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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

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 Audit Company Accounts in Which There Is Interest?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Is it permissible to audit company accounts in which there is interest? The auditor only checks the accounts and budgets. He does not write or partake in the interest transaction but only checks whether the accounts are correctly recorded. He is not present when the usury (riba )transaction is signed.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This would be permitted.

The prophetic tradition cursing the one who records an interest transaction refers to an individual who does so as an actual party to the transaction. The auditing you describe is simply recording an event retrospectively. This is the explanation provided by Mufti Taqi Usmani and others, which is supported by a number of classical texts commentating upon the tradition in question.

Therefore, as long as the primary business of the company an auditor works for is permissible, there would be no harm in auditing their accounts even if it involves recording such interest transactions.

Please see: Is It Permissible to Work on the Projects of a Riba (Usury) Based Bank?

Please see also: How to Avoid Riba (Usury): A Reader

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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

Can One Inherit Property Acquired Through Conventional Mortgage?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Can one inherit property acquired through conventional mortgage?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

Yes, one may inherit property acquired through conventional mortgage. There is nothing wrong or unlawful in the house itself. What was unlawful was the interest given in acquiring the house. The house itself is owned: it may be resided in or transferred to the ownership of another, whether by sale, inheritance or otherwise.

It is worth mentioning, though, that one cannot be party to assisting or requesting others to get a conventional mortgage for their or others’ benefit.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Answers on Riba (Interest)

Are Credit Card “Balance Transfer Fees” Halal?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I hope you are doing well. I have a question regarding the issue of balance transfers at 0% APR which are offered by some credit card companies in order to delay payments for up to 12 months. This is usually associated with a balance transfer fee of 3% or 5% on the amount of the balance which is transferred.

Is this type of transaction permissible, or does the balance transfer fee fall under the category of riba?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

A balance transfer fee is permissible as it is considered a fee for a service rendered, not interest.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Micro-finance Loans and Riba

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have been using a micro finance website to loan money to small home business owners without capital for business. What I have found recently is that the local micro finance company would charge the business person taking the loan anywhere from 15-25% on top of the original loan amount.

From shariah point of view is it okay for local micro finance company to charge extra to cover their expenses and get some profit on top of that?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

Such a transaction is unlawful, as the 15% markup is usury (riba). According to the Sacred Law (sharia), a loan should have no markup at all, but rather only the same amount lent is owed back upon the due date.

For the wisdom and rationale of the prohibition of riba, please see the following treatise by Mufti Taqi Usmani: http://www.albalagh.net/Islamic_economics/riba_judgement.shtml#Top

You may want to pay particular attention to the sections entitled: “Rationale of the Prohibition of Riba”, “Nature of Money”, “The Nature of Loan”, and “Overall Effects of Interest”.

It clarifies that according to Islam, money is not a commodity and hence no profit can be made off a loan. Moreover, the nature of a loan is that is an act of charity, not a commercial transaction. And finally, the harms of riba — to both individuals and societies — are serious, manifest, and very real. One need only reflect briefly over the current global financial crisis to appreciate the harms of riba.

And with respect to the impact of interest-based micro-loans on small-business debt, one can read about daily farmer suicides in India, which has been termed by the media as “India’s Micro-finance Suicide Epidemic.” This is a serious catastrophe and a social justice matter. Our community must not only abstain from such injustice, but also provide viable alternatives for these people, based on the prophetic way of mercy and justice.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by 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