Question: Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

A question from the book, The Institutions of State in the Khilafah (in Ruling and Administration) regarding money of Riba (usury) after the establishment of the Khalifah state of giving its capital to its owners … Question: What we will do with the money of Riba? Is it permissible for the state to confiscate it and invest it? Is the cash that comes from the property of Riba as banknotes is haram in itself, or is it due to the action?

From Safeer Al-Khilafah

Answer: Wa Alaikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

1- The answer to your question, “What we will do with money of Riba”, is found in the book The Funds in the Khilafah State (Al-Amwal), where it explained how the state deals with money acquired illegally such as illicit money (Mal al-Ghulul), Riba and gambling … etc. It came under the chapter titled: “Illicit Money from the Rulers or Civil Servants, Money acquired Illegitimately and Fines” Pages 102-104 (English edition), as follows:

“Whatever has been mentioned of what is acquired by officials and civil servants using illegitimate methods is income for the Bait ul-Mal. Linked to this is every property acquired by individuals through any method of increasing wealth prohibited by Shar’a, as this is Haram acquisition which is not legally owned. So whoever acquires anything through Riba, it is Haram and not owned legally because Allah prohibited Riba and prohibited increasing wealth by Riba. Allah Ta’ala said:

الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا فَمَنْ جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَانْتَهَى فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

“Those who eat riba will not stand save like those whom Shaitan struck with his touch. That is because they say: Verily trade is like riba. Whereas Allah permitted trade and prohibited riba. Whoever desisted after there reached him an admonition from his Lord then for him is what has passed and his matter is with Allah. But whoever reverts then they are of the companions of the Fire to dwell therein eternally”

(Al-Baqarah: 275)

And Allah Ta’ala said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ * فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَإِنْ تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ

“O you who believe, fear Allah and leave what remains of riba if you are truly believers. If you do not, then be warned of a war from Allah and His Messenger! If you repent then for you is your capital, neither wronging others, nor being wronged”

(Al-Baqarah: 278-9)

It is obligatory to return the property of Riba to those from whom it was taken if they are known. If they are unknown, it is confiscated and placed in the Bait ul-Mal. This is in addition to the Shari’ (Islamic) punishment of the dealers in Riba “one who consumes and feeds the Riba, who records, and witnesses it”, as in the hadith.

لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ آكِلَ الرِّبَا، وَمُؤْكِلَهُ، وَكَاتِبَهُ، وَشَاهِدَيْهِ

“The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم cursed the riba eater, feeder, recorder, and witnesses.” And he said: “They are equal.” [Narrated by Muslim from Jabir]

Whoever acquires property through the means of gambling, his acquisition is Haram and not legally owned. It is reimbursed to its owner. If its owner is not known, it is confiscated and placed in the Bait ul-Mal, for increasing wealth through gambling is not allowed by Shariah as gambling is prohibited. Allah Ta’ala said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ * إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ

“O you who believe, verily alcohol, gambling, sacrificing to stone and divination by arrows are an abomination of Shaitan’s handiwork. Avoid them so that you may succeed! Shaitan’s only wish is to instigate enmity and hatred between you through alcohol and gambling, and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and prayers. Will you not then desist?”

(Al-Mai’dah: 90-91)

2- As for the second part of the question regarding forbidding the money of Riba for itself or for the action … The answer is that property acquired through illegal work is not Haram in itself, but the prohibition is in how it is acquired or increased, while the property in itself is not Haram. For example, if a person acquired dinars from selling alcohol or through Riba, the dinars do not become Haram in themselves, but the prohibition is in the method by which they were acquired or increased. Therefore, it is not legally owned by the one who acquired it using Haram methods, but the property itself is not Haram hence it is placed in the Muslims’ Bait ul Mal (State Treasury), and is spent in their affairs. The only exception to this is the property, which in itself is haram such as pork and alcohol, which are prohibited in themselves.

Your brother,

Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah

26th Dhul Hijjah 1435 AH

20/10/2014 CE