Assalam u Alaikum We are running a call centre in Pakistan to sell Medicare healthcare Plan C&D for USA. The business works by making a phone call to US residents of over 64 year of age. As you will be aware, free health services are given to the eligible US residents through Medicare. Services provided by Medicare are split into 2 parts; first part is Part A&B which are basic health services and second part is Part C&D which provides additional services and facilities. As per US laws, Medicare Part A&B is accessible to every eligible individual after 64 years of age and that is provided by Medicare. Whereas the second part which is Part C&D is optional and available to individuals who already have part A&B and also who qualify for it. We as a business make a call to US residents of over 64 and inform them of the benefits of Part C&D; we do not tell them our islamic name instead use English names. We ask them their credentials to make sure that the person qualifies for the second part of medicare or not. If the person qualifies then we try to convince them to buy the second part. If they agree then we transfer their call to the relevant sales people of medicare in US. We are told about it by Medicare that the Part C&D health services will be free and we tell the same thing to the client whereas some of our close friends who are not from Medicare background speculate that these services are not free and sometimes the client might need to pay for these services but we from a business point of view are not aware of this fact and the company Medicare will not comment on this; this is just a speculative view and noone knows if this is true of false. Now the question to you is that: The commission per call / income made from this call centre is Halal? Is this a Halal way of business? Can we mention a non islamic name to the client over the phone? Also we are seeking a fatwa from a Hanafi sect; please clarify what sect of Fiqh your organisation is? We discussed this whole situation with a local Mufti sahab in Pakistan and we were told that it is a Halal business but then a few people have made some confusions into it by saying that because this is kind of insurance so not halal therefore we are seeking help from you as you are based in US and know the situation a lot better that someone outside of US. Would appreciate your help on this. Jazakumullah Khair.
After looking further into the Medicare Plans C & D, we have found that there are many different types of plans offered by many different private companies who are outsourced by the government which offers the original Medicare. These companies offer these secondary plans known as Medicare Advantage Plans for an additional cost or premium which is over and above Plan A, which is often referred to as the premium-free plan.
The following website mentions the fact that there are premiums and monthly costs for such plans: https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/medicare-costs-at-a-glance
Once a premium or fee is charged for this co-insurance, it will follow the same ruling as other insurances, which are impermissible. Hence, it will not be permissible to earn a commission by encouraging and aiding others to sign up for such plans. This act is a form of assisting in sin and Allah Ta’ala has guided the believers in the Holy Quran by mentioning,
وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“And help and assist one another in righteousness and piety and don’t assist one another in sin and transgression. Fear Allah; verily Allah is severe in punishment.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah : 02)
As for the usage of a non-Islamic name, it is of a secondary nature in this case. Once it has been established that this type of work is not permissible due to its intrinsic nature, it will be redundant to delve into this issue.
Nonetheless, it is not permissible to try to deceive people in business or in sales by changing one’s name, if that indeed is the underlying intent for not using one’s real name. Similarly, it is not permissible to change one’s name to a non-Islamic name if the intent is to follow the ways of the non-Muslims due to some infatuation with the non-Muslims or due to an inferiority complex as this act further diminishes a person’s faith in the religion of Islam.
However, assuming a person works to earn commission through sales of a halal product; it would be permissible for a person to adopt a secondary non-Muslim “stage name” out of necessity for doing business with people who might be averse to doing business with Muslims, or people of other cultures. Again, this is not advised unless one truly feels that many otherwise halal sales will be lost merely for using one’s real Muslim name. One suggestion is to adopt a stage name that has both Islamic and non-Muslim usage such as Adam. Since we are all descendants of Adam (alayhi salaam), it would sort of suffice as a kind of surname as well, albeit a very far distant surname.
Note: The answer is in accordance to the Hanafi Madhab.