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Can I Keep a Phone Bought with Haram Money?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

If I had bought a mobile phone with haram money in the past, do I actually have to sell the phone and then dispose of the money by giving it to charity? Or should I simply give the equal amount of money from my possession to charity? Does the phone remain haram to use forever?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, you may keep your phone as you are only required to return the portion of the unlawfully acquired wealth (mal khabith) to its rightful owner, or when not possible, to give the amount away in charity (sadaqa) without any expectation of reward.

The basis is that money acquired through unlawful means, such as theft, misappropriation, bribery or otherwise, is unlawful to use for your benefit. Allah Most High says, “You who believe, do not wrongfully consume each other’s wealth but trade by mutual consent.” [4:29]

If it is used in some manner, however, the specific amount would enter your dues (dhimma). The same would apply in the case that the unlawful wealth was mixed with your other wealth, except that here it would automatically fall into your dues.

Nevertheless, you need to repent for your wrong: the wrong of having taken another’s wealth without permission, and the wrong of having used it instead of returning it. Consider also giving something extra in charity by way of remorse because good deeds wipe out bad ones.

But remember that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.” [Ibn Majah] So be of good cheer, and have hope in your Ever-Merciful Lord.

[Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘ (2.992/1018); Kasani, Bada‘i al-Sana‘i; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya]

Please also see: Accepting Wealth from a Person Whose Wealth is Predominantly Unlawful and: How Do I Get Rid Of Haram Money? and: Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

And Allah Most High alone 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.

What Should I Do About Interest Charges From Banks Earned Before I Became Muslim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

I have several bank accounts with traditional interests. My parents opened my accounts before I became Muslim.
What should I do with this banking interests? Also I do not remember exactly the rates…

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

The money you earned before you were a Muslim is permissible for you as the rulings of the Sacred Law do not apply to non-Muslims.

Any misappropriated rights and debts, however, do need to repaid back to their rightful owners, as do unlawful earnings acquired after you became a Muslim.

Debts are serious matters, and this is why the scholars mention that returning a right is from the conditions of valid repentance.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to seek refuge from debts by saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge with you from care and sorrow, incapacity and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debt and being overcome by men.” [Bukhari]

Please also see: How Do I Get Rid Of Haram Money? and: Accepting Wealth from a Person Whose Wealth is Predominantly Unlawful and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Getting Rid of ‘Fixed Income’ Returns

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My wife became Muslim in May 2011. Her parents had opened up two investment accounts for her, a roth IRA and an Individual Investment account. They just recently transferred the accounts into her name. Upon examining it, I noticed that some of the mutual funds that they invested in were involved in “fixed income” hence riba. Please advise us on what to do. Thanks

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health states.

Simply estimate (to the best of your ability) the amount of interest received from the fixed income returns, and donate it to a good cause without deriving any personal benefit or expecting any reward.

Please see this related answer for more detail:

How Do I Get Rid of Haram Money?

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Get Rid Of Haram Money?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What is the ruling of keeping money in a savings account that receives interest? How do I get rid of such haram money?

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

There are a few important points here:

1. Giving and taking interest are both decisively impermissible in Islam. Similarly, it is impermissible to consume unlawfully-earned money.

2. Given this, the default is that it is impermissible to have any kinds of interest-bearing accounts. Many banks, however, do provide zero interest current accounts and may even agree to not add interest to your account if requested to do so.. If these options are available where you are, it would not be permissible to get an interest-bearing account, even “low interest.” However, because of the nature of things, the need to safeguard money, and the unavoidable need to engage in financial transactions, the jurists of our age have given a dispensation for low interest current accounts if the abovementioned type are not available.

3. When you deposit money in the bank, the money accrued from interest is not your property, Islamically. Similarly, unlawfully-earned money is not your rightful possession. The default would have been to actually return it to its rightful owners. When this is not possible to do, we are legally obliged to effectively return it to them by giving it away in charity, as the Hanafi scholars stipulate, so that even though their money does not go back to them its benefit does in the form of the charity given on their behalf.

It is only charity, however, with regards to the actual owners of the money. When you give this money away, you can only intend to get rid of unlawful filthy money from your holding, while repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness for disobeying Him in a matter He deems most hateful. To seek ‘good’ or reward when one gets rid of this money would be a serious sin in itself, the fuqaha tell us.

One may either give this money to those deserving of zakat (=the poor and needy), or to charities. There is nothing wrong or dubious with accepting this money, because the sin devolves back to the person who wrongful engaged in the unlawful transaction and not the actual money itself.

[Sources: al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha of al-Nahlawi, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar, with some details from questions asked of contemporary scholars]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani