THE SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE
For gaining the confidence of the Muslim community, which is imperative for selling their wares, these purely capitalist financial institutions which are in entirety bereft of any ideals of altruism cite Qur’aanic aayaat and Hadith narrations with naked shamelessness. The endeavour is to deceive the Muslim public into the massive deception that these ‘Islamic’ banks are Islamic charitable institutions working for the welfare of the Muslim community in the spirit of Qur’aanic and Hadith exhortations of brotherhood and service to Muslims. But nothing can be further from the truth.
Consider the following advertising stunt of the Albaraka Bank. In its brochure advertising its haraam Unit Trusts product, the bank states:
“As Muslims we are required to consume halaal food, wear halaal clothes and live in halaal dwelling. ………. However, ill-gained wealth that feeds us produces ill-flesh and keeps us spiritually naked.”
An examination of their deals will show that the wealth acquired from their investment plans is in fact ill-gotten haraam wealth yielded by products which do not conform to the Shariah. They speak of spirituality, of the need to grow halaal flesh, while they are immersed in riba in the same way as the kuffaar capitalists. Their big talk about spirituality is a gimmick to advertise banking business with its haraam investment products. No one can be further from the goals of spirituality than these men who operate riba institutions in the name of the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
And how is it possible for them to have even the haziest idea of spiritual treasures when the Qur’aan Majeed declares:
“Those who devour riba do not stand except as one who has been driven to insanity by the touch of shaitaan.”
They vociferously trumpet the slogan of Islamic Brotherhood and Qur’aanic concept of Qardh-e-Hasan (Beautiful Loan ‘given’ to Allah Ta’ala), but their misdeeds loudly testify to the hardness of their hearts –hearts hardened harder than stone by their indulgence in riba in the name of the Shariah and under the cover of cheap ‘fatwas’ obtained from some Maulanas and Muftis. Consider the following case to understand the insanity caused by the touch of shaitaan:
The dispute is between Albaraka Bank and Mr. M. Hansa of Durban who wrote to us:
“An agreement was tabled telephonically with Mahomed Khan (of Albaraka Bank) on the matter of how to settle my debt of R550,000. I was approximately 30 days late in the evening when the Sheriff came to attach my goods. I was owing a balance of R90,000. In the interim I discovered that Albaraka Bank had obtained a judgement against me un-Islamically and by deceitful ways. Surprisingly, Shaukat Karrim (the Bank’s lawyer) who had obtained the judgement unethically still represents the Albaraka Bank inspite of having brought it to the attention of the directors, C.E.O, as well as Maulana Joosab (of the Bank).
They obtained the judgement by serving the summons at the incorrect domicillium. I have a faxed copy and proof that the change of domicillium in 1995 was sent to Albaraka Bank. However, surprisingly, inspite of the summons having been served at the wrong address, the attachment was made at the correct address.
Shaukat Karrim quoted R15,000 to my attorney. I personally spoke to him and he brought it down to R12,000 which is also high……………(This is besides the costs of about R30,000 for my attorney and advocate.)
The trial to have judgement rescinded will take 2 days at enormous costs. Had proper channels been followed, no judgement would have been awarded to the Bank. The trial will be at a later date to discuss the merits of the case.
Shaukat Karrim has brought it to my attention that he has an open cheque from Albaraka Bank and the cost is no problem and he will run the bill high to prove his point.
Evidence for rescission of judgement and evidence for the trial are the same. It will be duplicated. The Bank and myself will have twice costs for advocate and attorneys. This will benefit only the advocate and the attorney, and not the bank or myself. The litigation is run by the bank. I am the defendant.”
In a letter to Albaraka Bank, Mr. M. Hansa writes:
AlBaraka Bank, Attention Maulana Joosab, Commercial Road, Durban
“We refer to our telephonic conversation with yourself and confirm the following as per your request:
One of my customers owed me a large sum of money. He had in turn purchased a huge quantity of goods (in the region of 31 million rands), so they were not paying me promptly.
I was in continuous contact with Mr. Mahomed Khan then, and I had told him that the amount owing by me will be split up in three instalments. The 1st instalment of R150,000 and the second instalment of R125,000 were paid. There remained a balance of R90,625 which was supposed to have been paid at the end of August 2002. Mr. Mahomed Khan did not come back to me, hence I thought everything was in order. On 21st August 2002 I received a writ at 9 pm and a sheriff came and attached all my possessions, whereas on this day there was only R90,625 owing. That was when I realized that I did not receive summons before this.”
Mr. Hansa adds:
“Kindly provide the Islamic Ruling as this matter is already set down for 2 days – 11th and 12th October 2004. Estimates of my costs in the above matter is R45,000 and assuming the Bank will be the same excluding the trial cost. It will be a waste of time and money.
I have requested a Shariah Ruling from Maulana Joosab of Albaraka Bank. However until today I have received no response. The documents are against us. Insurance is compulsory. Is this Shariah compliant?
CC. Jamiatul Ulama KZN – Attention Maulana Kathrada
In another letter to Albaraka Bank, Mr. Hansa wrote:
“We refer to our telephonic conversation of today and confirm that numerous occasions we requested you to give an Islamic ruling. Until today, we have not received any response. You should not be perturbed if I speak to other Ulema because you are procrastinating and I have no alternative.
Since the debt has been paid, the way forward is for each party to pay its costs. I await your earliest response.”
No Shariah ruling can be expected to be forthcoming from the Maulana who is inextricably interwoven with the fabric of the riba Bank. The Shariah ruling in this matter caused by the hardheartedness and intransigence of the Bank is:
It is haraam for the Bank to oppose the endeavour by Mr. Hansa to obtain a rescission of the judgement. The Bank, in opposing the endeavour is guilty of the following haraam and cruel acts:
i) Ruining the reputation of a Muslim. It is incumbent to protect the honour and good name of another Muslim.
ii) Instead of protecting the good name of Mr. Hansa, the Bank is actively striving to ruin his integrity by opposing the endeavour to have the judgement rescinded.
iii) The Bank has in a haraam manner involved Mr. Hansa in incurring a substantial loss of money running into tens of thousands of rands in the form of haraam legal fees. In so doing, the Bank is guilty of usurping or being an instrument in the usurpation of the wealth of a Muslim brother.
iv) The Bank having initiated this callous action, is responsible for its own costs as well as for the costs which it had forced onto Mr. Hansa.
It is noteworthy that inspite of the debt having been settled, this so-called “Islamic’ Bank persists in its haraam and callous attempt to blacken the name of a Muslim brother and to involve him in paying tens of thousands of rands to satiate the haraam demands and desires of lawyers.
This case is a window from which the Bank’s understanding ‘Islamic’ brotherhood and its concept of Qardh Hasan could be clearly viewed. Advertising its riba products, Albarka Bank states in its definition of Islamic Terminology:
“Qardul hasa (A benevolent or good loan): An interest free loan given either for welfare purposes or for bridging short term funding requirements. The borrower is required to pay only the amount borrowed.”
Bringing the Qur’aanic concept of Qardh Hasan in the advertising material of the Bank is laughable and deceptive. The Bank attempts to depict a picture of altruism for itself by citing the Beautiful Loan Allah Ta’ala exhorts Muslims to give. A bank which subjects Muslims to the grinding yoke of haraam lawyers fees should not venture to comment on Qardh Hasan. It is a miserable attempt in advertising to drag the Qur’aan Majeed and insult it by deceptively using it to promote capitalist products sold to Muslims with capitalist attitudes. There is no difference in the ideology of the kuffaar capitalists and the Muslim entrepreneurs who operate riba banks under the guise of ‘Islamic’ financing.
QARDH HASAN AND THE QUR’AAN
Expounding the Shar’i concept of Qardh Hasan, Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:
“Fear Allah as much as you can; hear and obey, and (in His Path), for it is best for your souls. Whoever has been saved from the greed of his nafs, verily, they are the successful ones. If you give Allah Qardh Hasan (Beautiful Loan), He Will increase (the wealth) for you and forgive you (your sins). And Allah is The One Who values (your righteousness), The One Who is Most Tolerant.” (Surah Taghaabun, Aayats 16 and 17)
In Surah Baqarah, aayat 280, the Qur’aan states:
“And, if he (the debtor) is in (financial) difficulty then (grant him) an extension until ease (i.e. until he is able to pay). And, if you (waive the debt) as Sadqah, it is best for you.”
It is in total conflict with the rule and spirit of the Qur’aan to impose on a hard-pressed debtor the cruel yoke of interest and the exorbitant fees of lawyers. One can understand the oppression and injustice involved in this evil legal system which allows a lawyer to extract R50,000 from a hard-pressed client merely for a couple of hours in court.
Is it possible for persons who involve debtors in such oppression to have a proper understanding of the meaning of Qardh Hasan. This Qur’aanic concept has only three stages:
(1) Granting the debtor an extension of time to pay. This extension should be until his financial position improves.
(2) Waiving the entire debt. This is the best option in terms of the Qur’aan.
(3) Waiving part of the debt if one is not able by either the financial or spiritual means (i.e. lacking in Taqwa and Tawakkul) to write off the whole debt for aiding the brother and for gaining the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.
There is no fourth option in the concept of Qardh Hasan. The idea of oppressing the debtor by imposing a lawyer over him is repugnant to the Qur’aanic exhortation of Qardh Hasan.
The manner in which Albaraka has inflicted injury and oppression on the hard-pressed debtor by assailing his integrity with the court judgement and by imposing the kuffaar legal system on him to extract tens of thousands of rands from him is an adequate commentary of the callousness and deception of the Muslim capitalist who are immersed in the riba banking structure which they have inherited from their kuffaar counterparts in the game.
The case of Mr. Hansa is not the only one. Over the years many Muslims have complained and suffered the inequities and zulm of the ‘Islamic’ banks which deceptively portray themselves as the upholders of Islamic economics.
What are unit trusts? The explanation of unit trusts which Albaraka Bank gives in its brochure is plain gibberish for the Muslim laymen whom this bank is wooing and trying to convince of the alleged Islamic permissibility of these haraam shares which are not Shirkat (Partnership) shares in terms of the Shariah. It appears that the one who wrote the explanation in the Unit Trust brochure, himself is ignorant of what exactly unit trusts are. He tries to sound like an expert with his explanation of gibberish. The layman reader is left in perplexity and knows not head or tail of the meaning of unit trusts despite the brief and stupid description in the brochure.
The Bank should understand that it is marketing its products to ordinary Muslims who are not versed in the terminology of the capitalists. To speak of NAV and Equity Fund without giving the investors a hazy idea of what exactly these riba ‘shares’ are is to pull wool over the eyes of the unwary. If the author of the brochure lacks exposure in the capitalist economic system, he should seek the assistance of some non- Muslim expert of the system to explain the products in a manner which is comprehensible to laymen. One ignorant of the product should not attempt to present a clever image of himself by presenting a ludicrous explanation which leaves the layman reader in a greater quandary.
The haraam unit trust product is inextricably interwoven with the dealings of the Stock Exchange, hence the Albaraka brochure first attempts to pass off the Stock Exchange system as Islamically ‘kosher’. In this attempt, the brochure alleges:
“The joint stock companies accumulate capital by selling shares of the company on the stock markets. When a person purchases shares of a company, the purchaser is the shareholder of the underlined assets of the company.”
Then defining the ‘share certificate’, the brochure states:
“The share certificate: When the client purchased in a company the client did not purchase the share certificate but he purchased a portion of the assets of the company. The share certificate is a document that represents and confirms the proportionate share of the shareholder. The buying and selling of the share certificate in the secondary market is actually replacing the seller’s post as the shareholder to the purchaser of the share certificate.”
The above explanation of shares in public companies and the share certificate has been sucked out from Albaraka Bank’s thumb in an abortive bid to have its unit trusts and other dealings on the stock exchange proclaimed halaal –lawful in the Shariah. Albaraka’s representative who has presented this figment of his imagination should state the basis and the evidence for his definition of the share certificate and his averment that the owner of the share certificate owns a proportionate share of the actual tangible assets of the company. There is no basis whatsoever for this claim of Albaraka.
The ‘joint stock company’ is a creation of the riba-capaitalist west. It is not a Shar’i institution nor did Albarakah Bank introduce this capitalist system of trading. It has merely adopted it in entirety—every aspect of it, including its riba base. Hence it should not seek to explain this capitalist system with its imaginary meanings in the endeavour to get it passed as halaal by the Shariah.
In the capitalist system adopted by the votaries of ‘Islamic’ banking, a company is a legal entity apart from its ‘shareholders’. It should be understood at this juncture that a shareholder in a joint stock company differs substantially from the shareholder in an Islamic Shirkat (Partnership) enterprise. Insha’Allah, the difference will be explained later in this article.
The Muslim capitalists have manipulated the term ‘shareholder’ to confuse and mislead laymen who are unacquainted with the technical meanings of the terms and their material effects. Since the ‘shareholders’ in these public companies do not own the assets of the company, they are not shareholders in the context of the Shariah. Mere similarity of names does not produce similarity in the effects of the different concepts.
For example, literally speaking, the leasing system of the kuffaar banks is an ijaarah transaction. While leasing is known in the Shariah as Ijaarah, it does not follow that the ijaarah of the kuffaar banks is a valid Shar’i Ijaarah contract merely on the basis of a similarity of names. Similarly, the shareholder, viz., the person who purchases share certificates in a public company, is not a Shareek (partner/shareholder) in terms of the Shariah because such a ‘shareholder’ does not own a share of the tangible assets of the company as Albarakah Bank baselessly asserts nor is this type of ‘shareholder’ responsible for the debts of the fictitious legal ‘person’ called the company.
THE COMPANY SHAREHOLDER AND THE SHAR’I SHAREHOLDER
The following table of differences will give a better understanding of the meaning of ‘shareholder’ in the capitalist system and the Shariah.
|Company Shareholder||Shirkat Shareholder|
|(1) Not responsible for the debts of
|Responsible for the debts of the
|(2) Personal assets cannot be
claimed or attached to pay the debts
of the insolvent company.
|Personal assets can be appropriated
to pay the debts of the Shirkat
enterprise (Islamic Partnership).
|(3) The company is not liable for the
debts of its shareholders. The
creditors of the shareholders cannot
claim the assets of the company in
lieu of the debt of shareholders in the
event of them not paying their debts.
|The assets of the Shirkat enterprise
can be claimed by creditors of the
|(4) The shareholders purchase rights
(Huqooq) in the company.
|The shareholders do not purchase
Huqooq. They purchase an actual
share of the tangible assets of the
partnership business, which entitles
them to a predetermined share of the
|(5) The shareholder cannot
terminate his so-called partnership
and demand his proportionate share
of the tangible assets of the
|The Shar’i shareholder can dissolve
his partnership agreement and claim
his proportionate share of the assets
of the company.
|(6) The shareholder cannot sell any
‘proportionate’ share of the tangible
assets of the company.
|The Shirkat partner can sell his
share of the tangible assets of the
partnership enterprise and transfer
same to the buyer who is not obliged
to become a partner in the business.
|(7) The buyer of the share certificate
from an existing shareholder
becomes an automatic owner of all
the rights of the shareholder from
whom he purchased the share
certificate (i.e. the paper certificate).
|The buyer of the tangible assets sold
by a shareholder, does not
automatically become a shareholder
in the Shirkat business. If the
existing partners refuse to accept
him, he has no right to demand that
he be instituted as a partner on the
basis of him having purchased the
share of assets of the previous
partner. On the basis of his purchase
he cannot claim the right to receive
profits from the Shirkat business if
the existing partners refuse to accept
|(8) On the death of the shareholder,
the agreement does not fall away.
His rights are transferred to the
persons who have acquired the share
certificates. His heirs or whoever
purchases the certificates gain the
rights to which the certificates entitle
the holder/owner thereof.
|On the death of the Shar’i partner,
the partnership agreement is
automatically dissolved. His heirs do
not become partners in the Shirkat
enterprise. Unlike the transference of
dividends to the new owners of the
company’s certificates, the heirs of
the partner do not acquire a share in
the Shirkat business to entitle them
to claim profits.
|(9) The heirs of the deceased
shareholder cannot claim any share
of the assets of the company.
|The heirs of the Shirkat partnership
can claim the proportionate share of
the deceased of the actual assets of
the partnership business.
|(10) The shareholders do not
participate in the losses of the
company. They are not liable for any
proportionate share of the company’s
|The Shirkat partners are liable for the
losses of the Shirkat business in
proportion to their respective shares.
It should now be clear that the company and the Shar’i Shirkat are two entirely different concepts.
DEFINITION OF SHARES
What is the meaning of a share in the company? Albaraka Bank or any other so-called ‘Islamic’ banks are not qualified to answer this question. The creators of the joint stock company and their experts are qualified to inform us of the proper meaning of ‘shares’. The experts define a share as follows:
“The term ‘share’ as such denotes that the holder thereof has a claim on part of the share capital of the company, and does not refer to a right of ownership in part of the net assets of the company. A share in a company is not a corporeal object but represents a complex of rights and duties.” (Mercantile Law)
The Muslim banking entrepreneurs are at pains to make us believe that the shareholder owns a portion of the tangible assets of the company. Regardless of their meandering and complex interpretations to extract fatwas of permissibility from liberal Muftis and from even juhhaal ‘muftis’ lacking in entirety in the credentials of Ifta, the reality stated above with great clarity cannot be concealed.
The true definition of ‘share’ stated by the experts of the capitalist system who are the founders of the joint stock company, is a concept with real and factual effects as has been explained in the table of differences on page 13.
It should not be difficult for even the Muslim layman who lacks understanding of the workings of the riba system in which the ‘Islamic’ banks indulge with relish, to understand that ‘ownership’ has real effects. Among its effects are:
? The right to use the owned property/assets freely at any time.
? The right to dispose of the owned property at will, whether by sale, gift, waqf, etc.
? The right of the heirs to inherit the property owned by the deceased.
? The right of the owner to remove his assets from a partnership.
None of these effects are concomitant with the so-called proportionate share of the assets of the company baselessly alleged to be owned by the shareholders. There is no such concept of ownership in the Shariah which denies the owner the right to use and employ his mielk (property) as he deems fit.
THE FALLACY OF THE ARGUMENTS OF THE LEGALIZERS OF RIBA
Those who claim that the capitalist joint stock company is a valid Shar’i Shirkat enterprise present two arguments:
(1) “The concept of the independent legal existence of the company is a fiction of law”.
(2) Upon dissolution of the company the surplus assets, if any, after payment of liabilities will be distributed pro rata to the shareholders.
For these reasons the company will be considered in the Shariah to be the property of the shareholders. Thus, the assets of the company belong to the shareholders in the same way as the assets of a Shar’i Shirkat belong to its partners.
From the explanation we have presented in the aforegoing pages, the fallacy of this conclusion should be manifest. But what is shocking is the deliberate blindness which the Muftis have adopted in their formulation of this fallacious conclusion. As explained above, ownership has real effects. None of the real effects of ownership extend to the owners of share certificates. How then is it possible for Muftis of the Deen to conclude that a man is the owner of a fictitious asset over which he has absolutely no power, no control and no right whatsoever?
The claim that the company is a legal fiction of law is a halftruth and misleading. While the company is a fictitious ‘person’, it is not a fictitious legal entity in kuffaar law. It is a real legal entity apart from its ‘shareholders’, hence the shareholders to do assume the liabilities of this legal ‘person’. In law the company has real effects. Any shareholder who appropriates any portion of the tangible assets of the company is guilty of fraud and can be jailed for ‘theft’ and fraud notwithstanding his Shar’i right of ownership of a portion of the assets of the company, i.e. if the company has to be accepted as a valid Shar’i partnership.
In terms of the Shariah it is correct to say that the company is a fiction of kuffaar law and has no existence although it does have existence in the capitalist system. The Shariah does not recognize an abstract concept as being a real person having rights and duties and capable of owning property.
The second argument, viz., on dissolution of the company the shareholders obtain a pro rata share of the assets, by itself does not make the company shareholders owners of the assets of the company for the reasons already explained earlier on. There are no ownership consequences arising from the purchase of share certificates. This effectively negates the fallacy of shareholders being the owners of the company’s assets.
Only in the event of the liquidation of the company will the shareholders be entitled to a pro rata share of the assets, never at any other time. During the subsistence of the company, the shareholders cannot claim a pro rata share of the assets (the cash and all other tangible assets) of the company. This conclusively proves that they are not existing shareholders of the company’s assets. They will at some future date become the owners of the company’s assets in the unlikely event of the liquidation of the company. The day they acquire physical possession of the assets will it be said that they have now become the owners of such assets. But future ownership is not existing ownership. Future ownership has no practical consequences for existing assets.
Besides this argument of the votaries of this baatil concept being incorrect, we can say without hesitation that they are guilty of concocting blatant falsehood to mislead Muslims into indulging in riba. They cannot be so dim in the brains to understand the clear difference between company shareholders and partners in a Shar’i Shirkat venture.
THE SHAR’I MEANING OF SHARE
According to the Shariah a share in a partnership signifies a share in the tangible assets of the partnership enterprise. A man purchases a share of the assets of the partnership business and he acquires his share of the profits by virtue of having ploughed his assets into the venture.
When the partner has to pay Zakaat on his share of the business, he does not calculate his Zakaat liability on the basis of a fictitious value of his 50% share of the business. Value of his share is a fictitious entity on which the Shariah does not levy Zakaat. Furthermore, the Shariah does not levy Zakaat on all assets of the company. Zakaat is paid on only Zakaat-taxable assets (cash, stock-in-trade and recoverable debts). Zakaat is not paid on the equipment, property and other non-Zakaatable assets of the business.
If the shareholder is able to sell his 50% share in the business for say, R100,000, it will be said that the value of his share is this amount. But he does not have to pay Zakaat on the value of R100,000 which he does not own since he has not sold his share as yet. The offer he receives may be R100,000 while the actual tangible assets of his share may be only R20,000 of which R10,000 be comprised of non-Zakaatable assets. He thus is liable to pay Zakaat on only R10,000 whereas the legalizers of the company claim that he has to pay Zakaat on the market-value of the paper certificates, not on the value of the actual Zakaat taxable assets in the company, which anyway the shareholders are blissfully ignorant of.
It is abundantly clear that the dividend the ‘shareholder’ of the company receives whether the shares may be unit trusts or any other type of shares is plain riba and nothing else.
The purchaser of the unit trust/share certificate pays a sum of money to claim money (a dividend) in future. The ‘dividend’ that will be paid is more than or less than the amount paid for the right to claim a dividend. It is never the same amount. Riba is the consequence, and this is based on two grounds:
(1) Money is being exchanged for money, and the quantities exchanged are unequal, hence riba applies.
(2) Trade in money is called Bayus Sarf, the validity of which is dependent on simultaneous exchange of the monies in the same session of the trade. This NEVER takes place in the company system, hence the riba claim is further confirmed.
The whole system of the joint stock company is untenable in the Shariah. It is a haraam system. Its yields are haraam. The dividends shareholders obtain are haraam riba. All forms of investment on the Stock Exchange regardless of what type of Shar’i terminology is manipulated, are haraam. Muslims should not be deceived by the ostensibly holy arguments presented by the riba entrepreneurs of ‘Islamic’ banking. The entire ‘Islamic’ banking structure is modelled along the lines of the kuffaar banking system in which the foundational stone is riba.
MUSAHAMAH AND MUTAJARAH?
In its brochure advertising its unit trusts, Albaraka Bank says:
“There are two Arabic terminologies that interprets equity trading: (1) Musahama: Acquisition of equities for the purpose of generating dividends (These earnings are paid as income distributions). (2) Mutajarah: Trading in equities by way of buying and selling. (These earnings are paid as capital gains distributions).”
Suddenly Albaraka veers sharply from using Shariah terminology to ‘Arabic terminology’. What bearing has Arabic terminology with the legal processes of the Shariah? In which way does contemporary or ancient Arabic terminology signify legality and permissibility in the Shariah? From which authoritative kutub of the Fuqaha of Islam did Albaraka Bank exhume these two Arabic terms?
In which authoritative kitaab of the Fuqaha do these terms with their definitions appear? The Shariah recognizes only valid Shirkat, Mudhaarabah and Muraabahah agreements. The profits yielded by these enterprises belong to the partners of the respective ventures. They are absolutely free to spend and divert their profits in whatever way they desire. Albaraka Bank has made a miserable attempt to vindicate its equities and unit trusts by this nonsensical categorization of Arabic terminology.
SOUTH AFRICAN JOINT STOCK COMPANIES
In its brochure, Albaraka Bank states:
“The joint stock companies do not trade with the Islamic banks but receive interest or interest bearing loans from the Riba banks. This therefore brings about the difference of opinions whether trading in such companies are (is) permissible or not. There are two major opinions: The first opinion espouses permissibility of participation and trading in stocks of these companies provided that the profits earned should be purged from unlawful gains. Second opinion: This view strongly argues that participation and trading in these companies either by buying or selling, is impermissible.”
After presenting the two conflicting views of “the contemporary scholars”, Albaraka Bank assumes the role of an arbitrating ‘Mufti’ and issues its ‘fatwa’ in favour of permissibility in dealing and trading with Riba companies. Thus, this Riba Bank concealing under an outer-guise of an Islamic hue says: “The opinion of those who argue for permissibility is closer to the truth in this respect, …”
But Albarakah Bank is not a competent Islamic authority to issue a ‘fatwa’ of preference between two opposing views. It presents in its brochure only the views of the advocates of permissibility of riba while ignoring in entirety the arguments of those who argue in favour of hurmat (prohibition) of riba and ribaassociated trading.
Outlining the arguments of the advocates of permissibility, Albarakah Bank states:
“The advocates of permissibility have cited a number of authorities. These authorities are as follows: (1) The legal maxim that says: What is independently impermissible is permissible when done in accompany (or accompaniment) with permissible acts.”
This ‘legal maxim’ is not “an authority”. It is a principle, not an authority. An evolved principle cannot be presented in refutation or abrogation of a Mansoos Alayh Ruling of the Qur’aan or Sunnah. The prohibition of Riba is based on the highest category of Nass (Qur’aan and Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah). The severity of the prohibition of all forms of Riba and participation therein is so grave that Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was constrained to say: “We abstained from nine tenths of halaal trade transactions for fear of indulging in riba.”
Riba never becomes permissible on the basis of the ‘legal maxim’ cited by Albaraka Bank. Riba is independently haraam. It is likewise haraam even in any deal in which it features “in accompaniment of permissible acts”. Depositing money in a riba bank due to compelling circumstances is permissible. This permissible act is accompanied by riba which the bank awards the depositor. This ‘accompaniment’ does not extricate riba from the confines of prohibition. It remains haraam irrespective of any permissible act or deed or transaction accompanying it.
Arguing this fallacy further, Albaraka states:
“The same principle is applied to intellectual property: intellectual property cannot be sold independently but can be sold subsequent to the relative tangible asset being traded.”
This claim is erroneous. The Shariah does not recognize the concept of ‘intellectual property’. It recognizes Huqooq (Rights). But such huqooq are not property or ‘intellectual property’ as averred by Albaraka Bank. Rights in the Shariah are pure rights (Huqooq-e-Mujarradah). It is false to say that “ ‘intellectual property’ can be sold subsequent to the tangible asset being traded.” This leads to the misleading conclusion that after a tangible object has been sold, another sale may be transacted for the purchase of the rights attached to the tangible object which has already been sold.
The Huqooq come attached to the tangible asset. The rights are inseparable from the sold tangible asset. The Huqooq do not form a separate subject for a sale transaction. The Shariah does not recognize the western concept of ‘intellectual property’ just as it does not accept the validity of the capitalist concept of a legal entity being a legal ‘person’ with rights and obligations.
Rights cannot be detached from a tangible asset and sold as a separate ‘property’ or commodity. Thus, the argument of the validity of a sale ‘intellectual property’ is fallacious and has been presented to deceive unwary people.
Albaraka Bank presents the following example for the application of the ‘legal maxim’:
“Another example is the selling of a pregnant slave or an animal, the unborn cannot be sold independently but can be sold with the parent.”
The phraseology is highly misleading and presents a false picture of the Shar’i reality of the transaction. The phraseology of Albaraka Bank creates the idea that two separate sales can be transacted regarding the pregnant animal: first is the sale of the animal, then that of the unborn. The unborn automatically goes with the pregnant animal and is an inseparable constituent of the animal in the same way as the animal’s stomach, legs, ears, etc. Albaraka’s argument is similar to saying: An animal’s skin (or any other part) can be sold subsequent to selling the animal. But this is fallacious. The implication of a subsequent sale of the unborn or the animal’s skin is erroneous and misleading since no such sale takes place.
The unborn accompanying its mother into the ownership of the buyer does not become his property by virtue of the ‘legal maxim’. Selling it as a separate entity is unlawful and not valid. It became lawful for the buyer of its mother not on the basis of the ‘legal maxim’, but on the basis of the sale transaction in the same way as the animal’s legs, skin and all its parts became the property of the buyer.
Let as assume that the unborn was removed and separated from its mother or the horns are separated. It will now be permissible to sell these items independently without the need for the sale to be ‘subsequent’ to the sale of the animal from which these parts were procured. But, Riba remains haraam whether it exists independently or in accompaniment with any permissible act. Albaraka Bank further states:
“The advocates that argue for the permissibility stated that dealings with interest-based transactions separately are vehemently condemned by the Shariah. But if these transactions were mixed with lawful means and those lawful means significantly outweighed the unlawful means, then lawfulness will prevail and vice versa.”
This argument is also fallacious. Again the phraseology employed here conveys the idea that while separate interest transactions are ‘vehemently condemned by the Shariah’, riba is not vehemently condemned if it is mixed with some lawful transactions. No sane Muslim, leave alone an Aalim of the Deen, can ever accept such drivel which hover on the brink of kufr.
Furthermore, every lawful thing is not necessarily acceptable on account of its lawfulness. Many lawful things are ‘vehemently condemned by the Shariah’ notwithstanding their lawfulness. For example, divorce while being lawful is vehemently condemned and described as the ‘most-hated’ of the lawful things. No one can question the ‘lawfulness’ of three simultaneous Talaaqs, but such Talaaq is vehemently condemned by the Shariah.
Albaraka Bank has endeavoured to create the idea that riba becomes lawful if mixed with halaal transactions. But this is extremely erroneous and blatantly false. In the first instance, riba NEVER becomes halaal (lawful) if it is mixed with lawful transactions. Secondly, when haraam money has become mixed with halaal money, and the latter is the greater quantity, then too, the obligation is Waajib to expunge the haraam contamination by contributing to the proper avenue of charity the haraam amount.
The Shar’i concept of the lawfulness of the whole compound of the admixture is not a principle or maxim for legalizing what Islam has made haraam. The homologous admixture, i.e. the mixed up money, is a separate entity for which the Shariah issues its ruling of lawfulness if the halaal is more than the haraam. It is entirely a separate issue which has no relationship with the legalization of haraam practices. For example: Money acquired from gambling was mixed up with halaal money which is more than the haraam money. The Shariah rules that this mixture of money is halaal. The Shariah does not condone such admixing of monies. It is sinful to mix haraam money with halaal money.
The Shariah merely issues its ruling in the event of some luckless soul having committed the grave sin of mixing haraam money with halaal money. The Shariah does not say that gambling becomes halaal as a consequence of the admixture. The haraam amount still has to be separated from the admixture and given away in charity without a niyyat of thawaab.
But these Muslim banks seek to mislead and hoodwink people into believing that riba becomes lawful if the riba transaction is mixed up with some halaal transactions. Truly, this is the logic of shaitaan.
Mixing the lawful and the unlawful does not produce lawfulness of the unlawful. Mixing baatil and haraam transactions with halaal transactions does not render the haraam riba dealings lawful. The principle which Albaraka Bank is confusing here is known as Istihlaak which means the elimination of haraam wealth (not haraam transactions producing haraam wealth). If haraam money for example has been admixed with halaal money in such a way that the haraam cannot be distinguished from the halaal, then if the halaal component of this whole is more than 50%, the Shariah rules that the whole is lawful, but contaminated. However, inspite of this ruling it still remains incumbent to eliminate the amount of haraam wealth which had been mixed with the haraam money.
The result of this principle is simply that the haraam amount, not the precise haraam coins, must be eliminated and channelled into avenues allowed by the Shariah. Since the admixture has rendered differentiation impossible, the Shariah orders that the amount of haraam money should be removed from the whole whether the amount consists of the initial haraam or halaal coins.
But, if the two can be distinguished and physically separated, the principle of Istihlaak will not apply, and it will be incumbent to physically separate the haraam component.
Bank overdraft is haraam since it carries the evil of riba. Nevertheless, the money acquired by paying riba remains halaal. The acquisition of a bank loan is one transaction. Utilizing the loaned money in a lawful trade is permissible. But the riba remains haraam. The lawful trade transaction does not render lawful the transaction of acquiring an interest bearing loan irrespective of how insignificant the loan transaction may be in comparison to the lawful trade transactions.
It should thus be clear that the admixture of halaal and haraam transactions does not render halaal the haraam transactions. The admixture renders the whole physical tangible pile of assets lawful because of the inability to differentiate the haraam component of the whole from the halaal component. But this rendition of halaal does not absolve the mixer from the obligation of eliminating from his ownership the amount of the haraam component which has become indistinguishable due to the admixture.
In an attempt to give Shar’i sanction to haraam wealth, Albaraka Bank says in its brochure:
“The first opinion espouses permissibility of participation and trading in the stocks of these companies provided that the profits earned should be purged from unlawful gains. In other words, the unlawful gains should be channelled in public interests and charity services according to certain rules and conditions.”
This claim is erroneous and misleading. This is not the opinion of the Shariah. It is a baseless opinion which lacks Shar’i substance. It has been derived by an incongruent application of principles and a misunderstanding of such principles. The impression conveyed by this averment is that it is permissible to indulge in riba and all haraam trading provided that the haraam gains are diverted into charitable avenues. The inescapable conclusion is that commission of haraam is lawful if the end is noble. The Shariah rejects this baatil notion. A noble end does not justify haraam.
While ‘purging’ the admixture of haraam and halaal monies from the haraam-halaal admixture by giving the haraam amount to charity, participation in the haraam or riba transaction remains haraam and the perpetrator is deserving of severe Divine Punishment. He has to repent for having participated in unlawful riba transactions. Purging the money from its haraam component is not Taubah. Taubah is subsequent to the act of purgation which by itself does not absolve the perpetrator of the heinous sin of indulgence in haraam transactions.
Albaraka Bank has attempted to peddle the notion that it is perfectly permissible to engage in haraam trade and riba dealings as long as the intention is to channel the ill-gotten haraam gain into charitable avenues. This is a travesty of the truth. The Shariah does not permit this. The act of purgation is merely a device for absolution after the sin was committed and the Muslim desires to purify himself and his wealth from the haraam pollution. Purgation of wealth is not a licence for participation in riba dealings.
Mismanipulation of legal maxims and Shar’i principles has become a salient feature of the capitalist Muslims who utilize the Deen for satisfying their inordinate monetary and worldly cravings.
Another argument presented by Albaraka Bank for permissibility to participate in riba trading is:
“The advocates that argue for permissibility substantiated the aforementioned legal maxim by quoting the learned Scholar Ibn Taymiyya (R.A.), who argued that necessity permits things that are impermissible as in the case of permissibility of barter sale or exchange between the ripe dates for unripe dates, as impermissibility will lead to putting people in a very difficult situation due to their dire needs.”
A better attempt should have been made than citing Ibn Taimiyyah with an example of ripe and unripe fruit for legalizing participation in Riba trading. The principle: Dhurooraat (dire necessities) make lawful prohibitions, is as old as Islam. The Qur’aan Majeed states the basis for this principle. It is not a principle which Ibn Taimiyyah developed in the 7th century of the Islamic era. In relation to the Aimmah-e- Mujtahideen of the very first century, who had formulated this principle on the basis of the Qur’aan, Ibn Taimiyyah is a veritable non-entity.
This principle cannot be presented as a Shar’i basis for legalizing the participation of Muslim banks in riba trading with kuffaar companies. Investing in kuffaar riba companies is not compelled by Dhuroorah (Dire Need). Non-participation in these companies does not lead to any “very difficult situation” beyond normal endurance. The vast majority of Muslims, perhaps 99.9%, does not participate in the investment schemes of the Muslim capitalist bankers, and they do not suffer in consequence thereof.
The Fiqhi principle mentioned above may not be mismanipulated to legalize the grave sin and evil of riba which is prohibited by Qat’i Nusoos (Absolute Proofs of the Qur’aan and the highest category of Ahaadith). There is absolutely no scope for the invocation of this principle for the purpose of satisfying the pecuniary motives of the capitalist entrepreneurs. No Muslim had suffered when these so-called ‘Islamic’ banks had not yet mushroomed, and no one will suffer should they disappear into oblivion. It is ridiculous to employ the principle of legalizing prohibitions for the acquisition of luxuries and provision of comforts. The argument is thus fallacious and does not facilitate Albaraka’s attempt to legalize haraam riba.
A further fallacy tendered by Albaraka for participation in riba companies is:
“The advocates that argue for permissibility substantiate the aforementioned legal maxim by stating that the majority of scholars of Fiqh and Islamic jurisprudence approved that it is permissible to trade in funds and that the unlawful part is negligible by any form of usage which the Shariah has sanctioned.”
This argument is devoid of substance and does not substantiate the claim of permissibility of participation and trading with kuffaar companies which engage in riba transactions. In this argument, Albaraka Bank seeks to substantiate the ‘legal maxim’ it has cited in its abortive bid to legalize its participation and trading in stocks of the kuffaar riba companies. It is indeed superfluous to endeavour to produce substantiation for a legal maxim which has not been challenged by anyone. No one refutes the validity of the legal maxims which the illustrious Fuqaha of the Khairul Quroon era had evolved on the basis of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith.
Substantiation is not required for the “aforementioned legal maxim”. Substantiation (Shar’i proof) is required for bolstering the haraam participation of these banks.
The contention of the permissibility of trading in funds was never challenged. Bayus Sarf is unanimously permissible in the Shariah. No one is disputing this fact. What is refuted and branded as haraam, is the participation of the so-called Islamic banks in the trading activities with kuffaar riba companies. Thus the citation of this Fiqhi principle is nothing but an attempt to load the list of ‘proofs’ to awe those who lack in the knowledge of the Shariah. Or perhaps the citation was prompted by the lack of understanding of the meaning of the Shariah’s principles by those who have set themselves up as muftis in the office of Albaraka Bank.
A further fiction tendered to legalize the haraam participation is the bank’s averment:
“The advocates that argue for permissibility stated that if lawful is the majority, then the legality of such an act prevails although it might involve some unlawful acts.”
The inordinate craving for making quick money regardless of the methods of acquisition, has driven the ‘Islamic’ banks into a state of madness produced by shaitaan. Fiqhi principles are presented to scuttle the Shariah –to legalize swine flesh and the vice of riba when there is absolutely no dire need to save life and limb. The Deen has become a toy in the hands of insane entrepreneurs –driven to insanity by the touch of shaitaan. They lack proper knowledge of the masaail of Tahaarat and Salaat, yet these capitalists regard themselves qualified to issue verdicts on issues of grave Shar’i importance.
How simply and stupidly have they understood the issue of legalizing haraam! It is not as simple as Albaraka Bank puts it, viz., that a haraam becomes halaal merely by a majority of halaal. Ten riba transactions never become halaal if the same person enters into 20 halaal dealings, or if the ten riba transactions form part of a conglomeration of dealings of which the major part consists of halaal contracts. Ten lawful acts of Sadqah never render halaal one act of gambling, for example.