How Should I Compensate for Interest I Paid?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I recently paid my credit card debt in full, alhamdulillah. I am supposed to determine the total amount I paid in interest over the years and pay this amount to charity as an expense. Please clarify if this is correct and elaborate on how one may erase this wrongdoing through good deeds.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Giving money to fix interest-based transactions is usually recommended when one receives interest, in which case one needs to dispose of the unlawful income appropriately. If you paid interest, there is no unlawful income in your hands to dispose of, and there is no specific penalty to pay in place of this; Allah knows best.

Severity of Interest

Indeed, engaging in transactions that involve the payment of interest (riba) is prohibited in Islam, as clearly stated in the Quran and Sunna.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Avoid the seven destructive sins.” People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What are they?” He said, “…consuming usury (interest)…” [Bukhari]. Your desire to expiate for the interest paid indicates a sincere repentance and a wish to purify your wealth.


It is essential to note that the primary aspect of repentance (tawba) is turning back to Allah (Most High) in sincere remorse for the sin committed, resolving not to return to the sin, and taking immediate steps to rectify the wrongdoing where possible.

In terms of ‘erasing’ this wrongdoing through good deeds, Allah’s Mercy is vast, and He promises to replace sins with good deeds for those who repent sincerely.

Allah says: “Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” [Quran 25:70].

Engaging in voluntary acts of worship, increasing in good deeds, and continuously seeking knowledge are ways to draw closer to Allah and enhance one’s spiritual state.

It is also beneficial to engage in regular charity (sadaqa), fasting, prayer, and seeking knowledge to increase in righteousness and compensate for past shortcomings. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Follow up a bad deed with a good deed to cancel it out.” [Tirmidhi].

May Allah accept your repentance, purify your wealth and heart, and guide you to that which is pleasing to Him.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.