Question:

Can I Have an Interest bearing Bank Account in Order to Donate the Interest to Charity?

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

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

The Answer:

Ideally, a person should seek to open a bank account with an Islamic bank.  If an Islamic bank is not available or does not offer thee required services for a customer, a person should opt for an Islamic window account in a conventional bank which adheres to Shariah principles.  If Islamic windows are not available, a person may open a current account at a conventional bank which does not offer interest.

It is permissible to open a non-interest current account in a conventional bank despite the presence of Islamic banks.  However, it is encouraged to use the services of Islamic banks to assist the growth of Islamic Finance.
Only in the absence of the above can a person open a bank account which reaps interest due to the necessity of protecting one’s wealth.  If a person has an interesting bearing account due to necessity and as a last resort, he must donate the money to charity as a means of purification and not reward.

A person cannot open a savings account with interest with the good intention of donating the interest to the needy.  To accrue interest is categorically forbidden in the Qur’an and is ḥarām.  To give voluntary charity is mustaab and preferable.  A person cannot do a haram in order to fulfil a mustaab practice.  Furthermore, if one acquired interest to give to the poor, he would not be rewarded regardless.  Dispensing of interest to the needy is not adaqah, rather, it is an obligatory form of purification of one’s wealth.

In conclusion, it is not permissible to open an interest bearing account to in order to donate the interest to the needy[1].  One should instead donate his own acquired money as adaqah to the needy.  Such adaqah will be a means of barakah and blessings for oneself and the needy with the will of Allah.
 
And Allah Ta’ālā Alone Knows Best
Mufti Faraz Adam, 
www.darulfiqh.com 

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[1] Ahsanul Fatawa 7/60 H.M Saeed