Fatwa about using Credit Cards by Muslims

Is using Credit Cards Haram?

Question: I have a question about VISA cards. I was watching Saudi TV yesterday and a sheikh said: “Even if we pay our VISA bill on time and we do not accumulate interest, the fact that we signed a contract agreeing on the condition that if we are late, we pay xx% interest, makes the VISA card haram,”

Do you advise me to get rid of my VISA card? I only have 1 for emergencies and when I travel… can you give me some advice please, should I cancel it and rely on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, or is having it an exception to living in this society?

I’ve read different opinions from people I don’t know, but I want to get your opinion inshallah.

Answer Sh. Khaled Abdel Hamid Alazhari: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah(The Almighty), the Cherisher and the Sustainer of the worlds. Peace, prayers, and blessings be upon our illiterate Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions

I would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in me, and I implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake. As for your Question : Using Credit card?

Credit card contract has a conditional interest (Riba) clause.
Credit cards may be used to pay for purchases and to withdraw cash.

The Rule
Using Credit card has two opinion of thought in islam:

The First:
Using Credit card is permissible in Islam as long as one does not delay paying the bills and pay the total amount on time.

The Second:
Using Credit card is forbidden (haram) in Islam even if the user is certain that he will pay the bank within the time.

The first Opinion is based on that using the credit card is like using the modern banking system. Most of the modern banks are interest-based and Muslims have to use them because interest free banks are not available. It is permissible to use the services of these banks without getting involved in interest.

The second opinion base their ruling on hadith narrated by Ibn Mass’ood

“Allaah has cursed the one who consumes Riba (i.e. usury or interest), the one who gives it to others, the one who records it and the one who witnesses it (its transaction).” He said: “All of them are equal in sin.” [Muslim]

So, having a credit card and dealing with it, itself is surrounded by many prohibitions.

  1. Everyone who demands a credit card has to agree to the terms mentioned in the contract, i.e. that he is ready to pay interest, thus he freely approves of dealing with interest. Therefore, whenever one delays in any payment he pays a certain percentage as interest. Merely signing such a contract is forbidden, since this clearly indicates that he approves of this transaction.
  2. Very likely the one who has such a card is practically involved with interest whenever he\she delays a payment or not.

Sh. Khaled Abdel Hamid Alazhari’s Fatwa:

I conclude that it contains usury (RIBA) which is forbidden in Islam, so it should not be used.
The need and easiness in marketing by the internet is not a sound reason (darorah) that entitles you to enter a contract that involves Riba. You can solve this problem by using pre-credit card.It’s permissible because you spend your own money with the same benefits of using credit card without committing sins.

But if you have a sound reason or necessity (darorah) You can use them with two condition:

  1. Do not delay paying the bills and pay the total amount on time.
  2. Do not withdraw cash money.

And Allah knows Best

Sh. Khaled Abdel Hamid Alazhari Imam of Ottawa Mosque

February 2nd, 2010 by