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Student Loans in the UK

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question: What is the ruling on student loans especially the British student loan system? What are the alternatives/practical ways to afford university?


Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Interest Is Forbidden

Thank you for your important question. It is a matter which has been discussed by many scholars in our time. The problem with the loan system – as it currently is – is the interest element. I am aware of the clause of the debt being wiped away if one does not earn over a particular threshold. It doesn’t affect the ruling.

The issue is that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) cursed the one who takes interest, the one who gives it, the one who documents the contract, and the one who is a witness to it. He said they are all the same, in sin, that is (Muslim). Entering into the contract is a problem, so the loans are not permissible.

Alternative Solutions

As it is, there are not many practical financing solutions. You could try borrowing from friends and family. Taking a year or two out to pay for a couple of years, and working during that period part-time to pay for the final year is also an option.

It might not sound easy, but if you try with the aim of pleasing Allah you’ll get a lot more coming back to you from Allah in the long term. This is something the Muslim community needs to work towards having a workable solution for.

Failing this, you could enroll in a program that is subsidized or paid for, such as various NHS funded courses. Or maybe the University will accommodate a payment plan.

Banu Isra’il and the Sabbath Test

“Ask them about the city by the sea, when they transgressed the Sabbath at a time when the fish would come openly on the Sabbath, but not on other days…” (Qur’an, 7:163) This is verse a dear friend of mine referenced when I asked him what he would do about his son’s higher education.

He saw this situation as being similar to what Banu Isra’il faced – except that they were tested like this due to their constant rebellion. The similarity is that a haram option exists and it is easy to take, but it leads to problems. I know a number of people who were afflicted with problems in their life after taking out such loans.

In the end, he and his son decided that it would be better for him to apply for an apprenticeship. This is a viable option. It can lead to a good career, and you get paid whilst learning. It might not be the same as studying in a university, but it will, at least, lead to a guaranteed job.

See it as the test it is, and pray an istikhara. Ask Allah for the best course in your life – one that will enrich you in this life and the next. May Allah facilitate the matter for you.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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