O You Lucky Muslims: Health Insurance Religious Carve Out
"Commercial insurance contracts are a kind of haraam betting, because each party is getting involved in ignorance, ambiguity and gambling. Islam does not permit any type of betting except that which supports Islam and propagates Islam by means of proof and jihad. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted a concession allowing betting in only three cases, when he said: “There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except in camel-racing, horse-racing and archery.” Insurance does not come under these headings and cannot be likened to any of them, so it is haraam." -Islam QA website
Guess what? Health insurance as we know it is prohibited by traditional Islam. Working in the insurance industry is prohibited, too. This, of course, could exempt Muslims from mandatory health insurance under the law just passed. Can you imagine the jealousy when there are no fines or penalties for Muslims because of the religious exemption?
While there are insurance models that comply with Islamic Law (a diagram of the permissible takaful is above) , it should be pretty easy for Muslims who are so inclined simply to invoke a religious exception to the horrible new health care law. With rights and privileges available to Muslims but unavailable to the rest of us, societal harmony will not be advanced. How this will play out in the coming days no one yet knows, but the outlook is not good.
Islam's quarrel with insurance isn't much different from objections in England and America in earlier days, and is similar to reservations expressed by some religious Christians that it is best to trust in God. While mainstream Christianity has (for the most part, and possibly to the detriment of many) stepped away from concerns about usury (variantly defined as interest or excessive rates of interest), Islam still has strong prohibitions in place. Insurance also has a gambling component (I bet something bad will happen to me; the insurance company bets it won't) and it wasn't terribly long ago when courts were filled with cases whether insurance was an illegal gambling contract.
Unfortunately, current world politics coupled with the usual concerns that arise in times of high immigration, there is--at least at a theoretical level--bad blood between Muslims and mainstream America. The new health care legislation will only to fan flames that would be best not to be ignited in the first place. And let me make myself perfectly clear: my quarrel is with mandatory health insurance, not Islam. Islam's prohibition against traditional health insurance, which will exempt a large group of citizens from government regulation and fines and promote divisive jealousy between different groups of Americans, is just one more reason why the mandatory insurance health care bill must be repealed.
h/t to DMartyr at Snapped Shot, who blogged on this with a bit of a different take on the facts.