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Questions on Halal Living: Riba, Usury, and Excess in Eating and Drinking

Q: I am a Muslim that reverted back to Islam and have some questions that may aid me in being able to get on with my life. I can no longer pay rent on my housing association rented flat. A housing association staff member told me that they are going to deliver a letter asking for a payment and that after they have given me the letter I will then have 14 days to pay them some money and the member of staff told me if I do not pay them anything by the end of the 14 days they will then want to evict me from the flat.

I ask if you will answer the questions I have typed below. If you answer any of them, please can you give answers that include proofs from the Qur’an and also explain the reasoning behind any answers given, – I want to be sure that I live a halal life and that I do not have any doubts or annoyance of Shaitans whispers telling me that I am or might be committing a sin (when I am not even committing a sin) or telling me I have been given mistakenly false information about what is/isn’t a sin (when the information I have been given is good information)


  1. What is your definition of cooperating in someone’s sin and transgression?
  2. What is your definition of riba?
  3. If every £pound that was made, was made and given in an agreement that agreed that the cost of making the pound and also an amount of (harem) interest would be charged for the pound, would that in your opinion mean that all £pounds would be haram to use?
  4. If these £pounds were haram, would it also mean in your opinion that using these types of pounds, would be cooperating in the sin and transgression of the £pound monetary system?
  5. If the £pound monetary system was made/designed to cripple/entrap the public/world into being slaves/weakened/controlled -in your opinion would that mean that using the £pound monetary system that would be aimed at making the public suffer be cooperating in the £pound monetary system makers/enforcers sin and transgression?
  6. In your opinion Would it be haram to trade in casino chips, if you was not gambling? (i.e. someone gives a shop keeper £10s worth of casino chips to pay for his shopping and the shop keeper then gives a different (agreeable) customer £10 in casino chips as change)
  7. What is your definition of usury?
  8. In your opinion is it only halal for us to charge for are physical/mental labour? (i.e. the labour of building a wall, the labour of giving a speech, the labour of thinking of a design/idea)
  9. Also I was wondering about eating and drinking. Does Allah dislike us to eat and drink in excess? if someone could survive from eating maybe 2-3 handfuls of food and a small bottle of water each day, would eating and drinking more than that be an excess  -would we be able to rely on Allah for energy?

I remember hearing someone talk about someone that was pious and the person that was telling me about this pious boy said something like: when he drank water you could see the water travelling down his throat, he consumed little to please Allah…

Should we try to follow the NHS recommended daily intake guidelines who suggest about 2500 calories for males per day, 2.5 litres of fluid a day (from drinks and from food) and recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day an amount of Vitamins and minerals from food etc. or would what the NHS say be an atheist environment type of view and be an excess amount of food/fluid?

I remember in an Islamic educational event about the sole, the Sheikh said their was a man who said he can live without food/water and that tests were done to see if he was truthful and he appeared to go without food and water for the amount of time they isolated him.



  1. Co-operating in sin or transgression entails one’s promoting, supporting, assisting, being the means or facilitating the sin.
  2. In Shariah, riba refers to an excess in exchange of a deferred payment or an excess in wealth or benefit which is conditioned in the business transaction and is not in lieu of anything. At times the condition is not explicit, however it is understood through the ‘urf’ (i.e. the usage). Similarly in Shariah the fuqaha regard the profit acquired through un-Islamic means in the law of riba e.g. the profit acquired through an invalid business transaction i.e. bai’ e faasid.
  3. Since the commoner has no connection and link with those who produce the currencies, they will not be accountable.
  4. As above.
  5. Utilizing the pounds for one’ personal worldly and deeni needs and requirements is permissible. The layman will not be  accountable for the wrong intentions of others.
  6. Since you are promoting and facilitating the sin of gambling, it will be impermissible.
  7. Riba and usury are synonymous.
  8. It is permissible to charge a fee for any valid service. 
  9. Each person’s physical needs vary from the other. One should consume that amount of food to the extent that one’s body requires.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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