Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
I have a mortgage where I pay interest. It is out of pure necessity. It is the only part of my life which I pay interest and I hate it but I have no other choice and I repent frequently and strive to pay off my mortgage as soon as possible. Am I still considered doing a major sin?
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
May Allāh bless you for your concern regarding the dīn (religion).
Allāh is the only Being that makes a decision regarding sins. I am in no position to judge whether you are sinful or not. That being said, it should be noted that interest based transactions are prohibited in Islam, through clear verses of the Qurʿān and teachings of the Messenger (peace and blessings upon him).
“Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one whom the Satan by his touch has driven to madness. That is because they say, “trade is like usury”, but Allāh has permitted trade and has forbidden usury. Allāh will deprive usury of all blessing, and will give increase for deeds of charity, for He does not like any ungrateful sinner.” (Qurʿān 2: 275 – 276)
Jābir (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported that the “Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings upon him) cursed the devourer of usury, its payer, its scribe and its two witnesses. He also said that they were equal (in sin)” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
You state your condition to be one of necessity.
The only situation where something can become permissible that is clearly forbidden by the Qurʿān is in the situation of life and death. This is why the Qurʿān tells us that pork becomes permissible in a scenario where one has nothing else to eat for survival. This permissibility of a general Qurʿānic prohibition is limited to the dire situation of life and death, as mentioned in the verses of the Qurʿān.
“He has forbidden you only the maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allāh (or has been slaughtered for idols, on which Allāh’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor trasgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allāh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Qurʿān 2:173)
If one has the option of renting or borrowing funds in a permissible way, that should be adopted.
My advice to you is to contact a reliable Islamic financial institution that has reputable Islamic scholars as a shari’ah advisory board, for your house mortgage [that meets Islamic transaction guidelines].
May Allāh ease you of your situation and grant success.
And Allāh Knows Best