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If one has invested in an interest scheme, can the money earned as interest be given away as charity?

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:

If one has invested in an interest scheme, can the money earned as interest be given away as charity? I do not mean giving it away as ZAKAT. Just give it away as charity to anyone who needs it, with no expectation of sawaab or thanks. Someone told me that what is haraam for u is haraam for the person u give it to and u can only give this to a non-muslim. Is this true? Doesn`t it matter that u r giving it to someone needy?



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Give interest in charity

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.


Allah and His Messenger (saws) have indeed declared the receiving and paying of ‘riba’ as absolutely Haraam and prohibited for the believers in very strong terms, and it is the prescribed duty of every believer, who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day, to abstain from dealing in ‘riba’.


Allah says further in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 278:

O Believers!, fear Allah and give up that ‘riba’ which is still due to you, if you are true believers. But if you do not do so, then you are warned of the declaration of war against you by Allah and His Messenger!


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisa verse 161:

That they took ‘riba’, although they were forbidden. And that they devoured men’s substance wrongfully. We have prepared for those among them who reject faith a grievous punishment (of Hell Fire)!


My beloved brother in Islam, first and foremost one who believes in Allah and the Last Day, must immediately abstain and stop taking any interest.


It is not as if it is deemed permissible in Islam for one to continue taking interest as long as he spends it on charity; for Allah does not accept anything in His Cause unless and until it is pure and lawful.


Sahih Muslim Hadith 2214 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah

Allah's Messenger (saws) said: ‘O people, Allah is Good and He, therefore, accepts only that which is good!’


Now the question arises what should one do with the interest money one has already accumulated in the past in ignorance of the Laws of Allah?


For the unlawful ‘interest’ money that one has accumulated in one’s past in ignorance of Allah’s Laws, the person has two choices:

  1. One may leave it in the bank.
  2. Or, one may take it and dispose it.


Some scholars are of the opinion that it does not help the cause of the believers to leave the interest in conventional banks for at best it helps them to generate more interest, and at worst, they may dispose it to an institution which might work against the Cause. In cases where one has already accumulated interest money in ignorance of Islamic Law, and Allah Subhanah has guided them, and they now wish to dispose off that illegal money, the scholars are of the opinion that one may take this interest with the intention that he wants to rid himself of this evil thing, and give it away to some charity without seeking any reward from Allah Subhanah for this spending. His only intention should to be get rid of this unwanted and illegal money, and thus purify himself from the evil of ‘riba’. The believer who does this only because he fears the accounting of Allah on an Inevitable Day, will, if Allah Wills, be rewarded for keeping himself pure from the evils of ‘riba’.


The spending of illegally and unlawfully earned wealth does not have any worth in the Sight of Allah; for Allah is Good and Pure, and He accepts only what is good and pure.


The issue with the illegally and unlawfully accumulated money is not how best to spend it, but how soon can one rid himself of this illegal and unlawful wealth. His only intention in giving this money away should be to purify oneself and get rid of the evil that is with him. This illegal and unlawful money earned from interest can be compared to a burning coal in one’s hand! When one unintentionally and accidentally holds a burning coal, his only intention is to get rid of the burning coal from his hand; not where best to place it so that it can be of some benefit to others!


Your Question: Someone told me that what is haraam for u is haraam for the person u give it to and u can only give this to a non-muslim. Is this true? Doesn`t it matter that u r giving it to someone needy?

The above statement that what is unlawful is also unlawful for the person it is given to, is absolutely incorrect and inaccurate. For example, if a father takes a bribe or steals some money and spends of that unlawfully earned money on his wife or children….it is the father alone who will be accountable in the Court of Allah Subhanah for earning his wealth in an unlawful manner; his wife and his children who used that money will be absolutely blameless, for it is the father’s duty to earn lawfully and spend on his family.


First and foremost, the believers who sincerely fear Allah and the Last Day must absolutely abstain from indulging or earning their sustenance in an unlawful manner. But if the situation arises whereby one in the past has accumulated some unlawful wealth in ignorance of the Laws of Allah, and subsequently Allah Subhanah has guided him aright….his only intention must be to dispose off that filth as soon as possible. If one does so only because of the fear of Allah Subhanah, it is expected that their Lord will reward them for their obedience and their piety.


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


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,




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