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Purchasing a flat for family use through a bank


I want to buy a flat for family use, not for commercial purposes, and need to go through bank. Some Muftis may say this purchase is out of necessity, while other would say the transaction is pure Riba. Would you please clarify this subject?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is known that buying through Riba (interest and/or usury) banks means that the bank pays on behalf of the buyer and adds interests. No doubt that this is pure Riba. Indeed, it is established in the Sharee’ah that Riba is forbidden by the Quran, the Sunnah and the consensus of the scholars. On the other hand, there is no difference for the prohibition of Riba between what is for investment and what is for consumption. But if the Muslim is in dire need and he could not have an alternative to Riba, then it becomes lawful for him to deal with Riba without exceeding the minimum necessary. Allaah Says (what means): {…while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity?}[Quran 6:119] Allaah also Says (what means): {…But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful.}[Quran 2:173]

Some scholars limited the extent of necessity to the situation where the person cannot feed himself or his family and fears for himself or his family to pass away, or the situation where he cannot find a shelter even by rent, or the situation where he could not find something to cloth himself or his family. In such situations, Riba becomes lawful as long as the transaction does not exceed the minimum necessity.

So, if you are in real need and cannot find a place to rent, then it is lawful for you to satisfy your need without excess. But if you are not in real need, you should fear Allaah and stay away from Riba. Allaah Says (what means): {O you who have believed, fear Allaah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allaah and His Messenger.}[Quran 2:278-279]

Allaah Knows best.

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