This is the number one question in the minds of majority of Muslims around the world – Is cryptocurrency Halal (permissible) or Haram (non-permissible) under the Islamic laws and jurisprudence?
I’ve discussed few issues during a recent interview for LonHash. Here I have gathered open questions for Islamic scholars around the world to help us understand the Islamic point of view on money and wealth in general and for cryptocurrencies in particular. The list is non-exhaustive, but will provide a good starting point for anyone seeking the surety or plausible deniability of sharia-compliance for cryptocurrency and assets.
What do esteemed Islamic jurists and scholars say about the following:
1. What is the Islamic definition of ‘money’? From the Islamic point of view, what is it that we can identify as ‘money’?
2. What is the difference between ‘money’ and ‘currency’?
3. Does the definition of ‘money’ appear in the Holy Quran and Ahadith or has this been derived from tradition or scholarly opinion?
4. Is blockchain, a public account / facility for financial transactions, in itself permissible or non-permissible?
5. Will you declare digital currency, created via the complex mathematics of cryptography, non-permissible?
6. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like it, such as Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple, all originated with the help of blockchain and cryptography and are fast gaining popularity among the public. Do these, in themselves, contain some culpability from the Islamic point of view?
7. Some people also utilize cryptocurrency for illegal tasks, for example in the trade of drugs or payment of crime. In such cases, will this specific use of cryptocurrency be non-permissible or will the cryptocurrency itself be non-permissible?
8. If, keeping the public’s welfare and ignorance in mind, you declare cryptocurrency to be non-permissible from the perspective of potential damage, would you clarify that this is being said in the interest of the public, and not that cryptocurrency on its own merit is non-permissible?
9. No doubt, the 21st century is characterized by inventions and new, uncharted technology. Specific examples of many of these – such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, internet, online banking, etc. – are not to be found mentioned in the Quran, Sunnah and Islamic tradition. In these circumstances, is it permissible to gain education and knowledge about these new technologies in order to better understand them and become aware of whether or not they are aligned to the spirit of Islam?
10. In light of the corruption, pillage and disrepute of governments, people are fast losing trust in central institutions and are searching for alternate systems. Cryptocurrency and blockchain offer such a system. Must we continue to tolerate oppression or could we incline towards another system in order to improve our lives?
Please do give counsel; it will benefit many.
I’ve recently published a book – Introduction to Blockchain with Case Studies and it’s available from Amazon worldwide, Gufhtugu Publishers in Pakistan and here is my Urdu Book (بٹ کوائن، بلاک چین اور کرپٹو کرنسی) on the subject as well.