Is It Permissible to Open a Cyber Lounge?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat answers the question if it is permissible for Muslims to open a cyber lounge as a business.

 

Question:

Peace upon all of you with God’s mercy and blessings.

I am trying to make better decisions in life and improve myself. I recently rented a store with a friend and been thinking about making it a cyber lounge located in California, where people can come and play videos games or surf the internet, repair computers, have some drinks(not alcohol)/snacks and socialize. I understand video gaming can be addicting and cause disconnect from reality if played for long hours, at the same time I think it’s fine to have some entertainment for 2-3 hours a day so video games wouldn’t be harming in that manner and I might be wrong. Another thing is that video games nowadays are turning into a sport, I don’t know what to make of that, those players game as if it’s a regular job, I used to be one of them, nowadays I play a few hours a week for entertainment or don’t play at all.

From my own experience, I definitely see the negatives from gaming for long hours in my self and with others and will not argue with it, at the same time I can see some positives from it. For example, when I used to go to cyber lounges as a kid, I made a lot of friends, we socialized, we started doing outside activities and sports together and plan recreational trips, we prayed together (not extensively but at least we tried), some video games make the brain think like chess players or even better especially strategy games, people play chess and no one says it’s “BAD” and its still considered a game, some video games are similar and could require even more strategic planning than chess because there are a lot more options to think about than chess has so why is chess fine if someone plays it for long hours and no one talks about it?

I want the work that I do in this life to be beneficial for people, the after life, and of course acceptable by God.

I appreciate any help you can provide on this subject and your time for reading my question.

 

Answer:

Wa ‘alatkum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Assisting in Sin

It is permissible for you to pursue this project. Essentially you will be charging people for using the facilities you provide. what they do is their choice – so you would not be assisting in sin. (Salah Abu all Hajj, al Bayan). If, however, you do see someone accessing inappropriate content, or playing a game with such content you should address it.

Helping Others Do Good

Having said that, it would be a tremendous act of service to your community if you made the place a haven from the societal problems the youth – especially young men – are faced with. Make the establishment a place where they can come to relax, avoid bad company and activities, and socialise in general.

Don’t allow any drugs, smoking, or other impermissible activities to take place there. Provide an ample prayer area, wudu facilities, and activities for the youth to engage in. Many of the youth simply don’t have anywhere to go to hang out with their friends – and if their is such a place it usually has many bad influences there.

You could also co-ordinate with local scholars and have some open Q&A sessions, or something else which engages people. Doing so would be a great help to your community, and an act of charity for yourself.

Other Avenues Of Helping People

Look for other means to help people, and see if you can incorporate that into the project. How about using part of the building to run MMA or Archery classes? If need be you could try and get the community to subsidise what you do. The need is there, and if you ask Allah and make a sincere intention to please Him and serve the umma of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, you’ll see the fruits.

May Allah facilitate all matters which please Him for you.

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Receiving Funding from a Commercial Bank

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about receiving start-up funding from a bank that deals in riba.

I am a revert to Islam doing my Bachelor’s in Computer Science and have been given a project in my field of study by a start-up (let’s call it X). X works in the domain of Computer Science. The owner of X is told that if you complete this project, we may get you funds to start your own company.

X is funded by a bank and, Insha Allah, if I am able to complete the project and be able to start my company, which would be of course dealing with Computer Science, then it will also be funded by the same bank dealing in riba.

Is it permissible for me to go for that startup even if my company-to-be will be doing halal work but will be funded by a riba-earning bank?

Jazak Allah khayr for answering.

Yes, it is permitted to accept funding and remuneration from a conventional bank, particularly when it is an institution which isn’t required to follow the dictates of the Sacred Law (shari‘a).

Among the primary sources of capital for a bank is the cash deposited by its customers. Common interest payments or usurious transactions (riba) would normally form only a portion of the money a bank has at its disposal.

Normally, two matters would dictate the permissibility of employment: (a) the line of work itself, and (b) the source of remuneration. When both matters are acceptable, the line of work is deemed lawful.

(Mufti Taqi Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘: 2.1027/1033)

Please also see Bank Employment When is it Permissible? and Is It Permissible to Work on the Projects of a Riba (Usury) Based Bank? and Working for a Company Providing IT Solutions in Un-Islamic Markets.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Is Margin Trading Permissible?

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers a question on the legality of margin trading.

Can you please confirm if margin trading is permissible? This is where you predict if the market will go up or down by using leverage positions.

Thank You.

I pray you are well.

Margin trading is not permissible for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it entails entering into a interest-bearing contract with the broker. “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, cursed the one takes interest, the one who gives it, the one who writes [the contract], and those who witnesses it.” (Muslim)

Also, the use of leverage positions, as done in Forex, is problematic as this process uses instruments, such as options and futures, which fundamentally contradict the nature of a sound, Shari‘a-complaint contract. (Mufti Taqi Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyuʿ).

It is better to ask Allah to open the doors of halal provision for you; you’ll be saved from the problems that rain down on people to deal with interest.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Diya for Car Accident Resulting in Death

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about paying blood money and expiation due to the accidental death of someone.

If a Muslim is involved in a traffic collision which results in the death of an individual is he liable for diya and kaffara?

Usually, if a person unintentionally kills another, he is expected to pay the blood money (diya) and perform the expiation (kaffara). The former would commonly be paid with assistance from family members (‘aqila) over a period of time. However, there is some detail here depending on the nature of the accident, who did it and where it occurred.

Allah Most High says: “It is not lawful for a believer to kill another except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer unintentionally must free a believing slave and pay blood-money to the victim’s family – unless they waive it charitably…” and towards the end of the verse, “Those who are unable, let them fast two consecutive months – as a means of repentance to Allah.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:92)

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, I’d suggest consulting a local, reliable scholar with the specifics of the situation.

(Usmani, Buhuth fi Qadaya al-Fiqhiyya al-Mu‘asira (1.297); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta‘lil al-Mukhtar)

Please also see The Punishment for Murder: Reconciling Verses 4:93 and 4:116.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam, Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Working in Car Dealership That Offers Financing

Ustadh Salman Younas answers a question on the permissibility of working for a car dealership that at times offers financing for purchases.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I had a question regarding working in a car dealership. I would be selling cars and earn base salary plus commission. The people buying the cars may pay all cash, or may finance and sometimes it is zero percent interest. But sometimes they have to pay interest, even though I believe it is not as often as zero percent financing. Please let me know insha Allah.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Generally, the job of selling cars as an agent would be permitted. Thus, the money you earn from your work in a car dealership would be licit specifically when the majority of income the company is earning is through permissible means.

The major issue with your working in a car dealership is the assistance you may have to provide for obtaining an interest-based loan. This would include overseeing the signing of the contract, filling it out, signing it, and so forth.

As Mufti Taqi Usmani states, this would not be permitted and would fall under the hadith where the Prophet, blessings upon him, strongly rebukes not only the receiver and giver of interest, but also the one “who has written the interest.”

As such, this element of your job must be avoided. You may, for example, ask someone else to do such paperwork. If you cannot avoid it, you should try and seek work that will not have you engaged in such interest-based dealings. This does not have to be done immediately.

You can continue working in your current job until you find a reasonable alternative. But you should seek God’s forgiveness and hate the interest-based nature of the work in your heart.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Are Chit Funds Allowed in Islam?

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked whether chit funds, the practice of pooling money and deciding who should receive the funds by lot, is permissible.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I want to know if chit funds are allowed in Islam. I’m referring to a chit fund where a group of people pool in a certain fixed amount of money every month and each month one of them is picked to receive the money that’s collected in a lump sum. The one to receive the money each month is selected by drawing lots.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

This would be permitted if there is no subtraction in the amount of the lump sum that is to be given to the individual whose name is drawn.

If a subtraction is made in order to pay a fee to the organizer or to distribute as commission among members, this would be akin to interest and impermissible. The rulings of interest apply because a chit fund is partly a borrowing scheme where some members act as creditors and others as debtors.

(Khalid Rahmani, Jadid Fiqhi Masa’il; Aziz Ahmad Qasmi, Chit Fund ke Islami Ahkam)

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


What Is The Ruling of Intellectual Property Rights?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

What is the ruling of intellectual property rights?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Intellectual property is a legally recognised right afforded to the respective authors or inventors. This is the conclusion of many individual, senior contemporary jurists and also various fiqh academies from across the Muslim world. Accordingly, it isn’t permissible to infringe or violate it, particularly when it goes against the laws of the land, and doing so would be a form of theft.

[Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘ (1.275); Ahdash, Copyright in Islamic Law]

Please also see: Are Copyrights Valid As It Relates to Islamic Content That Benefits Muslims, or Can We Freely Download and Share It? and: Does Copyright Law Violate Islamic Ownership Rights By Denying the Right to Freely Pass on Or Sell Your Property?

And Allah Most High knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Are House Mortgages Permissible?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Are house mortgages permissible?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Generally, mortgages from conventional, usurious banks are going to be impermissible as they stipulate the kind of increase in a loan contract which was expressly prohibited in the Qur’an.

Allah Most High says, “O believers! Fear Allah, and give up outstanding interest if you are true believers. If you do not, then beware of a war with Allah and His Messenger! But if you repent, you may retain your principal. Do no wrong and you will not be wronged.” [2.278-279]

Accordingly, you should strive to seek out a permitted alternative, ideally from an institution or bank which has a certifying board of qualified experts.

[AAOIFI Shari‘ah Standards (518); Ghawji, Kashf Shubuhat man za‘ama Hill Arbah al-Qurud al-Masrifiyya (26)]

Please also see: What Is the Difference Between a Mortgage and a Rent-To-Own? and: Are Islamic Mortgages Really Different From Conventional Mortgages? and: Debt: How It Destroys Lives, How You Can Fight It

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Is It Permissible to Purchase Cat Food?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is it permissible to purchase cat food?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam

I pray you are well.

Yes, it is permissible to purchase cat food and feed it to a pet cat, even if it contains unslaughtered meat. Usually, it is impermissible to buy unslaughtered meat and impure items, however, there is a clear benefit in this case so it would be permissible. This is akin to a farmer buying manure, which is technically impure. (Fiqh al-Buyuʿ).

May Allah give you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

How to Avoid Usury When Exchanging Currencies?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I get paid at work in a foreign currency and I always have to convert my salary to our local currency. I am trying to ensure I am not engaged in usury so I am confused on what rate I should use for the conversion. Shall I use the rate I was paid in or shall I use the current rate that the bank is willing to change the currency for as at that day?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Exchanging the currencies of different countries does not entail riba, and it is generally permissible at any rate agreed upon by the two parties. However, in some countries there is a government-mandated exchange rate. If this is the case in your country, you would be obligated to exchange at that rate. This is because one must obey the laws of one’s country in all matters that are not contrary to Shariah. For details, please read the article below.

Trading in Currencies – by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Umer Mian