Could you please elaborate on the issue of buying a house with mortgage? You mentioned that according to Qur’an it is Haraam to take Riba, but it is not Haraam to give Riba. You mentioned also that there are Hadith, which forbid giving Riba also. Why these Hadiths where not considered in your opinion?
Could you please publish your detailed answer on the web?
Jazak Allah Khayer
I have already expressed my opinion briefly in “Riba on Loans from Muslims and non-Muslims and Payment of Riba“, “On Payment of Riba“, “Installment Purchases“, “Buying a House through Mortgage“, “A Comment on ‘Payment of Riba’ and ‘Insurance’“, “Making Purchases through Mortgage“. I will, therefore, request you to look at these writings before reading on.
The important thing to consider, which should be quite clear from the above writings is the fact that even though the Qur’an has discussed the issue of the prohibition of Riba at length, yet it has only prohibited taking Riba. It is obvious that if there exist people who are taking Riba, there must also exist those who are giving Riba, yet the Qur’an has not even mentioned the sin of those who are paying Riba. If giving Riba was as big a crime as taking Riba, the Qur’an, then, should not have restricted its condemnation to those who were taking Riba but should at least have mentioned the sin of those who were taking Riba. On the other hand, as against the Qur’an, a study of Hadith shows that the Prophet (pbuh) condemned not only those who take Riba, but also extended his condemnation to those who pay Riba and those who are, in any way, a part of the Riba-based contract.
Under these circumstances, one option would be to simply take the narrative ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) as independent of the Qur’an and to submit that the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) may add to or alter the list of prohibitions given in the Qur’an. While the second option would be to find an explanation for the narrative ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) in the light of the Qur’an or the established Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
In my opinion, because of the slightly vulnerable position of Hadith, it is of utmost importance to find a positive basis for the content of the particular hadith in the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), before accepting it to be a true narrative of the words spoken by the Prophet (pbuh). It is therefore that I mentioned in my earlier writings that the Shari`ah has prohibited taking Riba only. However, because Riba cannot be taken unless someone pays Riba, therefore, under some conditions, payment of Riba may amount to extending cooperation in committing a sin. If seen in this context, the content of the hadith cited to evidence the prohibition of paying Riba finds its basis in the Qur’an. The Qur’an says:
Cooperate with each other in what is good and pious; do not cooperate with each other in sin and transgression. (Al-Maaidah 5: 2)
Keeping in view the above explanation, I am of the opinion that the prohibition of the Shari`ah relates only to taking Riba. However, because taking Riba is a transaction and like other transactions, Riba cannot be taken unless someone pays Riba. Therefore, payment of Riba in certain cases may amount to cooperation in ‘sin and transgression’. In my opinion, the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) in which he is reported to have condemned the payment of Riba, are based on the principle explained above.
In the light of the foregoing explanation, let us now turn to whether one can buy a house on a Riba-bearing loan or not.
In my opinion, because a reasonable house can be considered a necessity for man, therefore securing a loan to buy a house – and subsequently paying Riba on that loan – may not be considered as cooperating in sin and transgression. However, it should be kept in mind that this would not reduce the gravity of the sin of the person who is charging Riba.
13th November 1999