The 26th All India Fiqh Seminar held in the holy town of Ujjain on March 6 to 8, attended by some 250 ulema, offered several suggestions pertaining to the availing of benefits from Government schemes, including the following:
1- One can avail of loans under Government schemes if the borrower has to merely return the principal amount, or an amount lesser than the principal or if a portion of the principal is waived off by the official lending agency.
2- It is quite permissible to avail of loans under Government schemes in which the borrower is asked to return the principal without any excess amount within the stipulated period of time.
3- It is not permissible—unless needed severely—for one to borrow from Government schemes in which one has to return amounts exceeding the principal if the borrower returns it after the designated period is over.
4- All such loans wherein one is required to return amount exceeding the principal are not permissible. However, if the excess amount is being taken as ‘Service Charge’ and there are sufficient reasons not to be mistaken as a pretext for ‘interest’, it could be availed of. However, one could seek the opinion of the credible ulema (religious scholars) with regards to such transactions.
5- If the excess amount being charged over the principal seems to be abnormally high and cannot be reasonably termed as ‘service charge’, it is ‘interest’ and one should avoid such transactions, unless severely needed.
6- All such financial assistance offered by the Government for construction of house or toilet, and education can be availed of.
7- Taking or giving bribe is not permissible.
8- It is not permissible to avail of the benefits or financial assistance or loans from the Government by any means that violate the norms set by the Government or by submitting false testimonies.
9- It is permissible to avail of the loans that are sanctioned by the banks to general public in pursuance of Government directives if the Government takes upon itself to pay the excess (either ‘service charge’ or ‘interest’) to the banks.
10- It is permissible for an individual to avail of the assistance (such as scholarship, stipend etc.) under schemes wherein the Government has deposited a fixed amount in a bank as the capital of a Foundation or Endowment, and utilizes the proceeds from their interest to disburse them. (This is normally done in case of Foundations set up by the Government to provide financial assistance for educational help and welfare activities.)
11- Muslims, just as other communities, are entitled to avail of benefits from Government schemes unless there is something that is specifically prohibited under the Sharia.
12- The participants of this Fiqhi seminar remind Muslim intellectuals and organizations to introduce the Government schemes among the larger masses and help them access the schemes.
Land Related Transactions
Land has become an extremely precious asset in expanding towns and cities. Land-related transactions gather knots due to involvement of unscrupulous brokers and complicated rules. The participants of the All-India Fiqh Seminar considered several issues and came out with the following suggestions in the light of the sharia.
1- Lands that have been set aside for civic amenities or that belong to Government should neither be encroached upon nor occupied. Such encroachment or occupation will be termed usurpation and it is not permissible to sell or buy such lands. However, lands that are in excess of the civic amenities or which the Government has not designated them for any purpose could be sold or purchased with due compliance with regulations.
2- Unauthorised sale of waqf land is not merely illegal, but also a sin. It is not permitted to purchase the waqf land from such unauthorized occupants.
3- The property and valuables left by a dead person should be divided among the heirs immediately after his death. If it could not be done immediately and if someone among the heirs wishes to sell the undivided property, he will be entitled to sell only the portion he is likely to inherit. In no case he will be entitled to sell portions beyond his own entitlement under the sharia provisions without the permission of other heirs.
4- It is not permissible for one to buy property or assets from someone who has acquired them through illegal means or illegitimate income. However, if such a transaction has taken place due to unawareness, the purchaser will be considered its legal owner.
5- It is not right for an individual or company to violate the sanctioned plan of the layout for a colony on a plot of land.
6- A masjid is the most important among the collective requirements of Muslims. It will be alright if the individuals or the company setting up a colony in the beginning of the process converts the land set aside for civic amenities such as playground etc. for construction of a mosque if the said plot fulfills all the requirement for a place of worship. But once the colony has come up, a decision to this effect can be taken only with the consent of all the residents.
7- Muslims should fulfill procedural formalities while setting up a colony. But if the colonies have come up without these, the effort to get them regularized should continue.
8- Muslims should avoid interest-based borrowings as far as possible. But if there are no alternatives, one could seek loans from banks for construction of a house or even for setting up colonies.
9- It is not permissible to sell a land to other purchasers if the seller has himself made a token advance payment for purchase for himself and has not established his right as owner of the same.
10- If the owner of a land receives some token advance payment for sale of the same to another buyer and makes a pledge to make the full payment within a deadline, he is permitted to proceed with such transactions. However, if he is not able to get the possession of the land to his buyer, he will be liable to return the entire sale amount to the said buyer.
11-Land transaction through a broker in which the owner of the land and his whereabouts are not known is not permissible.
The following scholars participated in the deliberations at the 26th session of the Islamic Fiqh Academy at Ujjain:
Mufti Sulaiman Mansoorpuri, Qazi Mushtaq Nadvi, Mufti Sanaul Huda, Maulana Nematullah Azmi, Maulana Ubaidullah Assadi, Mufti Zafar Nadvi, Mufti Abdullah Maaroofi, Mufti Junaid Falahi, Mufti Abulkalam, Dr. Abdullah Joolam, Mufti Neamatullah, Mufti Qteeq Ahmed Bastavi, Mufti Junaid Alam Nadvi, Maulana Qasim Muzaffarpuri, Maulana Burhanuddin Sambhali, Mufti Ahmed Delvi, Maulana Yusuf, Qazi Abdul Jaleel, Maulana Noorul Huq Rahmani, Mufti Shabbir Ahmed, Mufti Sayeedurrahman, Mufti Sayeedur Rahman Farooqui, Mufti Ashraf Ali, Mufti Habeebullah, Maulana Waliullah Majeed Qasimi, Dr. Shahjahan Nadvi, Dr. Faheem Akhtar Nadvi, Maulana akhtar Imam Adil, Mufti Mahboob Farogh, Mufti Anwar Ali Azmi, Mufti Khursheed Azmi.
Publication of the recommendations does not necessarily mean its endorsement by Islamic Voice. It is being published in the interest of general awareness as it comes from a credible source like the Islamic Fiqh Academy, which has been constantly deliberating on contemporary issues in the light of the Sharia for the last 28 years.
(Note: The text above has been translated in-house from Urdu at Islamic Voice. We have tried to remain faithful to the original text. However, there may be inadequacies in conveying the sense.)