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Dhaka Tribune

Muslims may use crypto, says Russian Council of Ulema

  • Supports development of internet technologies
  • Conditions applied to permissibility
Update : 23 Dec 2023, 03:46 PM

The Russian Council of Ulema has adopted a decree allowing Muslims to circulate and invest in cryptocurrency under certain circumstances, Mufti of Moscow Ildar Alyautdinov said on Friday.

The Council of Ulema is the scholarly body of the Russian Muslim community, and debated the issues of banking, family law, and blockchain from the perspective of Islamic law (Sharia) at its last meeting of 2023, reports RT, a Russian state-controlled international news television network.

The council “supports the development of internet technologies that lead to an improvement in people’s quality of life,” Alyautdinov told RIA Novosti, which is why they ruled that “the circulation and investment in cryptocurrency is permitted subject to a number of requirements.”

To be permissible, the cryptocurrency must be a commodity, currency, or financial asset, he explained.

Islamic scholars from Germany, Türkiye, Jordan, and Egypt also advised the Ulema in reaching this conclusion, Alyautdinov noted.

The issue of cryptocurrencies has long been controversial in Islamic law. Some scholars approve of their use since they do not generate interest, while others have opposed them because they amount to speculation. Both concepts are considered “haram” – forbidden – under Sharia.

The council also debated whether Russian Muslims could take out mortgage loans to buy housing – the verdict on that is still pending – in light of Russian laws recently adopted to allow the experimental use of Islamic banking and finance instruments.

Muslims in Russia might be able to solve their housing needs through Islamic banking as well, the mufti suggested, expressing “sincere gratitude and appreciation” to the government for its consideration.

Meanwhile, the work on the mortgage fatwa will continue, he said, with the Ulema choosing to “make corrections and additional clarifications to the theological conclusions.”

On the other hand, in September 2022, the Central American country of El Salvador became the first country in the world to recognize Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, as an authorized currency. Recently, Bitcoin has been recognized as a legal tender by the Central African Republic.

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