I am Mubashsher from Karachi. Hope you are in the best of health and spirits.
A little upon my background: I have an MBA in Finance from a very prestigious institute in Karachi. I have been working at a mutual fund since graduation in 2007 as a research analyst. The company manages 6 funds, of which 5 has exposure to Riba in varying degrees.
The problem is that I want to get out of my current job, which has significant exposure to Riba. I have been trying since June 2008 to get a financial job in a trading/manufacturing co, even at a somewhat discount to my current salary, but I have failed to land even a single interview. On the contrary, I have received interview calls for jobs in my current field, which I have not answered due to my inclination of switching to non-Riba based jobs.
Your advice is solicited as to how I could get out of my current job into a non-Riba one.
Dear Mubashsher sb
Wa alaikum us salam wa Rahmatullah e wa Barakatuhu
It is a pleasure for me to know that you take care of Allah’s commandments even at the opportunity cost of your income. Allah will definitely reward you for that which will be so magnificent that this opportunity cost will be nothing in front of that.
At the beginning of your career, it was not a correct decision to start with this job. Now you’ve obtained around four years of experience in this field so you’ll receive calls only for similar jobs. If you want to switch to a different career, you’ll have to start from scratch. However, it does not mean that you’ll need another four years to reach at the same point in your new career. I also made two transitions in my career successfully: once from Teaching to Accounts and then from Accounts to Risk Management. So I can share some practical experience based on that.
1. Try to make a gradual transition. Instead of jumping from current job to an entirely different field may be very difficult for you. Identify the fields acceptable to you but share some common knowledge / experience with your existing job. For example, you can initially move from Investment Management to a big company somewhere in the Treasury Department (it also involves Riba). Then you can try to learn about Accounting / Internal Audit etc. and move to there.
2. Try to get some certification / qualification in Accounting, Internal Audit, Risk Management, and Management Accounting (whichever you feel that you fit into that role). This will increase the probability of getting a job in that area. MBA Finance is a good qualification but professional certifications like CA, CIA, CIMA, CMA, CISA etc. are considered more relevant in above-mentioned fields. Also try to get some experience in them within your existing company so that you might know your potential fits into which area. You could highlight that experience on your CV and ignore the parts related to Riba while writing your CV.
3. Try to identify the common work between your experience and target job. Many things are usually common e.g. management skills, soft skills like communication etc., know-how of finance and investment etc. Highlight these common points on your CV.
4. Since your CV is the marketing tool for yourself, customize it for every target job. Try to highlight the points required by the target job on which you already have some experience.
5. Don’t give up your current job until you find a new one. Some people leave their current job due to religious fervor and think that God will help them but their life becomes miserable due to unemployment. Allah has not asked us to make abrupt steps on His behalf. He has always allowed gradual transitions especially for people who made an incorrect decision at earlier stages of their life. If you are not satisfied with this, I can share some evidence from the Quran and Sunnah.
May Allah grant you success in His way,
Please feel free to share should you’ve further questions.
Muhammad Mubashir Nazir
Assalam o alikum
Jazakhallah for your very prompt reply and apologies for my delay in responding.
I have been doing my utmost to obey His commands, but I guess a decree has not been issued from His end yet which will get me rid of this paradox I am in ….
I know it was not a good decision since the beginning to work in a riba-based job. But I had waited for about 6 months after my graduation, while interview calls for banks came in repeatedly. When this job was offered two others were also offered. One in an equity brokerage co, and another in the IT dept of Meezan Bank. Since I did not want to join the IT dept, I performed Istikhara for the current job, and then joined it when strangely the Istikhara came better for it. I even tried getting Teaching jobs last year, so as to crawl out of the present situation but nothing has worked for me.
I appreciate your advice for a gradual transition to a new job. Sadly, I have not been able to get a single interview through sending unsolicited emails, nor have been able to find a suitable job through web-portals or newspapers. I am of the view that any further education/certification from here onwards should be pursued once I get into a certain job; value is added when you get certified in a discipline while working in it, rather than doing something and then looking for jobs pertinent to it. I am ready for an FRM certificate, but to that I would need to get a Risk based job, which again unfortunately is mostly available in the financial sector.
Please share some evidence from the Quran and Sunnah pertaining to gradual transitioning that you mentioned in the email.
May Allah bestow His bounties upon you and your family for counseling me.
Wa alaikum us salam wa Rahmatullah
For you I’ll advise to keep trying. Insha Allah, the Almighty will open doors for you. Since your problem is getting job now, so I’ll advise you to go for certification now so that you can get rid of current position. Anyway, you can better understand your circumstances. Another advice is to take your first move to an Islamic bank. Although many people disagree with their practices and say that they also include Riba but at least they are following the “form” of Shariah if not following its “spirit”.
Regarding the evidence of gradual transition, there are several examples from the Quran and the Sunnah.
1. Liquors were always forbidden in Allah’s Shariah. Torah clearly describes their prohibition. At the beginning of the call of the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, their prohibition was not strictly enforced. Initially, people were prepared for them, then they were asked to avoid them during prayer timing and finally their prohibition was enforced by law and punishment was introduced for them. For detailed Ahadith on this subject, read any commentary of the verses 5:88-90.
2. Riba was always forbidden in Allah’s Sharia but its prohibition was also not enforced at once. At beginning, only a moral appeal was made to avoid it and finally it was legally enforced. Read any commentary of the verses 2:265-280.
Same is the case with other instructions of Shariah. It indicates that Islam has a tendency of ‘evolution’ and not a sudden ‘revolution’. That is also applicable in your case.
Feel free to share if you’ve some questions or comments.
Remember in your prayers,
Muhammad Mubashir Nazir
Don’t hesitate to share your questions and comments. They will be highly appreciated. I’ll reply as soon as possible if I know the answer. Send at firstname.lastname@example.org.