Working on IVR Engine Software for multiple clients etc.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.ca

Question:

Our company develops call centre softwares (like IVR, softphone etc.) Besides me, two other people are also involved in its development.

IVR is basic software like you call any company’s helpline number, and an automated/recorded voice is played, presenting you options to select a menu, that which services you want to consume. And then, you select an option by pressing the digits (DTMF) on your phone etc.

Our IVR software consists of two parts,

1) a basic engine for receiving calls, transferring calls, playing recorded voice files, getting input DTMF) from the user etc

2) and the other part consist of the call flow.

That is we have created such engine/software where you ask the software to play any file and it plays it on the phone etc. It has now become a generalised solution.

But we write a custom call flow (i.e. the second part) for each of our client depending on the services the client wants to offer to its customers. Without it, the software doesn’t sell, just similar to like someone won’t just buy a car engine, he’ll purchase a complete working car.
My job at this company is to work on this IVR engine software. The other two persons work on writing specific call flows (according to the client requirements) for the clients.

Our clients consist of various type of companies from banks to asset managment to mutual funds, investment companies, companies related to the stock market, port and shipping companies, and electricity providing companies etc.

The banks’ call flow usually contains these things, like changing your TPIN number, making transactions, advertising their products (may be or may not be loan based etc.)

The asset management or mutual funds or investment companies, usually offer services like changing your TPIN number, getting daily rates for the different kinds of funds, balance inquiries etc.
My job is not to write these specific call flows, it is done by my two other colleagues. They write it, then we give the combined solution to the client. Although the IVR engine is generalised, sometimes my colleagues ask me to modify the IVR engine specifically for a client due to a need.
Usually what happens is that I have little to no knowledge of what is being done, what services are offered etc. These are done by my colleagues. In case there is some error or bug in the IVR engine (which may appear) for this client, then I have to change/fix it.

I hope I have explained the issue properly, if it is confusing please ask me for any clarification.
My query is

a) is working on such thing is permissible or not?

b) Should I continue this job or not? The asset management company I’m talking about is http://mcbah.com/.
c) Do I immediately leave this job or wait till I find another halaal job and then switch over? My financial conditions are for now like, if I leave the job, I most likely won’t have any problems arranging for food, clothings etc. But will have issues in paying my university semester fees. (Might have to leave university.)

Please advise, I’m very confused if I might be earning Haraam.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

I am in receipt of your question and have deliberated on the matter. Your email refers:

In principle, becoming an active part of any transaction which involves interest or haram is impermissible. [i] Allah Ta’ala has specifically order,

 

{وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ} [المائدة: 2]

Assist in goodness and piety and do not assist in sin and transgression.

 

a) In your work, you are responsible for generalized IVR which includes ” receiving calls, transferring calls, playing recorded voice files, getting input (DTMF) from the user”. This job description is permissible and does not render your income impermissible.

In specific times when you are asked by your colleagues to work on a specific call flow, and that call flow includes transaction which includes interest in it, then such a specific job will not be permissible. The income in lieu of this particular job will be impermissible as well.

b) You may continue the job and excuse yourself from writing those specific call flows which include impermissible item.

c) If the employer imposes upon you to aid in those call flows which are impermissible, then you must start looking for another job. If this entails leaving university for a semester or two, before you can get another stable job, then you should seriously think in doing so. Halal income has a life long effect. You can still regain your academic standing by taking up courses later on, but the effect of the haram income will draw your barakah down.

May Allah Ta’ala increase you in your zeal for halal income and open the doors of knowledge and halal sustenance for you, Ameen

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca

[i] Check some details in regards to software development at : “We are not sure who will use the software we have developed. Would the income be permissible?

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