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Some believe that traditional life insurance can be considered haram, or not allowed, because it may involve prohibited elements like:
The concern is that you might be paying for something that you may never benefit from, or you could receive more money than you've contributed, both of which can be seen as uncertain and risky. In a study measuring the impact of Islamic beliefs on the intentions to buy life insurance, it was found that the higher an individual's Islamic beliefs, the more likely they were to view life insurance poorly.1
But there are Islamic insurance products that are widely accepted by the community, like Takaful insurance, cooperative insurance and term life insurance. Generally, insurance policies like whole life insurance or universal life insurance are considered haram or not Shariah-compliant.
Here are a few excerpts from publicly available sources breaking down the varied views on life insurance from the Muslim community.
"The idea of Baitul Mal (House of Wealth/Exchequer of an Islamic State) is similar to that of an insurance company. It was where the revenues of the state were collected and where any citizen facing a financial crisis found sanctuary." — Salma Taman, Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law
"Life insurance does not contradict the requirements of Islam. This insurance is similar to the principles of compensation and shared responsibility among the community where all participants guarantee each other against unpredicted future financial risk." — financialislam.com
"Conventional insurance relies on interest-based investments and is entirely rooted in un-Islamic, speculative investments. The insurance provider gambles on receiving more income from the premiums [...] than it has to pay out." — Islamic Relief Worldwide
"There are two kinds of life insurance. One is best understood as the standard protective insurance, while the other is best characterized as an investment vehicle. The former is permissible, while the latter is only permissible if the underlying investments are permissible." — Ibrahim Khan, Islamic Financial Guru
The Qur'an doesn't specifically mention life insurance, but it does teach Muslims to be responsible and care for their families.
Life insurance can be a way to provide financial protection for your loved ones, which is in line with these teachings. However, it's important that the insurance you choose follows Islamic rules and principles to make sure it fits with the faith.
One type of life insurance that is designed to follow Islamic principles is called Takaful. Takaful works by having people come together to help each other and share their risks. This way, Takaful follows values like cooperation and mutual support, which are in line with Islamic teachings. While the Qur'an doesn't directly talk about life insurance, it does encourage Muslims to care for their families and Takaful can be a good option for that.
Sharia-compliant life insurance is a special kind of insurance that follows the rules and principles of Islam. It's like a safety net to protect you and your family, but it's designed to fit with Islamic beliefs and values.
One popular form of insurance that is compliant with Sharia laws is called Takaful (but cooperative life insurance and term life insurance may also be considered compliant).
Takaful is a unique kind of insurance that follows the principles of Islam, making it different from other types of insurance.
How does Takaful compare with conventional/traditional life insurance? Why is one option more widely accepted by the Islamic community versus the other? Here's a head-to-head of the two types of coverage:
When it comes to Takaful versus traditional life insurance options, it's all about choosing what aligns best with your values and needs — a financial safety net for your family can be both Halal and practical. And there are options other than Takaful that are Sharia-compliant, which we'll get into below.
Term life insurance may be considered halal by some Islamic financial experts. But what is term life insurance, exactly? Term is some of the most affordable and straightforward life insurance that provides financial peace of mind for a set period.
Term life insurance is considered compliant with Sharia laws by some in the Muslim community because it is not an investment vehicle. Term policies are simply used as financial protection during the years in which a family needs it the most (like while paying off the house or before the kids grow up).
PolicyMe's life insurance calculator makes things easy, considering all the little details to determine how much life insurance you need to financially protect your family. Plus, it looks at your partner's earnings and your savings so you don't end up with more life insurance than necessary.
Islamic life insurance is a special kind of insurance that follows the rules and principles of Islam to provide financial protection for you and your family. It's designed to fit with Islamic beliefs and values, making sure it avoids things like gambling, making money from uncertainty, and earning interest (riba) which are not allowed in Islam.
One popular form of Islamic life insurance is called Takaful. In Takaful, people come together to help each other and share their risks. Everyone contributes money to a shared pool and when someone needs support, they can get help from that pool. This way, it's more about helping each other and sharing risks together, making it acceptable in Islam.
Conventional insurance isn't considered Sharia-compliant because it may involve elements that go against the rules and principles of Islam. Some of these elements include gambling, making money from uncertainty, and earning interest (riba), which are not allowed in Islam.
Muslims can buy life insurance that follows the rules and principles of Islam, making sure it fits with their beliefs and values. This special kind of insurance is called Takaful, and it's designed to provide financial protection for you and your family while aligning with Islamic teachings.
Life insurance can be halal, or allowed in Islam, if it follows specific guidelines and principles. Traditional life insurance might not always be considered halal because it can involve elements like gambling and interest (riba), which are not permitted in Islam. However, there's an alternative called Takaful, which is an Islamic form of insurance designed to be halal.
Whole life insurance is often considered haram because most whole life policies have an investment component, which is forbidden by the principles of Islam. This is because policyholders would technically be participating in gambling and making money from uncertainty.
Shariah-compliant funds are a type of investment that fits into the wider category of socially responsible investing. They operate like other ethical funds but have specific rules to align with Islamic principles.
Though they've been around since the 1960s, these funds have only recently become trendy. The real game-changer was in the early 200s, when there was a surge in oil money and the financial markets in the Gulf countries stepped up their game, making it easier to invest.
Just like your regular life insurance, Islamic life insurance isn't something you can typically deduct from your taxes in Canada. That means the amount you pay for your policy isn't going to lower your tax bill.
Tax rules can vary based on different situations, so if you're unsure about how your Shariah-complaint life insurance fits into your taxes, it's wise to consult a tax professional or visit the CRA website.
1 Souiden, N., & Jabeur, Y. The impact of Islamic beliefs on consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions of life insurance. International Journal of Bank Marketing. https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/issn/0265-2323
Islamic Insurance (Takaful). Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance. https://www.islamic-banking.com/explore/islamic-finance/islamic-insurance-takaful
Khan, I. Life Insurance: Is it haram or halal? Islamic Financial Guru. https://www.islamicfinanceguru.com/articles/personal-finance/is-life-insurance-haram-or-halal
Life insurance. Financial Islam. http://www.financialislam.com/life-insurance.html
Takaful (co-operative insurance). Islamic Relief Worldwide. https://islamic-relief.org/takaful-co-operative-insurance/
Taman, S. The Concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in Islamic Law. McKinney Law. https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/iiclr/pdf/vol21p481.pdf