Islamic body in India declares health insurance illegal.

Man, it sucks to be a sick Muslim in India:

NEW DELHI: Comparing the benefits of health insurance policy to gambling, key Islamic organisations have termed the policies as “illegal” and directed Muslims to keep away from them.

At a seminar to deliberate whether insuring health was permissible under Islamic law Shariat, the Islamic Fiqh Academy (India) decided that availing such policies was illegal.

Representatives from around 300 Madrasas, including Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamiat Islami participated in the three-day meet, where they reached a conclusion that seeking insurance cover was only another form of gambling.

Health insurance schemes have turned a noble service in to a business activity, hence under Islam it is not permitted, they said.

If you live in India and are a Muslim, well, try not to get seriously ill.

22 thoughts on “Islamic body in India declares health insurance illegal.

  1. I’ve read this about muslims and insurance before.  I can sort of see their point, in as much as insurance companies exist to make a profit, rather than ensure access to funds, and so often do their best to get out of paying up. Still not completely living in reality with this though- perhaps they should start an ethical fund.

  2. If you live in India and are a Muslim, well, try not to get seriously ill.

    It isn’t really binding. These people have no more legal authority than Fred Phelps does.

    That said I cannot understand why a muslim or christian would bother about getting sick and dying.

  3. Good for them. If India could manage the costs it would be awesome for them, like virtually every other nation, to switch over to national health care. Gambling with a large corporation over whether you’re going to get sick or not might work, but it’s rarely a haven for ethical business.

  4. In my neck of the woods, Mennonites will not use health insurance.  But when medical bills exceed the family’s ability to pay, the church foots the rest of the bill.  Wonder if the islamic clerics would do the same?

  5. From Islam Today:

    Insurance is the sale of uncertainty itself. This is the strongest reason for its prohibition, since insurance is effectively the sale of a commodity that Islamic Law does not recognize as saleable. You pay the company to assume some matter of uncertainty in your life on your behalf. In life insurance, for example, you pay a fixed premium each month – say $200 – under an agreement that if you die, the company will pay out – say $75,000. If you die in one month, then the company has to pay you $75,000. If you live for forty years, you will have to pay them $96,000. If at that point you fail to continue to make your payments, your policy is cancelled and you get nothing back. Why is this? It is because you received for your $96,000 the benefit of their assuming your risk for you for those forty years. So you received, according to law, the commodity that you paid for during all those years and the company owes you nothing more.

    There are other problematic areas with respect to insurance, though these are far less important than the one just mentioned. In many instances, insurance resembles a type of prohibited interest (ribâ al-fadl), where two parties exchange the same commodity – gold, silver, dates, etc – in unequal quantities. Taking another look at our life insurance example above, assuming that you were to die one month into your policy, this would mean that you paid them $200 dollars and they paid you $75,000. Since Islam does not recognize the assumption of uncertainty as a salable item, this becomes an example of exchanging a like commodity (money in this case) in an unequal manner.

    Another problem with insurance is that it bears some resemblance to gambling. This comes as a consequence of the uncertainty inherent to the business of insurance. Insurance premiums are set based on the percentage chance that the individual policyholders will collect from their insurance. The company makes its profits by receiving more money from its customers than it pays out to those who deserve to collect. In a somewhat similar manner, a gambling casino earns its profits by calculating probabilities to ensure that its receipts exceed the winnings that it is liable to pay out.

  6. Well, since spiritual death is MUCH more serious than physical death, I can understand the Muslims’ problem with these concepts. Since some of us disagree with that stand, maybe we seculars can still buy a little insurance? Please, please.

  7. So…how do these philosopher-moralizers feel about farming?  Or parenthood?  Or being born at all?  IMO, those aren the ultimate gambles; I don’t see how the slots or the pony-tracks can even come close.

    On the other hand, insisting that big, faceless corporations answer to moral imperatives—well, that’s sort of refreshing.  Can they send some of that our way?  I think that the pointy-haired corner-office sociopaths who routinely relieve us of our decision-making could use more than a dose of that tonic, actually…

  8. Some British banks now offer Sharia mortgages – basically, the bank buys your home for you and owns it, you then pay rent to the bank until you have paid the cost of the house plus a bit extra and then ownership is transferred to you. This is because, as well as not being able to gamble, muslims cannot (according to Sharia law) pay interest either.

  9. So…how do these philosopher-moralizers feel about farming?  Or parenthood?  Or being born at all?

    These are allowed specifically so they are ok. Whereas Health Insurance is not specifically permitted so it is a judgment call.

  10. The desert religions understand farming. They also understand high birth rates, whether they have outlived their usefulness or not. Well, somebody has to pay the tithes and feed the clergy…

  11. Actually, I think the Islamic mortgage and financing options are interesting enough that I think they might make sense for anyone who can manage to get one, not just followers of that religion. The whole rent + principle vs lien, and assuming title aspects make me wonder if really they’re not a much better option for putting low income families into housing than normal variations. I’m not sure the practice makes as much sense for investors when you’re talking about a car or something, but I’d love to see how it works on a spreadsheet for property.

    Ouch. I can’t believe I said that. Ugh. I just had an accounting porn moment.

  12. The Sharia Mortgage was the sort of thing the Archbishop of Canterbury was talking about when he called for some of Sharia to be recognised in British law.  When you buy a house you pay stamp duty- basically Sales Tax on land.  Muslims using this sell to the bank, then sell to them pay extra (up to 3 times as much) because there is the Duty on the original sale, then the duty on the sale to them at the higher price- and because it is a higher price the %  duty is higher.

  13. The rules for Stamp Duty on Sharia-type mortgages changed in 2003 in Britain, so that they only need pay once.

    Apparently though banks offering Sharia mortgages require a 30% deposit upfront, which means they’re expensive if you can’t get a regular mortgage, but it does also mean that if you can get the 30% than the other 70% shouldn’t be too hard. None of this sub-prime crap where people can borrow more than the value of their homes.

  14. The Sharia Mortgage was the sort of thing the Archbishop of Canterbury was talking about when he called for some of Sharia to be recognised in British law.

    Ah, the Shariabishop. My take is straightforward—no religious exemptions when it comes to the law and I’m particularly opposed when it comes to whatever the British “Muslim community leaders” want.

  15. Islamic mortgages and insurance stuff aren’t really all that religious in any normal sense. I mean, I know Mormons who don’t drink sodas because of some strange religious aversion to caffeine, but I also know non-Mormons who don’t drink caffeinated drinks for non-religious reasons. In this instance I think the Muslims are doing us all a favor by creating a market for alternatives and variations of products and services, as long as they aren’t excluding non-Muslims from participating.

    That would bother me, if they were excluding financial services to people based on religion no matter which source drove the establishment of the service.

  16. My take is straightforward—no religious exemptions when it comes to the law and I’m particularly opposed when it comes to whatever the British “Muslim community leaders” want.

    It isn’t an exemption as such- it is ensuring that people who buy this way don’t pay more than others- the Exchequer doesn’t lose out- if a freind was going shopping and you gave him the money to buy something for you (to save a trip) you wouldn’t expect to pay sales tax twice (once on the purchase, and once when he passed it on to you and you gave him the money)

  17. I’m not convinced that it’s a good way to make a buck off of anyone. Higher costs from the consumer up front, but less risk in the investment. All in all, I think it probably averages out.

    Or to put it another way, if it were a really great way to fuck people over and take their money financial institutions would have all adopted Islamic practices voluntarily long ago.

  18. I’m not convinced that it’s a good way to make a buck off of anyone. Higher costs from the consumer up front, but less risk in the investment.

    Which means it’s a good way to make a buck off the TBs.

  19. pls is it allowed for an islamic hospital to participate in health insurance policy with a view to attend to muslim patients and recouped their money for them? Instead of giving the money to non muslim hospital

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