Summary of Fatawa
Muslims are advised to give the interest from their bank accounts to a Muslim charity. The scholars consider it more sinful to leave interest money with the banks, as this money is often used for un-Islamic activities.
While it is allowed for charities to use interest money, it is still Haraam for individuals who receive it, to use it for personal consumption. Also, as there are no blessings in interest, people should not expect rewards for giving this interest money to charity. Rather it should be seen as a way of avoiding a major sin.
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RIBA - INTEREST
RIBA IN THE QUR'AN
"That which you give as interest to increase the peoples’ wealth increases not with Allah; but that which you give in charity, seeking the goodwill of Allah, multiples manifold." (Surah al-Rum, verse 39)
"And for their taking interest even though it was forbidden for them, and their wrongful appropriation of other peoples’ property. We have prepared a grievous punishment for those among them who reject faith." (Surah al-Nisa’, verse 161)
"O believers, take not doubled and redoubled interest, and fear Allah that you may prosper. Fear the fire which has been prepared for those who reject faith, and obey Allah and the Prophet so that you may receive mercy." (Surah Aal-Imran, verses 130-2)
RIBA IN HADITH
From Jabir: The Prophet cursed the receiver and the payer of interest, the one who records it and the two witnesses to the transaction and said: They are all alike [in guilt]. (Tirmidhi)
From Abdallah ibn Hanzalah: The Prophet, said: 'A dirham of riba which a man receives knowingly is worse than committing adultry thirty-six times' (Mishkat al-Masabih)
From Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: 'Riba has seventy segments, the least serious being equivalent to a man committing adultery with his own mother. (Ibn Majah)
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qardawi
Quote from the translation of the book 'Riba and Bank Interest’ by Yusuf al-Qardawi, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan
'To forego interest from the deposits in banks practicing usury, even out of Taqwa, is still not right; doing so is much more sinful than taking it because with it non-Muslims establish and run organisations for furtherance of their un-Islamic objectives.'
Shaykh Suhaib Hasan (UK)
The Islamic Shari’a Council, London, UK, May 2002
'Interest money, according to the most careful opinion, is good for any charitable purpose (including educational fees for poor students). Apart from building the mosques or printing the Qur'an'.