Can we pay our traffic fines with interest money?
It is impermissible to give or receive interest. It clearly comes in a Hadith:
“The Prophet (sallallahu Alayhi wasallam) has cursed those who are involved in usury; whether it is by receiving it, giving it, recording it in writing, or witnessing to it.” (Sahih Muslim, 2/27)
However, if one already has interest funds, he should dispose of it by giving it back to the person he received it from. If that is not possible, he should give it in charity, without the hope of reward.
It will not be permissible to pay traffic fines with interest money since they are not oppressive. Traffic laws are put into place for one’s own safety and it is only by breaking those laws that one is subjected to a monetary fine and penalty. At the time of applying for and obtaining a driver’s licence, in principle, one indirectly pledges to obey the traffic laws. When a contravention of a traffic Law takes place and one is charged a fine, one has the option of either admitting guilt by paying the fine, or facing prosecution with a jail term. The essence of the traffic fine is then a form of ransom money for deliverance from an impending jail term. Thus, by paying the fine, one is deriving the benefit of being saved from going to jail. Furthermore, According to Imam Abu Yusuf (may Allah have mercy on him) and most of the contemporary jurists to impose “Ta’zeer bil Maal” (monetary fine) is permissible,(Islamic Finance, Mufti Taqi Usmani, Page 134-135)
In light of the above, interest money cannot be used to pay traffic fines as one would be indirectly benefitting from Haraam funds. Certain heavy taxes imposed unjustly by governments would however, fall under the ambit of oppression.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)