Dealing with interest with intention to repent later
Fatwa No: 317587

  • Fatwa Date:15-3-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 6, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. What is the case of someone who plans to deal with interest (this has not yet happened, but it has happened in the extended family multiple times) for the sake of going to university in the hope of graduating after four years and then consider to repent for having dealt with interest? When asked how they could possibly do something like this, they reply by saying that Allaah is the Most Forgiving and that they will repent. The idea is, 'Do the sin today and repent tomorrow. Allaah will forgive me.' How do you deal with a person who tries to justify sin by saying that Allaah is the Most Forgiving? Other family members encourage this person to take the interest, fall into the debt, and graduate, and they reassure this person that Allaah is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful... These are people that deem themselves Muslim. The debt is usually around 30,000 pounds... with interest. I am having a hard time. I hear this all the time and want reassurance. How do I convince these people? And how do I convince myself that these people are wrong? Please, all I am asking is that you help remove the doubt from my heart. May Allaah elevate your ranks and forgive your sins and guide you to the right path and increase you in knowledge and wisdom and protect you from speaking about Allaah without knowledge. Forgive me if I speak without knowledge. Thank you in advance, may Allaah bless you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, we ask Allaah to guide you and enable you to do good and make you love faith and beautify it in your heart. May He also make you hate disbelief, immorality, and disobedience and make you among those who follow the right path.

As regards your question, the answer is that interest is one of the grave major sins. Allaah clarified this in His Book, as He says (what means): {O you who have believed, fear Allaah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allaah and His Messenger.} [Quran 2: 278-279]

Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said “Allaah has cursed the one who consumes interest, the one who gives it to others, the one who records it, and the one who witnesses it (its transaction).” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “All of them are equal in sin.” [Muslim]

So the matter is very serious for a person who fears Allaah and who does not neglect His Commands. For more benefit, please refer to fataawa 86371 and 196841.

There is no difference between borrowing money with interest for studies or for other purposes unless there is a dire necessity, which makes what is forbidden lawful. Whoever is compelled is not sinful. Allaah says (what means): {…while He has explained in detail to you what He has forbidden you, excepting that to which you are compelled.} [Quran 6:119] Allaah also says (what means): {But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 2:173]

The necessity is limited to when a person thinks it most likely that if he does not do what is forbidden, he will die or face a hardship that he cannot bear or that if he does not do what is forbidden, he will not be able to achieve the minimum level of subsistence.

In case the necessity is proven, it should be valued according to its proper value. Once the necessity is over or when one finds a lawful substitute, then it becomes no longer permissible for him to deal with interest and the principle applies again, which is that it is forbidden.

As regards their statement that Allaah is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful, then there is no doubt about this, but at the same time, Allaah is severe in punishment.

Allaah says (what means): {The forgiver of sin, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the destination.} [Quran 40:3]

Allaah forgives anyone who repents and turns to Him before death seizes him; Allaah says (what means): {But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.} [Quran 20:82]

Allaah further says (what means): {Then, indeed your Lord, to those who have done wrong out of ignorance and then repent after that and correct themselves - indeed, your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 16:119]

No one knows when the angel of death will come to him, so can this person ensure to live one hour longer to say that he will repent later? This is nothing but a sign of wretchedness, misery, and having one’s insight blurred from faith, as Al-Akhdhari said. This is from the crafts of the devil and whispering to the person that he will do such and such in the future.

For more benefit on the seriousness of insisting on committing sins, please refer to fataawa 116246 and 134144. To find out how to give advice to relatives if they disobey Allaah, please refer to fatwa 53349. And for more details on the etiquette of giving advice in general, please refer to fatwa 13288.

Allaah knows best.

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