden by Islamic law.

Similarly, all forms of trading must be done ‘hand in hand’, which is generally taken to mean that the transaction must be immediate and rules out forms of derivatives trading that include options and futures.

However, the act of buying and selling currency is not forbidden. It is possible to trade forex but you must be careful to use Islamic trading accounts and stick to sensible, profit making strategies with as little risk as possible. Gambling is explicitly forbidden, but trading forex could be interpreted as investing in something with a reasonable chance of success.

Another aspect to consider is whether your actions are productive that bring positive benefits to the economy as a whole. Stock investing is considered halal, for example, as long as you invest in companies that do not contravene the laws of Islam because they spread growth and prosperity around. Some forex brokers allow hedging, which can be used by institutions to protect against the fluctuating price of imports and exports and might be considered as a net positive and therefore halal.

Are forex brokers haram?

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Forex brokers that don’t offer an Islamic or halal trading account are forbidden. The ones that do may be acceptable, depending on your interpretation of Islamic law and guidance. 

As currency trading has become more popular across the world, some brokers have created a way to steer clear of charging interest. These Islamic accounts mean that the most explicit violation of Islamic law, which is riba – the interest element – is removed.

However, even the introduction of Islamic accounts isn’t the final word on the subject. There is still a huge amount of debate because forex trading is something of a grey area. Consult your religious authority for more clarity on the specific teachings of the Quran.

Can fx brokers be halal?

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Yes, forex brokers can be halal. If they offer an Islamic trading account, they have removed the most forbidden aspects of forex trading. However, that doesn’t mean they are halal, and you should seek more advice if you aren’t sure.

As discussed above, a huge number of factors must be considered before deciding whether a broker is halal. Read the conditions and features of each Islamic account and the broker that provides it, but don’t rely solely on that information. 

Some Islamic institutions, such as the Fiqh Council of North America, have ruled that currency trading is haram, but others have a more nuanced view. Speak to someone you trust before you make a final decision about whether to sign up.

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Generally, forex trading occurs through derivative contracts such as spot, futures, and options. Investors do not own any currency when using one of these methods and are simply speculating on price fluctuations. Trading in this way is seen by some in the Islamic community as gambling and could be against Islamic law.

What are Islamic trading accounts?

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They are a special type of forex trading account that attempt to comply with Sharia Law. They remove the most obvious violations of Islamic principles and allow traders to buy and sell currencies without paying interest.

The main difference between an Islamic account and a standard one is that there are no interest or swap charges on an Islamic account. Swap charges are effectively the interest due for taking out a loan from your broker in order to trade with leverage. Instead, the broker makes money by charging margin or commission fees. 

What are the fees for Islamic trading accounts?

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Many of the fees are the same as regular accounts but you pay them in a different way. Rather than paying overnight fees or margin fees, you pay flat commissions and administration fees. The exact amounts vary because every forex broker has different prices but you can easily find each platform’s fee structure on their website.

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James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.