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Buying a Computer by Installments

Answered as per Maliki Fiqh by BinBayyah.net

Greetings. I need your opinion on a matter that worries me a lot. I work as a maintenance technician, and I want to buy a computer to help me in my work, but I do not have enough cash, as my salary is not enough and I am already repaying a debt. So, I am thinking of buying it by installments, but this means I will pay more than its current price. Is this extra sum a form of usury if both parties (the seller and I) are accepting this?

Another point: I want a standard definition for usury, to apply it to different cases I come across in my life. For example, I want to furnish my home to get married, but I cannot afford this in cash, and no furniture seller would accept to sell something by installments at the same original price. I am also thinking of taking a bank loan to start my own business, build a house for marriage, etc. Kindly clarify the ruling to me soon on the urgent question of buying a computer. May Allah reward you with good.


The question includes three points, as follows:

1. Purchasing a computer by installments that cover the price and an interest margin: This sale is permissible, and there is no impediment to it in Shari`ah, as judged by majority of Muslim scholars. Allah says, {But Allah permits commerce and forbids usury}. In deferred sale, there is no difference between delaying the whole payment and paying it in installments.

2. Definition of usury: Usury have several types, as `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said. Scholars differed on whether it refers to “every invalid sale” or “any interest charged on loans (Riba An-Nasi’ah) or the extra value incurred when exchanging two things of the same kinds (Riba Al-Fadl). The most common type of usury these days is the interests charged on bank loans, by which the principal generates an extra with no goods or services transacted in between, which is impermissible in Shari`ah. This also answers your third question about your intention to borrow an interest-laden sum of money from a bank.


This answer was collected from BinBayyah.net, which contains of feature articles and fatawa by world renowned ‘Alim, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, from Mauritania.

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