The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK provides a free health service to British residents. However, their service has deteriorated significantly over the past few years. Sometimes it takes patients twenty-four hours to be seen in emergency situations whilst it could take months before an operation is carried out. The quality of care has also deteriorated particularly for elderly patients who are often ignored. Today, our local hospital in Blackburn has confirmed that a mental health patient was left waiting for a bed for almost three days. In light of the deteriorating situation, would it be permissible to take out medical insurance? Please note paying medical treatment outside of the NHS is extremely expensive and many people would not be able to afford this.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیمAnswer
The default position in relation to medical insurance is impermissibility due to gharar (uncertainty) and qimār (gambling) therein. Accordingly, our view until recently was the prohibition of medical insurance due to the availability and quality of the NHS.
However, in light of worsening conditions, if someone is unable to afford private medical treatment, medical insurance will be permitted based on need. If there is a not-for-profit firm that provides this service, this should be used.
A person who is able to afford the treatment, however expensive, should avoid medical insurance.
Note: We are not aware of any Islamic medical insurance scheme in the UK which is based on takāful. If a suitable and viable Islamic compliant model is developed, it will be necessary to avoid the conventional model. It is necessary on Muslims to make every effort to demand and develop schemes that are Shariah compliant.
قال ابن أمير حاج في التقرير والتحبير (٣/٢٦٤) وابن نجيم في الأشباه والنظائر (ص ٧٣): الضرورات تبيح المحظورات. وقال ابن نجيم: ما أبيح للضرورة يقدر بقدرها، انتهى. وقال المفتي محمود حسن الجنجوهي في فتاويه (٢٤/٤٥٤) وأقره شيخنا المفتي أحمد الخانفوري في فتاويه (٣/٣٧٢): سوال: موجودہ زمانہ میں بیمہ کرانا اپنا یا دوکان اور موٹر وغیرہ کا کیسا ہے؟ الجواب : بیمہ میں سود بھی ہے اور جوا بھی، یہ دونوں چیزیں شرعا ممنوع ہیں، لیکن اگر کوئی شخص ایسے مقام پر اور ایسے ماحول میں ہو کہ بغیر بیمہ کرائے جان ومال کی حفاظت ہی نہ ہوسکتی ہو یا قانونی مجبوری ہو تو بیمہ کرانا درست ہے۔
Allah knows best
21 Jumādā al-Thāniyah 1439 / 9 March 2018
Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir