I am a Muslim student living in Holland. Next year I'm going to study dentistry, Insha Allah. I'm very motivated and I'm, Alhamdulillah a very good student. And now I've got a very urgent question and would really appreciate if you could give me a quick answer, if possible. Here in Holland it is very expensive to study and so the government pays for us. But after the graduation, we have to pay it back with interest (Riba), what do you advise me to do please?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Since the government pays for the student and gets back its money when the student graduates with interest, then this transaction is Riba and is prohibited by the Sharee’ah.
Nobody should deal in Riba except in dire necessity and we do not think that your case fits into this category.
But some universities ask the student to pay back the same amount due but give him a deadline if he does not pay before that deadline, they add an interest to the amount. If this type of university exists in the country where you are, we advise you to enroll in it with the intention to pay the amount back before the deadline in order to avoid Riba.
If this system does not exist there, we think that you should talk to the authorities and explain to them that this kind of transaction is unlawful according to your religion and that you want them to cancel the interest. If you do not succeed in convincing them, we advise you to try to have a part time job to help you provide for your study expenses and you should seek help from the Islamic institutions there.
Know that whoever fears Allah, Allah will give him a way out and provide him with means he never imagined.
Know also that Riba is a major sin that destroys and annihilates blessings, hence causing loss of benefits in this life and the Hereafter.
Allah knows best.
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