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Is it a sin to have a credit card?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Salaam Alaikum Burhan Bhai, May Allah (SWT) reward you for service you are rendering to the Muslim Ummah. I have three questions, two of them based on / concerning Niyyah (intention). (a) A friend of mine told me it is wrong to possess a Credit Card. When I pointed out that there is nothing wrong as long as I dont pay interest, he put forward the following argument: At the time of signing the contract with Credit Card company, one is required to give an undertaking that if he is unable to pay at the specified time, then he would pay interest on the amount due. That is, one is committing to interest since one doesnt know what situation he would be in, in future, which Allah (SWT) alone knows, or since the person has the intention to pay interest on failure to pay back. Also there is a Hadith which says that deeds depend upon intentions. Therefore if one has intentions of paying interest on failure, one might actually pay in future. (b) A relative of mine has property (an apartment to be precise) in USA. By US law he is required to will it. He willed it in the name of his wife. He has children too, yet the apartment is willed only to his wife. Muslims in US, I understand, normally prepare a will which says something like this the property left behind by me should be distributed among my heirs as per Islamic Shariah this condition is acceptable even to US laws. But the person in question has willed it only to his wife. Is he committing a sin and buying error at expense of Allahs guidance? Will his punishment start at once or after the will is acted upon upon his death? (c) I have heard that a man can gift all his property to his wife irrespective of his children under the provision of HIBBA ; provided he has earned it on his own and has not inherited . Could you please elaborate on it. Could you please answer these questions and also whether such a people would be punished in this world too apart from the hereafter?

 

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Answer:

 

Is it a sin to have a credit card?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Q-1: A friend of mine told me it is wrong to possess a Credit Card. When I pointed out that there is nothing wrong as long as I dont pay interest, he put forward the following argument: At the time of signing the contract with Credit Card company, one is required to give an undertaking that if he is unable to pay at the specified time, then he would pay interest on the amount due. That is, one is committing to interest since one doesnt know what situation he would be in, in future, which Allah (SWT) alone knows, or since the person has the intention to pay interest on failure to pay back. Also there is a Hadith which says that deeds depend upon intentions. Therefore if one has intentions of paying interest on failure, one might actually pay in future.

The argument of your friend indeed has logical weight; for the business of Credit Cards is indeed an interest-based business, and if one commits to pay interest in the event of a default, then indeed he is party to an interest based transaction. It would indeed be purer and better for a believer, who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day, to abstain from any interest based transactions.


 

Besides, there are direct Debit Cards available in the market today whereby whatever one spends is immediately deducted from his account and there is absolutely no commitment of interest to be paid, or a chance of default; for the cards allow one to spend only what is available in ones account. These cards would be a better alternative to the Credit Cards which are based on interest.

 

Q-2: A relative of mine has property (an apartment to be precise) in USA. By US law he is required to will it. He willed it in the name of his wife. He has children too, yet the apartment is willed only to his wife. Muslims in US, I understand, normally prepare a will which says something like this the property left behind by me should be distributed among my heirs as per Islamic Shariah this condition is acceptable even to US laws. But the person in question has willed it only to his wife. Is he committing a sin and buying error at expense of Allahs guidance? Will his punishment start at once or after the will is acted upon upon his death?

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verses 12-14:

12 In what your wives leave your share is a half if they leave no child; but if they leave a child ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave their share is a fourth if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone). Thus is it ordained by Allah, and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing.

13 Those are limits set by Allah: those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath to abide therein (for ever), and that will be the Supreme achievement.

14 But those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgress His limits, will be admitted to a fire to abide therein: and they shall have a humiliating punishment.

 

Islam does not permit the believers to make their legal heirs beneficiarys to their will; thus if one makes a will that after his death a part of his property should go to one of his legal heirs, it would indeed be wrong, and thus be considered a sin in the sight of Shariah. The wife is an heir of her husbands property, and thus the husband cannot will anything to his wife.

 

The second option whereby one makes a will which states, the property left behind by me should be distributed among my heirs as per Islamic Shariah is definitely a better and purer option for those who believe in Allah and the Last Day.

 

The other option is that he may purchase the property and gift it to his wife in his lifetime, if he so wills.

 

Q-2A: Will his punishment start at once or after the will is acted upon upon his death?

One may or may not receive punishment for his deeds in this earth, that Decision is absolutely in the Power and Domain of Allah Subhanah. The life of this world is a place for deeds; and only in the Hereafter will one receive his reward or punishment in full, depending on the deeds that he did in his life gone by.

 

Q-3: I have heard that a man can gift all his property to his wife irrespective of his children under the provision of HIBBA ; provided he has earned it on his own and has not inherited . Could you please elaborate on it.

Hibba literally means a gift; and it is indeed true that a person may gift whatever one wishes to anyone in his lifetime, provided his intention is not to deprive or be unjust to his other heirs. And Allah Alone is aware of the intentions of the person.

 

There is no condition that to do Hibba, one has to earn the wealth on his own and it should not be inherited! Whatever one has, whether he has earned it himself or has inherited from someone, he has a right to gift it to anyone he wishes in his lifetime if he wishes to do so, provided he does not use Hibba as an excuse to deprive his heirs of their legal inheritance. If one does Hibba to intentionally deprive his legal heirs of their inheritance, he will have a severe accounting in the Presence of the All Mighty Lord.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your Brother in Islam,

 

 

Burhan


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