Can I Take an Interest-Based Loan to Stay Out of Prison?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

The court ordered me to pay high alimony money because of my ex-wife’s lies and deceit. I can’t pay now & she disagrees on installments. I’m the only earner in my family, and I support my parents and siblings. As I’m unable to pay, an arrest warrant has been issued against me and I cannot travel anywhere. My job is in danger as my ex will reach out to my workplace to inform them. No one can lend me this money and the country I live in only offers loans on interest. Considering this, can I take a loan on interest?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Indulging in interest is one of the most dangerous sins against Allah. Islam recognizes dire straits and facilitates permitted ways of escaping them. If you have exhausted all permissible means and can safely attest that you have no choice, you should indulge only according to the requirement, and Allah knows best.

How Grave is The Sin of Interest?

Allah says: “O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from Riba (from now onwards) if you are (really) believers.

And if you do not do it, then take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger, but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums).” [Quran, 2:278-279]

Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba, the one who pays it, the one who writes it down, and the two who witness it, and he said: “They are all the same.” [Muslim]

I pray this is of benefit.

[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.