One of Ottawa’s leading imams, Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed, has issued a fatwa against credit cards, even if they are paid off every month.

“I conclude that it contains usury … which is forbidden in Islam, so it should not be used,” Imam Syed said in a mass email to members of the city’s main mosque. There are two schools of thought about credit cards among Islamic scholars. Some argue they are permissible as long as no interest is accrued, meaning bills must always be paid in full.

In response to a member of the mosque who asked whether she should destroy a card she keeps for emergency purposes, Imam Syed replied in the mass email that she should rely instead on a prepaid credit card that can be loaded with set amounts. Cardholders can only spend what is on the card, and no interest is incurred.

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