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Imam who says taking interest is ok in Fiji

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.org.au
Regarding the local institution (MADRASA) which promotes the fatwa that the interest is permissible. We would like to clear our doubts:

  1. We have those muftis from that institution who come, stay and lead taraweeh prayers especially for the purpose of completing the Quran during ramadhan at our masjid. Point to be noted we have our own imam at the masjid who is not a Quran hafiz. Knowingly these mufti’s support this fatwa, is it permitted for them to be leading our prayers?
  2. Can you explain the difference if during the month of ramadhan the Holy Quran is completed during taraweeh and another instance where it is not completed during taraweeh. Is there difference in reward?
  3.  Is it a sin if Holy Quran is not completed in taraweeh prayers?
  4. During tawareeh the recitation of holy quran is at a very fast pace. Is this permissible since there is a chance that there may be some mis pronunciation?
  5. Is it permissible for us to give zakaat to this kind of institution which allow interest?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Jazakallah for writing to us.

1) We are quite sure that the muftis you are referring to do not say that interest is unconditionally allowed, as no Muslim — let alone a mufti — will say that. The prohibition of interest in the Holy Quran and in the Prophetic Ahaadith is as clear as daylight.

Most probably, the muftis you are referring to are of the view that taking interest money from the non-Muslims is permissible in Fiji. This view of theirs is based on the view of some jurists that taking interest money from the non-Muslims is permissible in a ‘Darul Harb’.

However, there are three points worthy of noting here:

  • Firstly, the overwhelming majority of the jurists are of the view that taking interest money is forbidden whether it is taken from a Muslim or a non-Muslim and whether it is in a Muslim country or in a ‘Darul Harb’. Although Imam Abu Hanifah has allowed interest in a ‘Darul Harb’ with certain conditions, yet this view has not been approved by the majority of jurists, including a large number of Hanafi jurists themselves. In the early days of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), many Muslims used to enter into interest based transactions, but when interest was prohibited, they stopped this practice totally. The verses of the Quran which prohibited interest did not differentiate between a Muslim and non-Muslim. Similarly there is no example in the days of the Sahabah where any one of the Sahabah entered into a interest bearing transaction with a non-Muslim after the prohibition was enforced. (See:  Contemporary Fatawa: pg 198)

  • Secondly, it is not correct to classify Fiji and other countries where Muslims are allowed to freely practice Islam as ‘Darul Harb’; it is more appropriate to classify such countries as ‘Darul Amn’ (For details see: Qamoos Al-Fiqh: 3/395-404).
  • Thirdly, very severe warnings have been mentioned in the Holy Quran and the ahaadith for engaging in interest bearing loans and transactions (click here to read some of those verses and ahaadith). These verses of the Holy Quran and ahaadith of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) demand that one be very cautious in this regards.

Therefore, it is not correct to say that taking interest money from non-Muslims is permissible in Fiji. Hazrat Mufti Ebrahim Desai sahib (Daamatul Barakaatuhum) made this issue clear when he visited Fiji a few years ago.

Therefore, the view of those muftis who say that taking interest money from the non-Muslims is permissible in Fiji is incorrect. However, that does not mean that one should not allow those muftis to lead prayers, and nor does it mean that one should disrespect them in any way.

In short, it is permissible for you to let those muftis lead the Tarawih prayer.

2) Yes, there is more reward in completing the entire Quran in Tarawih, as completing the entire Quran once in Tarawih is an important Sunnah that has been practised by the Muslims throughout the centuries.

3) As mentioned above, completing the entire Quran is Sunnah and it should not be abandoned. However, if finishing the entire Quran will deter the local people from coming to the masjid, then in this case it will be permissible to recite short Surahs or verses so that people do not stop coming to the masjid and offering Tarawih prayer. To not complete the entire Quran will not be sinful in this case; however, the people will miss out on the reward of completing the entire Quran in Tarawih. (Raddul Muhtaar: 2/46)

4) The recitation of the Quran in Tarawih prayer is normally done at a faster pace than in other prayers. Nonetheless, the imam should not recite so fast that he is unable to pronounce the words correctly. If the imam does recite so fast that he cannot pronounce the words properly, it will not be permissible for him to lead the prayer. However, only a person who himself knows the rules of Tajweed properly can decide whether the imam is reciting the Quran correctly or not.

5) If the institution is reliable and it hands over the Zakat money to eligible recipients of Zakat, it will be permissible to give one’s Zakat money to the institution.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Faizal Riza
30/9/2011

This answer was collected from Fatwa.org.au, which is connected to Darul Ifta Australia, based in Melbourne, Australia.
It is operated by Mufti Faizal Riza, a student of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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