Fatwa Committee UK Fifth Meeting (English)
Conclusions of the Fifth Meeting
The Fatwa Council – UK
The European Council for Fatwa and Research
Concluding statement of the Fatwa Committee in Britain
(Safar 1439 AH – October 2017 – London)
Praise be to Allah and peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah, and all his family and companions. To proceed:
By the Grace of Allah, the Fatwa Committee in Britain – which is part of the European Council for Fatwa and Research – was able to meet for its fifth meeting in the British capital city of London on Wednesday the fifth of Safar 1439 AH, which coincided with the 25th of October 2017 AC. During the meeting, several contemporary issues were discussed, and answers were given to questions that had been received. Following research and discussion, the conclusions were as follows:
The Ruling on Student Loans
Question: What is the ruling on taking a university student loan that the government pays on behalf of students, which students pay off after graduation with additional interest? Bearing in mind that students only pay this off if their annual salary comes to at least £21,000.
Answer: We consider that there is no harm in benefitting from these student loans for the one who is unable to pay the fees and needs such a loan to continue their studies. This is because studying is considered a general need, and whenever a need becomes so widespread, it is treated as a necessity, as many of the scholars of fiqh and usul have stated. The rulings of removing hardship in cases of necessity and severe need are established in the Shari’ah. It is therefore permissible for a student to take what he needs from this loan for his studies. The same decision was previously reached by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, number [18 (4/18)], and Allah knows best.
Working in Information Technology at a Bank
Question: I have been working as an information technology engineer in one of the banks in France for over 4 years. My role is restricted to developing the network for information relating to incoming and outgoing traders, and the bank wishes to take me on permanently. What is the ruling of working here?
Answer: In a previous fatwa given by the committee, it was explained that that which is prohibited in terms of working for banks, is that in which one is directly involved with riba (usury), whether this involves receiving, giving, writing, or witnessing usury contracts. Anything besides that remains upon the default ruling of permissibility. Since the role that you have described does not seem to be directly involved in any of the prohibited practises of the bank, there is no harm in continuing in this place of work.
The ruling of female doctors treating men
Question: I work as a nurse at one of the hospitals in London, and we are not legally allowed to distinguish between patients based on gender, which means that I am obliged to attend to patients of both genders. This sometimes requires me to make physical contact, and at times even exposing the ‘awrah (private areas) of patients. What would be the ruling of doing so at work?
Answer: If the nature of your work is as you have described above without allowing you to distinguish based on gender, then there is no harm in continuing with such treatment, even if this includes making physical contact with the patients’ private areas. However, you should bear in mind that such contact must be limited to what is necessary, because it is only the necessity of the job that has allowed this, and necessity is to be measured proportionally.
Dealing in riba with non-Muslims
Question: I have heard from some contemporary scholars that it is allowed for a Muslim to deal with riba (interest) with non-Muslims, such as taking interest from banks. Is this indeed correct and does the Hanafi madhhab allow this?
Answer: The majority of scholars, including the Malikis, Shafi’is, Hanbalis, and Qadi Abu Yusuf, the student of Imam Abu Hanifa, have stated that it is absolutely prohibited to deal with interest, whether in dealing with a Muslim or a non-Muslim. This is because the textual evidences that prohibit dealing with interest are general, without specifying this with dealing with Muslims only.
As for that which is reported from Imam Abu Hanifa and his companion, Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan – may Allah have mercy on them – that invalid transactions are permissible outside Dar al-Islam (Muslim lands), then we do not see that this can be applied at all to our current situation today, especially not in Europe. This is because the geographical separation and the legal nature of the world today is totally different to what it was in the time of Abu Hanifa and Muhammad. This issue has been discussed in depth, Islamically, legally, and practically, by the president of the Fatwa Committee, Shaykh Dr. Abdullah al-Judai’ – may Allah preserve him – in a separate research paper titled ‘al-Riba wa-l ‘Uqud al-Maliyyah al-Fasidah fi ghairi biladi-l Islam’ and in his book, ‘Taqsim al-Ma’mura fi al-Fiqh al-Islami’. In them he explained the differences between the context previously and today.
Therefore, we consider that the claim that such an action is permissible is incorrect, even according to the position of Abu Hanifa and Muhammad.
Doubts about urine drops after purification
Question: Each time I make istinjā and clean myself I feel something coming out. Sometimes I check and find something, and other times I do not find anything. What do I need to do according to the Hanafi madhhab and what is the ruling of my prayer after that?
Answer: The feelings of doubt that you get after having made istinjā and cleansed the private area, have no impact, because they are mere doubts that cannot overcome the certainty of your purification. One of the principles that all the schools of fiqh have agreed upon is that, “certainty cannot be overcome by doubt”. These imaginations or feelings are therefore harmless. It is reported that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not leave [your prayer] unless you hear a sound or find a smell” [Bukhari and Muslim], and Imam al-Zuhri said: “There is no wudhu except if you find a smell or hear a sound”.
This confirms that doubts have no impact after you are certain to have cleansed the private area, and you should completely ignore such thoughts and not pay attention to them. We also advise that you sprinkle some water over the private area and your clothes after you have made istinjā, so that if you ever feel any wetness, you assume it to be the water that you sprinkled. After this you should not pay attention to any doubts that you get unless you are totally certain that something indeed has come out, and your prayer is correct without any issue. This is what the Hanafi scholars have explicitly stated, such as in Bahr al-Raiq, Hashiyah ibn ‘Abidin, and other texts, as well as the other scholars.
Buying a house through banks
Question: What is the ruling on buying a house using a standard mortgage loan through a bank for those living here in the West?
Answer: We do not see a problem in buying a house via banks, because owning a house is considered a general need (hajah) that is to be treated as a necessity (darurah). As for renting a house, then this does not really fulfil the needs without causing hardship. This is because the one renting does not feel a sense of security and stability while he is renting. Add to this the excessive amount of money that is spent on renting which is more than what he would pay for buying a house that he can own. He then ends up paying such amounts while not having ownership of a single part of the house. Over lengthy periods of time, this becomes similar to wasting money in return for a benefit that does not last. As well as this, there always remains a risk of their contract being terminated at any time, which is especially harmful if he has many children; and if he is elderly or has a low income, then he could be at risk of being left without a home in this case. These are some of the harms, along with others, that one may suffer from due to renting.
On the other hand, buying a house protects one from the aforementioned risks, and brings about many benefits. From those benefits are that one is able to choose a location that is safe for him and his family, and that allows him to benefit himself and his family in ways that would not be possible by merely renting, and there is no doubt that the Shari’ah does not prevent people from things that are more beneficial than they are harmful. Based on this, we do not see a problem in buying a house, according to the method mentioned above, in order to live in. This is on the condition that it is the only available way of owning a house. A ruling had previously been given allowing this by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, number [81 (4/18)].
Taking funding from the Lottery
Question: We are an organisation that works to cater for the youth and to support them in their studies, job opportunities, training, and to keep them away from crime and corruption. However, we are struggling due to a lack of funding. Is it permissible for us to apply for funding from lottery companies?
Answer: Receiving money in this way would take the ruling of a gift. Since the ruling of prohibition does not apply to money itself as an item, but rather permissibility and prohibition relates to the method of earning that money, then money that has been obtained through impermissible means becomes permissible if it is given away as a gift to another person, and its initial ruling in this case would change. This is because accepting a gift is a permissible way of obtaining money.
It was reported authentically that Barirah – the slave woman of the mother of the believers ‘Aisha – gifted some meat to the Messenger (peace be upon him). When it was said to him that this meat was given to her as a charity, he said: “It is a charity for her, but a gift for us”. Based on this, the scholars have said that prohibition relates to the action, and not the actual item itself.
Therefore, as long as the funding provided by the lottery is money, and not something intrinsically prohibited, such as alcohol or swine, then it is permissible for you to benefit from it for your projects, and it is to be considered as a gift. However, accepting their funds is only allowed if the funding company does not make it a condition that you promote them, or that you use their funds in a way that contradicts Islamic teachings or harms the general interest.
The ruling of using collagen treatments
Question: After getting married and being blessed with two children, wrinkles started to appear on my face, especially around my mouth and under my eyes, to the extent that I look almost like an elderly lady despite only being 23 years of age. This has affected me psychologically and has also affected my husband. Is it permissible for me to use collagen injections that women usually use when they get older or during pregnancy?
Answer: There is no harm in using collagen injections for the purpose that you have mentioned above. Using it in this case is merely a matter of treating deficiencies that have occurred and removing them, which is a form of acceptable medical treatment.
Selling medical drugs without a permit
Question: Is it permissible for us as a pharmaceutical company to sell medical drugs that we do not have a permit for alongside those drugs that we do have a permit for? We believe that these medicines are beneficial, but we do not have a permit to sell them.
Answer: It is not permissible for you to sell any medicines that you do not have a permit for from the official body that has the right to give permits in terms of sale of medication, because they are the ones that have the right to decide what is acceptable for sale and what is not. As for your view that some medicines are beneficial, then that alone is not sufficient to allow its sale. There may be some potential risks that you are not aware of, so in order to avoid any potential negative consequences, we advise that you apply for a permit. This also means that you will not be breaking the law.
Marrying the daughter of one who he fornicated with
Question: Is it permissible for someone to marry the daughter of a woman that he has previously fornicated with?
Answer: On this issue, we are of the view that this marriage is valid, and this is the position of Imam al-Shafi’i and Imam Malik, in one narration from him. However, we advise that you keep away from this marriage, because your being close to her mother may lead to repeating this immorality with her, and the shaytan whispers and beautifies obscenities to people. It is therefore obligatory to close all the doors that may lead to such things. On top of this, it is from the perfection of one’s repentance to avoid any situation that may lead to sin.
Applying for work grants using false documents
Question: I am a divorced woman with five children, and I am required to work for 16 hours a week. I have not found a suitable job and I am unable to speak English. I also have some medical problems, except that I am not disabled for me to be completely excused from working. Would it be permissible for me to go to a place of work that agrees to prepare wage slips that suggest that I work for them, without me actually working, so that I can then use these wage slips to apply to the council for working grants?
Answer: This type of action is not permissible for you, nor for the organisation that agrees to do such a thing for you, if you do not work for them, because this means that they will be claiming something that is untrue in reality, which is a forgery. This is not permitted in the Shari’ah nor by law, and it leads to taking that which you are not legally entitled to. We advise you to explain your situation to the body that is obliging you to work, while relying on Allah, and Allah will make a way for you.
The kinship of one that has had intercourse with her father
Question: A man raped his daughter and fornicated with her, so she ran away and married someone. Is the kinship (being a mahram) between her and her father no longer valid due to this, and what is your advice to this girl?
Answer: The relationship of mahram remains and is established, despite this evil action that has occurred from him. This relationship is fully established in the Shari’ah and several rights that she and others are entitled to are based on this relationship, so it is not possible to nullify it. The father has indeed committed a major crime and fallen into a grave sin, and so she should avoid ever being alone with him, because he is not to be trusted. This is our advice to her.
Finally, we praise Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the Muhammad and all his family and companions.
The Fatwa Committee in the UK