Questions and Answers with Mufti Ismail Ebrahim Desai

Questions and Answers with Mufti Ismail Ebrahim Desai


I want to know if binary options on internet trading broker is Halal?


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

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

a binary option is a type of option in which the payoff can take only two possible outcomes, either some fixed monetary amount of some asset or nothing at all (in contrast to ordinary financial options that typically have a continuous spectrum of payoff). They are also called all-or-nothing options, digital options (more common in forex/interest rate markets), and fixed return options (FROs) (on the American Stock Exchange).1

Binary options can be bought on virtually any financial product and can be bought in both directions of trade either by buying a “Call”/“Up” option or a “Put”/“Down” option. Binary options are offered against a fixed expiry time.2

The most common binary option is a "high-low" option. Providing access to stocks, indices, commodities and foreign exchange, a high-low binary option is also called a fixed-return option. This is because the option has an expiry date/time and also what is called a strike price. If a trader wagers correctly on the market's direction and the price at the time of expiry is on the correct side of the strike price, the trader is paid a fixed return regardless of how much the instrument moved. A trader who wagers incorrectly on the market's direction loses her/his investment.

If a trader believes the market is rising, she/he would purchase a "call." If the trader believes the market is falling, she/he would buy a "put." For a call to make money, the price must be above the strike price at the expiry time. For a put to make money, the price must be below the strike price at the expiry time. The strike price, expiry, payout and risk are all disclosed at the trade's outset. For most high-low binary options outside the U.S., the strike price is the current price or rate of the underlying financial product, such as the S&P 500 index, EUR/USD currency pair or a particular stock. Therefore, the trader is wagering whether the future price at expiry will be higher or lower than the current price.3

For example, one purchases a binary call option to wager the price of the S&P 500 Index at the strike price of $1400 based on one’s assumption that the S&P 500 will rally above $1400. One chooses a fixed expiry time of 45 minutes with a strike price of $1400. One can invest any amount such as $10 or even $15000. Therefore one invested $150 in the binary call option for $1400. The S&P 500 price at expiry determines whether you make or lose money. Assuming the price after the expiry time was $1402, therefore one would make a profit and also maintain one’s original investment of $150. However supposing the price was under $1400, then one would lose the original investment of $150 altogether. If the price was exactly the same upon expiry, then one would not gain nor lose anything, instead one would receive one’s investment of $150.

Binary trade options are essentially the sale of a right which one party gives to another in return for a fee. The option holder purchases the option to hedge against possible negative price changes in a bid to minimise his loss. Shariah does not recognize the sale of such rights, therefore binary options are impermissible. Furthermore Binary options are impermissible since they contain the element of Gharar (Future Uncertainty).4

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Contact Details:

Mufti Ismail Desai

Mobile: 071 683 8921






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