The I-SOC (Islamic Society) XVIWatch
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Please note, certain Arabic words are permitted in this thread. Please see translations in the post below.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
As a preface, I would like to again reiterate I am not a scholar nor a student of knowledge and therefore I am open to being respectfully corrected on this issue with sufficient evidence. I hope this post serves as a clarification for everyone regarding the situation surrounding student finance in the United Kingdom at the time of me writing this (2018); obviously the nature of student finance in the United Kingdom can or might change in the future which is why I am clearly stating the date. It is very important, however, to state that this post will NOT give a yes or no answer regarding whether student finance in the UK is Haram or Halal, rather it is hoped that it will provide you students/future students with the relevant facts for you to be able to decide which opinion to follow yourselves as there is currently a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding this topic.
Before we delve into the Fatwah issued by Sheikh Haitham Al Hadad, a learned Jordanian scholar currently situated in the UK and one of the students of Sheikh Bin Baz, it is very important to outline the key points about student finance as these are the working gears and cogs in any Fatwah for or against it being Haram or Halal.
(1) A contract is made between the government and the student.
(2) Money is paid directly to the university to cover tuition fees.
(3) The total amount that the government expects to receive back from the student increases by the rate of inflation per year up to several percent at the goverment's discretion.
(4) Once the student earns over a certain amount (£25,000 currently), the government takes a percentage of the salary over it (9%). E.g. if you earn £1000 above the threshold, the government will take £90. Once it falls below that threshold, no money is taken until your salary exceeds the threshold again.
(5) Once the amount of money the government has taken from the student equals the total amount of money the government has expected back from the student, the contract between the student and the government terminates, and the student keeps all of their salary thereafter.
Important Note: In the above, I have avoided saying the word 'interest' and 'loan'. The reason for this is because although these are used both by the government and people generally when discussing student finance, they have certain connotations which are conflated with Ribaa (usery), which is the crux of the problem being discussed.
Now we get to Sheikh Haitham's Fatwah stating that student finance in the UK is Halal. He likens the points above to a business transaction or an investment rather than a loan despite it being considered a loan by the government. If something looks like a duck, smells like a duck and quacks like a duck but you call it a frog, it doesn't make it a frog - similarly, his point is that the reality of student finance differs from the labels the government or people give them. Below is (my understanding of) his subsequent logic:
(1) The contract made between the government and the student is essentially akin to a business agreement rather than a loan.
(2) One does not give the government a fixed amount of money e.g. £50 per month.
(3) The amount the governement takes from the student is a fixed percentage of their salary - this is like two business partners splitting profits.
(4) Even if the £25,000 threshold (as of 2018) was not there, the student would not have to pay anything if they did not earn anything - this is like two businesses partners sharing the losses.
(5) The total amount of money the government expects from the student is effectively the value of a 'buy out' clause of the contract - this is like if one business partner said ''Once I have gained £50,000 from this business, our partnership is over and you can have full control of the business now''.
(6) If the students agrees to the term that the government can increase the value of the 'buy out clause' by a fixed percentage each year, this does not constitute Ribaa. Therefore even if the government paid £10,000 towards your tuition fees and they derive £15,000 from you, this is permissible, as you were simply continuing your business partnership of splitting your salary at a ratio of 91:9.
From this perspective, it is perfectly fine to take out student finance as there is no Ribaa involved in his opinion.
Has there been criticism or this Fatwah? Yes. Is all of that criticism valid though? That is the question that needs to be asked now.
Some more overzealous brothers, noteably Imran Bin Mansur (DawahMan) - who I have only named because people often come across his videos and he hasn't taken down things he has been advised are incorrect - hopefully intended good InshaAllah but unfortunately went on a blunderous and damaging tirade against Sheikh Haitham Al Hadad and accused him of not being a Sheikh, questioning his credentials and whether he was a student of Sheikh Bin Baz, accused him of permitting that which is Haram by consensus, and so on, with the end result being to discredit the Sheikh and to refute his Fatwah regarding student finance.
In attempting to address the issue, these brothers went to a scholar who specialises in finance from the Gulf to ascertain whether student finance in the United Kingdom is Haram. The scholar heard them describe the key points of student finance (like I listed at the start), then subsequently denounced the Fatwah saying it is permissible and denounced the one who issued it. The major issue with this, however, was that the key point that a percentage of the student's salary is taken rather than a fixed payment was missing from the brothers' explanation of student finance which is central to whether it would be considered a Halal transaction or Ribaa according to Islamic Financial principles, therefore the whole counter-Fatwah was rendered invalid - a Fatwah cannot be made more authoritative over another when it is based upon incomplete facts whilst the other is based upon complete facts.
Similarly, a dear brother of mine asked a scholar from Saudi Arabia but similarly made the same mistake of giving incomplete information, therefore the resulting Fatwah could not be used to counter the Fatwah of Sheikh Haitham Al Hadad. I highlight this issue because whilst doing research, you may come across criticisms like this or you may be forwarded messages from friends stating how this Fatwah 'makes Ribaa permissible' when Allah SWT has made it Haram, thus you should be aware that it is an invalid critique.
All of this said, I again must emphasise that it is still a valid opinion to say that student finance is Haram, but this is for you to personally research and decide - my only intention was to say that if you do choose to take out student finance in the UK, do not feel so conflicted about it as there is a valid opinion that it is fine; if you choose to err on the side of caution then may Allah SWT reward you for your sacrifice and facilitate your goals through other means.
As I conclude this post, a reminder to myself and you all is if there is a valid difference of opinion, we need to be mature in how we approach it - so if one follows an opinion that we do not follow, respectfully leave them to it and do not try to refute them, as that is for the scholars to discuss.
For Non-Muslims a brief list of translation of Arabic words used.
Spoiler: show 'Alim - Scholar
Alayhi-salaam, (as), عليه السّلام - upon him be peace
Alhamdulillah, الحمد لله - All praise is due to Allah
Allahu A'lam - Allah knows best
Allahu Akbar, الله اكبر - God is the greatest
Allahu must'an - Allah is the One whose Help is sought Aqeedah - beliefs
Ashadu - i bear witness
As Salaamu alaykum, السّلام عليكم - Peace be upon you
Astaghfirullah - I seek forgivness from God
BarakAllahu Feek - May the blessings of Allah be Upon you
Bid'ah - innovation
Da'eef - weak
Daleel - evidence
Da'wah - Calling to islam
Dua - Supplication
Fatwa - a religious ruling
Fiqh - jurisprudence
Fitnah - trials
Halaal - permissible
Haraam - impermissible
Hasan - good
HasbunAllah wa ni'mal wakeel - Allah alone is Sufficent for us and He is the best Disposer of affairs.&amp;amp;amp;quot;
Hijaab - Headscarf
Ikhtilaaf - diffrences of opinion
Imaan - faith
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Illayhi Raji'oon - Indeed to Him we belong and to Him we shall return
Insha'Allah - God willing
JazakAllah Khair - May Allah grant you good
Kufr - disbelief
Laa ilaaha illa Allah - There is no God but Allah
Ma' salama - goodbye
Madhhab - school of jurisprudence
Masha'Allah - As Allah has willed it to be
Mufti -someone qualified to give Fatwa
Niyyah - Intention.
Niqaab - Veil
Qari/Qurra - reciter/reciters
RadiAllahu Anh, (ra), رضي الله عنه - May Allah be pleased with him
Raheemuhullah, (rh), رحمه الله - May Allah have mercy on him
Sahih - Authentic
Salah - Prayer
Salalahu alayhi wa salam, (saw), صلى الله عليه و سلم - peace be upon him
Shahaada - Testimony of faith
Shaykh - Knowledgeable person
Shaadh - Strange
SubhanAllah - Exalted is Allah over all
Takfir - excommunication (declaring someone a non muslim)
Wa alaykum as salaam, و عليكم السّلام - and may peace be on you
Wa Barakatuh, و بركته - and His blessings
Wa iyyak um - and you plural
Wa Rahmatullah, و رحمة الله - and the mercy of Allah
Zakat - A obligatory Islamic tax to be used for the poor and needy
Books On The Seerah (Life of the Prophet Muhammad)
Spoiler: show By http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/member.php?u=883747&amp;amp; amp;quot;]Ibn Fulaan[/url]
Books on Seerah (The Life of the Prophet
The Sealed Nectar (al-Raheeq al-Makhtoom) by Shaykh Saif ur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
Muhammad by Martin Lings
The Noble Life of the Prophet by Shaykh Doctor Ali al-Salabee
Muhammad: the Last Prophet: A Model for all Time by Shaykh Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi
Muhammad: Man and Prophet by Adil Salahi
The Life of Muhammad : A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah by A. Guillame
Muhammad : The Ideal Prophet : A Historical, Practical, Perfect Model for Humanity by Shaykh Sayyed Nadwi
Short Biography of The Prophet and His Ten Companions by Abdul Ghani al-Maqdisi
Life of the Messenger by Imam al-Nawawi
The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: English translation of Ibn Kathir's Al Sirah Al Nabawiyya
A Mercy to Humanity by Shaykh Dr. 'Aid al-Qarni
In the Company of the Prophet: God's Chosen Messenger by Shaykh Dr. Salman al-Oadah
The life and times of Muhammad by Sir John Glubb
Muhammad: A very short introduction by Jonathan AC Brown
The Global Messenger by Umm Muhammad
Footsteps of the Prophet - Tariq Ramadan
Atlas on the Prophet's Biography by Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil
The Prophet Muhammad A Role Model for Muslim Minorities - Maulana Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqi Nadwi.
Shamail al Tirmidhi - The Compendium of Prophetic Beauty A translation &amp;amp;amp;amp; commentary of Imam al-Tirmidhi’s
al-Shamail al-Muhammadiyya - Translated by Muhammad Danyaal
A Portrait of the Prophet As Seen by His Contemporaries Ash-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyya By Imam Muhammad ibn 'Isa at-Tirmidhi Translated by Muhtar Holland
Ash-Shifa by Qadi Iyyad - MUHAMMAD MESSENGER OF ALLAH
Kitab Ash-shifa bi tarif huqub al-Mustafa, (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), By Qadi 'Iyad Ibn Musa al- Yashubi Translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley
Muhammad ﷺ as if you can see him - by Shaykh Doctor Aa'id al-Qarni
Our Master Muhammad: The Messenger of Allah His Sublime Character and Exalted Attributes&amp;amp;amp;quot; 2 Volumes by 'Abdallah Sirajuddin al-Husayni translated by Khalid Williams.
Al Adab al Mufrad: Imam Bukhari A Code for Everyday Living, By Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari
Introduction and Partial Revision by Dr M M Azami
Bidayat as-sul fi Tafdil ar-Rasul - The Beginning Of The Quest Of The High Esteem Of The Messenger by Sultan al-Ulama 'Izz ibn 'Abd al-Salam Translated By Aisha Bewley
Muhammad His Character and Conduct By Adil Salahi
Virtues Of The Prophet Revealed In The Quran. A Chapter from Imaam Al-Asbahaani's 'Dalaailil Nubuwwa' Al-Hafiz Abu Nu'aym Al-Asbahani (430 AH) Translated in English by Sameh Strauch
Proofs Of Prophethood by Shaykh Abdel Haleem Mahmoud
Books on the Sahaba (Companions Of The Prophet Muhammad)
Spoiler: show By http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/member.php?u=883747&amp;amp; amp;quot;]Ibn Fulaan[/url]
Books on the Sahaaba
Khalid Ibn Waleed: The Sword of Allah by A.I. Akram
Hayatus Sahaaba by M. I. Yusuf
Abu Bakr: Life and Times by Shaykh Doctor Ali al-Salaabee
Uthmaan: Life and Times by Shaykh Doctor Ali al-Salaabee
Umar: Life and Times by Shaykh Doctor Ali al-Salaabee
Ali: Life and Times by Shaykh Doctor Ali al-Salaabee
al-Hassan: Life and Times by Shaykh Doctor Ali al-Salaabee
Commanders of the Muslim Armies
Men Around the Messenger by Khalid Muhammad Khalid
Companions of the Prophet by Abdul Wahid Hamid
Heroes of Islam
Child Companions around the Prophet
Al Farooq by Prof. Shibli Numani
The Lives Of The Sahabah by Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Khandalwi
Al-Hasan &amp;amp;amp;amp; Al Hussein `The Two Grandsons of the Messenger of Allah by Mohammad Redha
Khabbab Bin AI-Aratt – The Teacher by Abdul Basit Ahmad
The Successors Of The Messenger by Khalid Muhammad Khalid
Men & Women around the Messenger by Sa'd Yusuf Abu Aziz
Great Women of Islam
Women Around The Messenger
this op is much better and clearer than the previous one
Hope everyone here has a nice time and our faith continues to blossom. Ameen.
Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu to all