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Am I Sinful to Live With a Husband Who Is Not Concerned With Avoiding Usury?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: My husband does not listen to my financial advice and we have to pay interest every month. For him it is not a problem and discussing this issue makes him very angry. What is my religious responsibility in this situation as I have to use his credit card? Should I get a job to avoid these issues despite having kids?

Answer: As-salam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The essential problem here is that your husband does not appear to take riba (usury) seriously and regard it as the grave sin that it is. Riba (usury) has been clearly and explicitly prohibited in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Holy Qur’an has declared war on those who do not abstain from this grave sin. Regarding this, the scholars point out that of all types of sins and sinners, only two people have a declaration of war from Allah: the one involved with riba (as in the verse below) and the one who harms a wali (friend) of Allah.

Allah Most High says:

“Those who swallow usury cannot rise up save as he arises whom the devil has prostrated by (his) touch. That is because they say: Trade is just like usury; whereas Allah permitted trading and forbidden usury. He unto whom an admonition from his Lord comes, and (he) refrains (in obedience thereto), he shall keep (the profits of) that which is past, and his affair (henceforth) is with Allah. As for him who returns (to usury) – Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.

Allah has blighted usury and made charity fruitful. Allah loves not the impious and guilty.

Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah, and give up what remains (due to you) from usury, if ye are (in truth) believers.

And if ye do not, then be warned of war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger. And if ye repent, then ye have your principal (without interest). Wrong not, and ye shall not be wronged.” [Qur’an, 2.275-279]

The scholars of Qur’anic interpretation, such as Imam Alusi (Allah have mercy on him) have explained ‘Allah has blighted usury,’ as meaning that Allah, “Removes all baraka (blessing) from it, and destroys the wealth of the one who enters into it.” [Alusi, Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani, 3.51]

Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Usurious money, even if much, becomes paltry in the end.” [Ahmad, Ibn Maja, and Hakim, with a rigorously authentic chain of transmission].

Abdullah bin Handhalah (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “A single coin of usury taken by a person knowingly (i.e. knowing it to be usurious) is worse than committing adultery 36 times.” [Ahmad, al-Daraqutni, and al-Bayhaqi].

Therefore, you should continue to attempt to convince your husband to avoid riba and avoid the means that lead to it (e.g. spending beyond one’s means). In doing so, you should use wisdom and good manners. Depending on the situation, this may entail remaining silent about the issue of riba itself, while you gently encourage your husband to improve spiritually, increase in sacred knowledge, and draw nearer to Allah. When this begins to happen, your husband will naturally incline towards eliminating the haram from your lives. Also, you may want to consider enlisting the help of someone who has influence over your husband such as his parent, sibling, community leader, or religious scholar.

With regards to you working, you should know that the sacred law places full responsibility for financial support of the wife and children upon the husband. A husband cannot force his wife to work outside the home, and she does not have to obey him if he commands her to do so. For further details, please read Shaykh Nuh Keller’s article “What is the meaning of qawwamuna as used in Surat al-Nisa’, verse 34?,” available at Masud.co.uk. Furthermore, Abdullah bin Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Women are the overseers of their husbands’ households and children, and they are responsible for them” [Bukhari and Muslim]. In light of this, if you feel that working outside the home and leaving the children at daycare would cause them worldly or spiritual harm, then it would be wrong to do so. This is because it entails leaving your responsibility (i.e. safeguarding the children) for something that is not your responsibility (i.e. working outside the home). Furthermore, perhaps if you went to work and earned additional income it would only lead to a commensurate increase in spending (as is often the case in our time), and the household would still require usurious credit to cover the expenses. Hence, you should focus on rectifying the root cause of the problem, which is your husband’s lack of concern for the grave sin of riba.

Finally, after taking all worldly means to resolve this situation, you should not forget the greatest means of all: turning to Allah, the One who brings ease after hardship. This can be done by increasing in all forms of worship such as prayer, dhikr, fasting, giving sadaqah (charity), etc. In particular, prayer and supplication in the last third of the night is one of the greatest means for one’s requests to be answered. Also, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us to make the prayer of need (salah al-hajah) for any worldly or other-worldly need that we have. The prayer of need is very simple: It is essentially to raise one’s need to Allah Most High, by performing ritual ablution (wudu), praying 2 rakats (or four), and then making whole-hearted dua to Allah. Any dua is acceptable, but duas that have been transmitted in the Sunnah are best. The dua which has been specifically transmitted in relation to the prayer of need (as recorded by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) is as follows:

لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ


الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلامَةَ مِنْ كُلّ إِثْمٍ
لا تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلا غَفَرْتَهُ وَلا هَمًّا إِلا فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلا حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلا قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ

There there no god but Allah the Clement and Wise.
There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty.
Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin.
Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!”

Wassalam,

Umer

Photo: B Rosen

Are Rewards Programs Offered by Credit Cards Permissible?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What is the ruling on a business setting up a loyalty program whereby customers earn points for each order they make?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Loyalty programs such as what you have described are similar to rewards programs offered by many credit cards nowadays. The scholars are explicit that such rewards programs are permissible. See the answer below given by Mufti Taqi Usmani, a world-renowned Islamic legal scholar.

Rewards on Use of Credit Card
By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Q.) When using credit cards, some banks give bonus miles or bonus points for purchases and some other benefits. Please clarify it if we can use it. Every month I pay off the total of account without paying an extra cent of interest.

A.) If a Credit Card is used for purchases and the bills are paid promptly without requiring to pay interest on late payment, it is permissible and the benefits given by the Credit Card Company as rewards can be availed of. It is not impermissible to benefit from such rewards.

Source

Wassalam.
Umer Mian

Debt: How It Destroys Lives, How You Can Fight It

RizqwiseThe good folks at Rizqwise have a very worthy multi-part series on debt that you should really listen to.
If you haven’t got the time, this concluding episode is not to be missed. Rizqwise speak to Rehan Huda, a prominent investment banker and leading authority in Islamic Finance, about some of the key lessons we can learn from the long history of debt.
Don’t forget to subscribe to their email newsletter to stay up to date.

Debt: The Full Rizqwise Series

  • How Debt Destroys Lives, Communities, and Civilizations
    Duration: 53:11
  • How to Stay Out of Debt (For Good)
    Duration: 33:58
  • Ask Risqwise: Is investing in the stock market risky?
    Duration: 27:51
  • How to Get Back on Track With Your Debt Elimination Plan
    Duration: 29:16
  • 5 Tips to Stay Motivated While Paying Off Debt
    Duration: 29:09
  • Ask Rizqwise: Should I pay off loans before investing?
    Duration: 18:45
  • Avalanche vs Snowball: Two Very Different Ways to Pay Off Debt
    Duration: 29:51
  • Ask Rizqwise: How do I go “all in” on debt?
    Duration: 26:14
  • How to Set Your Debt Free Date
    Duration: 27:31
  • The Critical First Step to Eliminating Debt Once and For All
    Duration: 20:18
  • Ask Rizqwise: Why Credit Cards Make You Spend More Money
    Duration: 20:58
  • The Great Debate: Active vs Passive Investing
    Duration: 29:21
  • Ask Rizqwise: Getting Married and Out of Debt
    Duration: 25:38

 

Resources for seekers:

 

Is It Permissible to Enter Into Contracts Involving Three Parties Such as Credit Card Agreements?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Question: I have been told that it is prohibited to have contracts that involve three parties. Examples are insurance and credit cards. So for instance, when you purchase something with a credit card it involves the buyer, the seller and the credit card company. Is this a valid opinion among any contemporary scholars?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

It is incorrect to assume that all contracts involving three parties are invalid and prohibited; rather, the permissibility or impermissibility of a contract depends on the actual terms and conditions upon which it is based.

According to the majority of the contemporary scholars (fuqaha), the usage of credit-cards is permitted provided the card-holder is sure he has the ability and will actually pay off the debt to the card-issuing company before any interest becomes due.

The relationship between the card-holder and the card-issuing company, from a juristic (fiqhi) point of view, has many ingredients. The relationship has an element of brokerage/agency (wakala), guarantying payment (kafala) and lending money (iqradh). The company undertakes and guarantees payment on behalf of the card-holder; hence this would form the relationship of Kafala. There is also a promise from the card-issuing company to give the card-holder a loan, and when the card-holder actually uses the card, the relationship of agency (wakala) and actual giving of loan comes into play. The company pays the seller on behalf of the card-holder; hence the company would be considered an agent on behalf of the card-holder, and also forwarding a loan to him.

All these three relationships (i.e. agency, guarantying payment, and giving of a loan) are permitted in Shariah, as mentioned in detail in the books of Fiqh. Thus, there is nothing that would make this contract unlawful.

As for the relationship between the card-holder and the seller of goods is concerned, contemporary scholars state that the relationship here would be that of the debtor passing on the responsibility of payment of his debt to a third party, known in Islamic jurisprudence as Hawala. Here, the card-holder passes the responsibility of paying for the goods to the card-issuing company. This transferring of responsibility comes into existence when the card-holder signs on the receipt of purchase. Hence, the seller would be obliged to take payment from the one to whom the buyer passed on the responsibility. This contract of Hawala is also permitted and discussed in detail in the various books of Fiqh.

Lastly, the relationship between the card-issuing company and the seller has been a matter of debate between the contemporary scholars. Some scholars had reservations on the usage of credit-cards due to the uncertainty of this relationship. However, as Shaykh Taqi Usmani and others have explained, this relationship is also one of agency, in that the issuing company acts on behalf of the seller also. The company has to do a lot of work for the benefit of the seller; hence it charges the seller commission for the service provided. Thus, the card-issuing company would be considered a broker and the amount charged by the company is like a commission charged for brokerage services. There is nothing wrong with this relationship also, neither is it unlawful for the company to charge the seller a commission in return of the service provided.

In conclusion, using a credit-card is permitted. The various relationships between the various parties are all Islamically legitimate, hence having more than two parties involved will not make its usage unlawful.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
http://www.daruliftaa.com/

Using Credit Cards & Reward Points

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Are credit cards permitted if you ensure to make payments on time and not incur interest? Also, is one allowed to accept points or cash back from credit cards?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

Contemporary scholars generally agree that it is permitted to use credit cards with the following conditions:

1. One has the firm resolve and ability to pay the amount before the accruing of interest; and

2. One is sure that one will actually pay it off before any interest becomes due. This means that one has the financial means to do so, and one’s habit and past experience shows that one will actually do so.

As for reward points, Mufti Taqi Usmani mentions:

“If a credit card is used for purchases and the bills are paid promptly without requiring to pay interest on late payment, it is permissible and the benefits given by the credit card company as rewards can be availed of. It is not impermissible to benefit from such rewards.” [www.albalagh.net; posted 10th February, 2002]

Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani.