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1. Interest (Riba)

Q62: What is the ruling on depositing money in banks sponsored by Muslim and non-Muslim governments, with the stipulated condition of receiving interest?

A: Depositing in banks of non-Muslim countries is permissible in every case, even if it is under the stipulated condition of obtaining interest. As for depositing in government banks of Muslim countries under the stipulated condition of obtaining interest, then it is prohibited. But, if it is without this condition, then the issue is free of interest (riba) but it is not permissible to spend the acquired money without referring to al-hakim al-shar'i or his representative. (FM, p. 405)

Q63: Is there a difference here between the principal and interest which the banks (in Muslim countries) give to the depositor?

A: No, there is no difference between them. One is not permitted to spend from anything taken from government banks in Muslim countries except by referring to al-hakim al-shar'i or his representative. (FM, p. 405)

Q64: If I know that the bank will give me interest even without stipulating the conditions, is it permissible for me to deposit in a savings account that takes the form of a term-deposit?

A: Yes, it is permissible, as long as you do not stipulate the conditions of interest. (FM, p. 406)

Q65: Is it permissible to take interest from unbelievers, especially for those who live in their countries?

A: Yes, apparently one is allowed to take interest from the unbelievers, whose property is not honored. God knows best. (MMS, p. 27, Q49)

Q66: A national bank (in a Muslim country) offers a project to its clients in which a person deposits a sum of money in the order of 1,000 dirhams as a deposit which can be withdrawn at any time. It announces that after a period of time, a lottery will be drawn and the bank will grant a specific gift to the investors. Is it permissible to deposit with this intention?

A: Depositing with the condition of a gift is usury and therefore prohibited. By condition is meant to make the deposit with the requirement that the bank should give the gift. But the mere knowledge that the bank will grant it (gift) does not harm the permissibility of investing and the lawfulness of the granted gift. God knows best. (MMS, p. 36, Q76)

Q67: A person does not own a house to reside in. Is it permissible for him to borrow from government banks with interest for the purpose of building his own house?

A: It is not permissible to borrow with the condition of interest for any reason, but it is permissible to take the money from it (bank), though not with the intention of a loan, and to legitimize its spending by referring to al-hakim al-shar'i or his representative. (FM, pp. 406-7)

Credit Cards

Q68: Some banks distribute cards free of charge or for a defined price such that:

1. It is possible to withdraw any amount from the bank without interest except for service charges for the bank machine.

2. If he (user) delays repayment by a month, then he is charged interest under the title of "late payment" and similar items.

What is the ruling for this in the event where repayment is delayed or otherwise?

A: There is no objection to withdrawing the amount with the intention of "unknown owner" (majhul al-malik), and not as a loan; it can be corrected by obtaining permission as mentioned in response No. 69 (see next page). The person's knowing that the bank will demand repayment of the principal and interest does not impair this, and when the bank requests it (repayment), it should be made to it. (MMS, p. 31, Q61)

Q69: Do you not give your followers (muqallids) a general authorization to dispose of and deal with "unknown owner's" property, and other transactions in it, by taking possession of the money from government or jointly-owned (private and government) banks without having to refer to al-hakim al-shar'i or his representative to rectify it, for the ease and facility for the believers? May Allah support and honor you.

A: Yes, we have allowed the believers -- may they succeed in attaining the Exalted Allah's pleasure -- to accept, through legal means from government or jointly-owned institutions, by taking possession of it (property) on behalf of those commissioned among the poor with the intention of performing acts of charity upon them (the poor). Then, they (the believers) can own it for themselves. This applies to salaries and the like. As for interest and the like, they are allowed to own half of it along the lines outlined, on the condition that they give in charity (sadaqah) the other half to the religiously-devout poor. (MMS, pp. 32-33, Q65)

Buying and Selling Shares

Q70: What about buying and selling the shares of incorporated companies or others?

A: It is permissible to buy and sell shares of any kind of corporation on the condition that the transactions of this company do not engage in prohibited activities such as dealing in intoxicants or interest (riba). (FM, p. 408)

Insurance Policies

Q71: What about insurance policies for people on their life or for other unforeseen events or for properties such as airplanes, cars, ships, or for fire or drowning, etc?

A: All of them are valid and there is obligation on both parties. (FM, p. 409)

Copyright

Q72: If the phrase "rights of publication are reserved to the author or publisher" is written on some publications, is it obligatory to abide by the content of this phrase? And with the supposition that it is mandatory, is it permissible to print them (publications) if public welfare or religious betterment depends on it?

A: Abiding by it (the phrase) is not obligatory, but it is preferable to seek permission, especially from the author. God knows best. (MMS, p. 28, Q55)

Found Property

Q73: Property that I find in public places like the street, market, airport, train station, harbor or taxi and whose owner I am sure there is no possibility of finding.

A: Give it to charity on his behalf. (FM, pp. 420-21)

Q74: What if a child finds a big sum of present-day currency?

A: If there is no particular description that would make it possible to find its owner and return it to him, then the guardian of the child is permitted to take it and keep it for him. Otherwise, it is obligatory to find out who (the owner) is as I mentioned to you in a previous dialogue. (FM, p. 421)

Working, Selling or Presence in Places that Sell Non-Ritually Slaughtered Meat, Alcoholic Beverages and Pork

Q75: Is it permissible for a Muslim to cook that which was not slaughtered in the Islamic manner, knowing that he has no connection to selling or serving it? What is the ruling with respect to serving food that is ritually impure [not slaughtered in the Islamic manner] or conveying it to non-Muslims? Is there a difference in this between pork and other things?

A: There is no objection to cooking that which is not slaughtered in the Islamic manner or serving it to those who regard it as lawful. However, it is problematic to sell it to them. But there is no objection to taking the money in return for the Muslim seller's relinquishment of his right over it (foodstuff). Alternatively, by rescuing (istinqadh) it (i.e. money from a non-Muslim). As for pork, it is problematic to serve to those who regard it as lawful and without a doubt disallowed for sale. God knows best. (MMS, pp. 12-13, Q8)

Q76: Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in a restaurant that serves meat that is not slaughtered in the Islamic manner?

A: Its permissibility is not unlikely in the case where it is being served to one who considers it lawful. Rather, it is absolutely (permissible) as long as the status of the meat is made known to him, if there is a possibility of influencing him to avoid its consumption. If not, it is not obligatory. (MMS, p. 23, Q36)

Q77: Is it permissible to work in a restaurant that serves pork and alcoholic beverages? If it is not permissible, does the ruling also apply to washing dishes and similar things there?

A: Serving alcoholic beverages to others is prohibited even if the one to whom they are served considers them lawful. It is the same for washing dishes if they serve the purpose of drinking alcoholic beverages in them or serving them (the dishes) to the drinker. The permissibility of serving pork to someone who considers it lawful is not unlikely although selling it is without a doubt disallowed. And a Muslim hiring himself out for a forbidden task is rendered invalid and the taking of wages for this is prohibited. There is no objection to taking possession (of money) in return for work done as a means of rescuing it from someone whose wealth is not honored. (MMS, p. 22, Q34)

Q78: Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in shops that sell alcoholic beverages or in places of entertainment without serving alcoholic beverages or doing other forbidden things, such as cleaning dishes or arranging the chairs and similar activities?

A: This is not permissible in shops that sell alcoholic beverages and, based on obligatory precaution, he should refrain also from places of entertainment. (MMS, pp. 23-24, Q38)

Q79: Is it permissible for a Muslim to work in a grocery store that sells alcoholic beverages in one of its corners if his job is only that of a cashier?

A: It is permissible to accept the value of (commodities) other than alcoholic beverages, and likewise the value of alcoholic beverages, if both the buyer and seller are non-Muslims. (MMS, p. 25, Q44)

Q80: What is the ruling on the wages that a worker claims from these kinds of restaurants? Are they considered to be from property that is mixed with the unlawful, as it in fact is; or are they considered lawful for the worker since the wages are for lawful work?

A: With regard to wages that a Muslim receives from non-Muslims in return for work that they (non-Muslims) consider lawful, the ruling is that they are lawful even if he has acquired them through unlawful transactions according to our shari'ah, so long as these (transactions) are lawful for them (non-Muslims), like selling alcoholic beverages and pork to non-Muslims. And these kinds of wages are not considered to be mixed with the unlawful on which khums is obligatory. (MMS, p. 23, Q37)

Q81: Is it permissible for a Muslim to be present in gatherings where alcoholic beverages are served?

A: Eating and drinking in these gatherings is prohibited. As for mere presence, its prohibition is based on obligatory precaution. There is no objection to it if the aim is to prevent others from reprehensible actions, if one is able to do so. (MMS, p. 25, Q43)

Q82: Selling the meat of inedible animals like rabbit to those whose school of law (madhhab) permits its

consumption.

A: It is permissible. (FM, p. 412)

Shopping

Q83: Is it permissible for a person to buy from shops owned by Hindus if he knows that their owners help their community against the Muslims?

A: It is not permissible if this contributes in their aggression against the Muslims. God knows best. (MMS, p. 18, Q20)

Imported Meat, Fish, Cheese and Gelatine

Q84: Is it permissible to eat, buy and sell imported chickens from Muslim countries on which is written the phrase "slaughtered in the Islamic manner"?

A: It is permissible for you to eat, buy and sell them as long as you do not know that they were not slaughtered (in the Islamic manner), whether the previously mentioned phrase is written on them or not. (FM, p. 413)

Q85: And if these (chickens) are imported from non-Muslim countries and written on them is the phrase "slaughtered in the Islamic manner"?

A: It is not permissible for you to eat them if you are not confident that they have truly been slaughtered in the Islamic manner and not just claimed to be. (FM, p. 413)

Q86: The bodies of some types of fish are not fully covered with scales. Is it permissible to eat them?

A: Yes, it is permissible for you to eat them if they have but a single scale. (FM, p. 414)

Q87: Is it permitted for us to eat canned fish imported from some European countries and America when we are not absolutely sure of its lawfulness from two perspectives? First, we are not sure of the presence of scales, although the name of the fish indicated on the can wrapping is from those that have scales. The exporting countries for these types of canned items follow the strict laws enforcing the agreement between the item description on the packaging and the actual contents of the can. Second, we do not know about the certainty of its (fish) having been captured outside the water alive or of its having died in the fishing net. However, it is known that such fish are caught by modern fishing vessels which allow the extraction of the fish from the water in a live state, and it is very rarely mixed with any dead (fish).

A: If one can be confident as to its lawfulness -- even with the two observations above -- then one is permitted to eat it; if not, it is not permissible. (FM, p. 414)

Q88: What about imported cheese from non-Muslim countries, if I do not exactly know the way it was made and its ingredients?

A: It is permissible for you to eat it. (FM, pp. 413-14)

Q89: (In the case of) imported cheese from non-Muslim countries, if it is known to contain rennet (anfahah) from a calf or a young goat, or an animal enzyme, is it permissible to consume it?

A: There is no objection if it contains the first two, and likewise for the third (animal enzyme) if it is consumed; unless it is known that it was taken from one that was not slaughtered in the Islamic manner. God knows best. (MMS, p. 17, Q18)

Q90: Gelatine substance is normally made from the bones of a cow. If it is taken from animals not slaughtered in the Islamic manner, with the knowledge that it is not permissible to eat it, is it ruled to be ritually pure for external usage?

A: Yes, because the bone is from the part in which life does not dwell; therefore, it is ritually pure, even if it were from a dead (animal). God knows best. (MMS, p. 36, Q75)

Meat from Muslim Markets

Q91: Here there are many restaurants in the Muslim markets that offer meat to their customers.

A: It is permissible for you to eat their meat. (FM, p. 414)

Q92: . . . even without asking the owner of the restaurant about it?

A: Yes, it is permissible for you to eat it and there is no need to ask the owner of the restaurant about it, just as there is no need to ask about the religion of the employees in the restaurant. (FM, p. 414)

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