Question: Is it considered usury or gambling to use a membership or discount card from which one gets points and discounts?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,
It is not impermissible to use rewards cards or discount cards. They do not entail usury as there is no exchange of money for money. Nor do they entail gambling as there is no risk involved. [Maydani, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
What is Usury?
Usury applies to transactions in which weighed or measured items are exchanged for like items in incongruous amounts. Likewise, this applies to the sale of money – whether it be gold for gold, silver for silver, one currency for the same currency – if one is given for the other in incongruous amounts.
[Maydani, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
Thus, the giving of discounts, points, or store benefits as an encouragement to make further purchases in that store does not share the above meanings.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is defined as a competitive action between two people in which the winner wins a monetary gain from the loser and vice versa. However, if the condition is one-sided it is not gambling. [Ibid.]
Thus, the discounts and benefits of a membership card do not entail the above meaning as there is no risk or chance involved.
I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences