To learn more about Shariah Investment Articles, click here

Islamists Split Over Dropping Loans

Kuwait’s National Assembly is surprisingly split on the issue of interest under Shariah Law. “Renowned Kuwaiti clergyman Ajeel Al-Nashmi said, ‘it's also against Sharia for the government to pay interest back to the banks because interest itself is a sin in Islam.’… In a press release yesterday, Bader Al-Shebeeb, General Secretary of the Salafi movement in Kuwait said that according to a Fatwa issued by noted Saudi cleric Ibn Uthaimeen, issuing interest in a loan is compliant with Sharia law.”



Kuwait Times
January 5,2010
Kuwait City, Kuwait

The debate to write off the interest on citizen's loans gained intensity hours before the historic National Assembly session today. Prior to the second reading of the proposed bill, government officials, Members of Parliament, Sharia experts and activist exclaimed their perspectives on the proposed piece of legislation. While the government and a number of MPs have taken opposing sides on the issue, the newest debate has occurred within the Islamist movement. Islamists have begun openly debating the legitimacy of paying off interest based debts according to the Islamic tradition.

Renowned Kuwaiti clergyman Ajeel Al-Nashmi said at a press conference that it is legally and religiously immoral to differentiate between those citizens "who took loans and those who didn't." He added, "it's also against Sharia for the government to pay interest back to the banks because interest itself is a sin in Islam.

The ex-Minister and member of the Salafi movement, Ahmad Baqer, said that the proposed legislation will overshadow the insolvent's fund and cost the government more than KD 6 billion. He argued that the proposed law violates financial, constitutional and religious principles.

Bader Al-Shebeeb, General Secretary of the Salafi movement in Kuwait, disagreed. In a press release yesterday, Al-Shebeeb said that according to a Fatwa issued by noted Saudi cleric Ibn Uthaimeen, issuing interest in a loan is compliant with Sharia law. Also, Al-Shebeeb referred to the insolvent's fund as "part of the problem rather than a solution" and rejected all justifications to vote against the bill by representatives from both the government and Parliament.

In addition to the religious debate, the political debate is heating up between the government and a number of MPs in favor of the law. Minister of State for Development and Housing Affairs, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad, said the bill "contains a number of discrepancies and loopholes in addition to being incompatible with the banking system and unfair." Al-Fahad made his comments yesterday during a joint press conference with the Minister of Finance, Mustafa Al-Shemali, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, (CBK) Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah.

During the press conference the Governor of CBK said the proposed legislation does not offer any solution for loans taken from investment companies and only addresses loans from banks. Many of the supporters of the bill argue that the government bailed out banks and investment companies and should now help citizens in need as well. A number of MPs expressed confidence about the bills acceptance in the Parliament and warned the government against maneuvering around passing the law. MP Askar Al-Enizi said th e government should respect parliamentary majority. Also, MP Saad Al-Khanfoor said "the government should not be arrogant in this regard.

 

To view a listing of the articles within this section, please click here.