Fatwa: # 46268
Category: Business Matters
Country: African Country
Date: 3rd October 2020


Can one invest in Phutuma Nathi shares?


Assalaamualikum Respected Mufti

Can one invest in Phutuma Nathi shares.




In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The Darul Iftaa has written a detailed answer regarding investing in shares. If the company in question fulfils the conditions laid out in the answer below, then it will be permissible to invest in the company.[1]

There are various types of companies in terms of how Shariah compliant they are. We can broadly group the companies into three:

1. Shariah compliant business & Shariah compliant financials

This refers to companies which have a Shariah compliant business activity such as the trading of halal food and beverages, textiles, halal pharmaceuticals. They further have no borrowings with interest and they do not receive any unlawful earnings from interest-bearing deposits, unlawful investments or trade of unlawful products.

Such listed companies are very difficult to find as they require an entire Islamic economic system with all Islamic financial institutions in terms of capital markets, Shariah compliant money markets, Takaful institutions, Islamic banks and more.

2. Non-Shariah compliant business

This refers to those companies which have a non-Shariah compliant business activity such as the production of pork, production of alcohol and conventional financial institutions trading in non-Shariah compliant products and instruments. Investing in such equities is never Shariah compliant and should be avoided at all cost.

3. Shariah compliant business & mixed financials

Many companies fall into this area where their business is Shariah compliant but they may have a small proportion of borrowings with interest or may have deposits in a business account in a conventional bank and thus receive interest.

With the interconnectedness of the financial system and most companies operating in conventional systems, it becomes almost impossible to evade some exposure to non-Shariah compliant financial services. Thus, majority of contemporary jurists permit investing in such companies as long as one does not benefit from the impure income and secondly, as long as the company proves to have minimal exposure to interest. This is established by successfully passing financial screening criteria. The two screenings a company must go through are as follows:

1. Business screening

A company shall not be involved in any of the following businesses:

a. Companies in the Financial services industry that are involved in interest-based lending and/or distribution of interest-based products. This includes financial intermediaries such as conventional banks, conventional insurance, interest-based lending (excluding windows operating in compliance with Shariah principles).

b. Manufacturing or distribution of alcohol and tobacco;

c. Companies operating in betting and gambling operations like casinos or manufactures and providers of slot/gambling machines;

d. The production, packaging, processing, or any other activity related to pork and non-halal food and beverages;

e. Bio-technological companies involved in human genetic manipulation, alteration, mutation and cloning; excluding those that are involved in medical research.

f. Shariah non-compliant entertainment, that deals with the operation of cinema theatres, composing, production and distribution or sale of music or pornography, the operation of Shariah non-compliant TV or radio stations; and

g. Any other activities not permissible under Shariah, as determined by the Shariah Advisor.

2. Financial Ratios Screening

Once a company passes the initial screening, a detailed analysis of its financials will be conducted using the last available audited financial statements. It will be permissible to invest in a company subject to the following conditions:

1. That the collective amount raised as loans on interest does not exceed 30% of the total assets of the company.

2. That the total amount of interest-bearing securities, whether short, medium or long term does not exceed 30% of the total assets.

3. That the amount of income generated from prohibited sources does not exceed 5% of the total revenue of the company.

If all of the above conditions are duly satisfied, then the shares will be deemed to be Shariah compliant. However, the proportion of income generated from prohibited sources is to be given in charity and must not be retained under any circumstance.

Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[1] اسلام اور جديد معاشي مسائل -مفتي تقي عثماني pg. 160-164


AAOIFA, Shariah Standards (2015) pg:562-568


المعايير الشرعية pg. 363-36


Fatwa of Mufti Faraz Adam [4]


The above financials are Ijtihadi in reasoning and slightly differ among scholars and institutions, however, there is very little variance between the various screening criteria. The following Shariah screening criteria are very similar and are commonly referred to:


Accounting and Auditing Organisation of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI); (ii) Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes (DJIMI); (iii) Kuala Lumpur Shariah Index (KLSI); (iv) Financial Times Stock Exchange Shariah Global Equity Index (FTSE); (v) Standard & Poor’s Shariah Indices (S&P); (vi) Morgan Stanley Capital International World Islamic Indices (MSCI); (vii) Thompson Reuters Ideal Ratings Islamic Indices; (viii) STOXX Europe Islamic Index; and (ix) ISRA Bloomberg Shariah Stock Screening Indices (x) Al Meezan.


This is an Ijtihad of contemporary scholars. A few decades ago, scholars faced this issue where the majority of the listed companies had interest-bearing debt and interest receivables. Keep in mind, equity is an important diversification of investment portfolios. Thus, the scholars saw that there was Umumul balwa (widespread exposure) and this cannot be resisted unless one adopts a nomadic approach to business and finance. Therefore, the scholars at the time were of the view that there should be some allowance and concession to invest in equities since there was rarely any alternative for listed companies to keep deposits in other than interest-bearing accounts(as Shariah compliant banks were few in the west in the early 90s), many of the listed companies were non-Muslims, there was many a time that the companies took loans because they was a genuine need for financing. However, the challenge they faced was determining an acceptable threshold. Some proposed 49% as that is the final number to remain a ‘minority’. However, others argued that the Hadith has mention of 1/3 being sufficient and excessive in the following narration:


Sa’d said: “I was stricken by an ailment that led me to the verge of death. The Prophet came to pay me a visit. I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! I have much property and no heir except my single daughter. Shall I give two-thirds of my property in charity?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Half of it?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘One-third of it?’ He said, ‘You may do so, though one-third is also excessive. (Bukhari)


Based on the above, scholars felt that there is a reference to excessiveness in the sacred text, so it would be more prudent to adopt one-third as a benchmark for excessiveness.


Although 30% is not one-third, 30% was seen as a reasonable standard just below one-third to prevent the “excessiveness” from being within touching distance.


Although this is an Ijtihadi issue, since then, the majority of scholars have adopted this view and therefore the view has gained further strength and is now a standard based on widespread scholarly acceptance and approval.

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