Interest Bearing Education Loans

By Mufti Muhammad Kadwa
Posted: 14 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1423, 27 May 2002

Q.) I have been accepted in a beneficial program for a Masters in Education.  The problem is that I received only a small scholarship and the rest of my financial aid package consisted of loans (interest based).  My parents are strongly encouraging me to attend the program.  They say that in this society (America), it is impossible to finance one's education without such loans.  Unfortunately, there are few Muslim scholarships (but I am trying to apply for them).

To not accept the loan would mean not attending the program, and not achieving a noble end, i.e. to help the Muslim ummah. However, the ends do not justify the means.  We went to an imam, and he cited the fatwa that in dar al-harb it is permissible.  I went through some of your previous fiqh questions, and I noted that some of what the Imam said was misconstrued; that this is a minority opinion and that most ulama of the Hanafi madhab do not follow this opinion.  I am confused now, because I know not to attend the program (because of the loans) would greatly upset my parents, which upsets me. However, to do so, to me seems tantamount to displeasing Allah azza wa jaal, which is more upsetting.  Please advise me in this urgent matter as soon as possible.  Jazakum Allahu Khair

A.) Your first and foremost duty lies in the pleasure of Allah. If pleasing your parents is tantamount to the displeasure of Allah, you will be sinful. Allah has decreed interest to be haram.

No matter what we are deceptively led to believe as far as the 'compulsion of taking such loans', etc. interest is haram and we are required to abstain. You can apply for a non-interest bearing loan or a scholarship from a charitable foundation.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best