Q. I closed an interest bearing account which accumulated interest. Can I keep the interest money and give it in charity after 3 Months?
A. The ruling regarding any Haraam wealth acquired including interest is that it must be returned to its original owner if possible. If it is not possible to return it to its original owner, it must be disposed off immediately and given in charity to poor and needy Muslims (zakat eligible recipients) or non-Muslims (equivalent to zakat eligible recipients) without the intention of reward.
The reason for disposing off Haraam wealth/interest immediately is to distance oneself from the earnings of such ill-gotten wealth and the wrath of Allah associated with it. The longer a person keeps Haraam/interest money in his/her possession, the more potential it has to bring harm to a person. (Shaami 6/385 – Nizaamul Fataawa 1/185)
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.