Investing in advertising companies


If the income of a company is mainly from advertising (like Facebook and Alphabet), it is impossible to assess whether the haram advertisements are >5% of the revenue or not. How do we address the compliance of companies like these? (Same goes with Netflix and its some of its licensed content, Amazon with its alcoholic and non-permissible sales, etc.)

Wa alaykum salaam,

There is a debate among scholars on the Shariah compliance of companies which generate revenue from facilitating advertising of Shariah compliant and non compliant ads.

Some scholars are of the view that such income is lawful since the company is merely providing the digital space and it is the client which puts non compliant ads. I am of this view.

Other scholars are of the view that it is not permissible since they are providing the facility.

I would encourage using a Shariah screening app and trade according to one of the accepted shariah screening criteria.

Allah knows best

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Thanks for replying,

Zoya said it’s questionable so I thought of asking.

I have one more question if you don’t mind, does your view also include Netflix, Amazon (amazon video prime) and spotify too? As in this case, they may license some content that may be impermissible (even though the user really decide what to watch), or is your view only for companies that facilitate advertising?

So in conclusion, shall we only look at the important service that they may provide (video streaming, audio playing etc.) or do we need to dig deep into the content they license too (which I think is very hard to figure whether its more haram than halal or vice versa).

There is a difference in merely advertising and those streaming content. The latter is far more selective and has much involvement. Further, Netflix are not just advertising, they create content.

I would restrict advertising notion to those companies only advertising. My view is ONLY for advertising companies which give everyone an equal right to advertise without giving any preference or without being selective. So Amazon prime, Netflix licence content and develop content, many of which is problematic and not Shariah compliant.

Allah knows best

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Aha that makes a lot of sense, thank you so much!

I got one very last question which is related to the topic if you don’t mind.

How about Spotify, which doesn’t create content (as far as I know) yet there’s probably many songs that are not shariah-compliant. Is it closer to advertising agencies (like google or facebook) or streaming content (like netflix and amazon video prime)?


Thanks in advance.

I have not done a thorough review of how Spotify operates, but it seems beyond just connecting people, it houses content and gives access to that content. If that is the case, I would recommend that investment in it avoided as there is a medium Shariah non compliance risk here.

Allah knows best