Ruling on Dealing with Electronic Clearing

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the ruling of Sharia on dealing with the electronic clearing employed by banks nowadays?

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Electronic clearing is a process of exchanging information (Including data, images, codes and cheques) by electronic means through the clearinghouse at the Central Bank of Jordan, in addition to specifying the net balance of the accounts resulting from this process at a particular time.

These chequesare debts due on thecheque`spayer to the cheque`spayee. In this case, banks are deputized to collect debts through the clearinghouse run by the Central Bank. Electronic clearing is tantamount to presumptive encashment of the cheque collected by the payee`s bank from the payer`s.

Resolution No.(55/4/6) by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy stated:

“Some forms of presumptive encashment considerable by Sharia and custom are:

1-Bank charge of a certain sum in client account in the following cases:

A- Direct deposit or a bank draft.

B-An immediate stock exchange contract between the client and the bank in case the latter purchased currency in the favor of the former.

C- The bank-upon request of the client-deducting a certain sum from his account and placing it in another with a different currency, in the same bank or else and in favor of the client or another beneficiary. It is imperative that banks consider the rulings of the exchange contract in light of Islamic laws. It is excused to defer the bank charge to the extent with which the beneficiary is able to actually receive the sum within the customary timelines. However, it is impermissible for the beneficiary to dispose of the currency during the excused period i.e. he can dispose of the currency after the excused period, and the sum must go into the account of both parties.

2-Reception of the cheque that has a drawable balance and in the currency stipulated in the cheque upon its collection, but the bank sequestrated it.

In conclusion, electronic clearing is a system of collecting cheques from banks where hand-to-hand exchange isn`t a condition. Rather, in "Electronic transactions", it suffices to make transfers to accounts or to use any other method, which Sharia and customconsider as immediate rather than delayed payment.And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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