Imam Siraj Wahhaj contemplates buying a house in Canada with Zero Mortgage depending on the outcome of the US Elections.

 As the method of slaughtering an animal determines its Zabiha prestige, in the same way the nature of a financial transaction makes it Halal (trade) or Haraam (riba).

Siraj Wahhaj, Imam of Al-Taqwa Mosque in New York and head of The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)in a recent Zero Mortgage Webinar1shared his intentions of acquiring a house in Canada depending on the oucomoe of the US Elections. He also shared a few pearls of wisdom on the importance of living a riba-free life and congratulated enterprises like Guidance Residential and Zero Mortgage on their endeavors to empower devoted Muslims with Diminishing Musharakah Home Financing programs.

Key Quotes by the Imam:

“Based on the US Election Results, if I move to Canada, the first thing I will do is to buy a house from Zero Mortgage,” he smilingly expressed. He reminded us the importance of seeking guidance of knowledgeable scholars before making decisions with lifelong repercussions by quoting a hadith, “Verily, the lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know." (Bukari/Muslim)

Furthermore, Imam Siraj Wahhaj in the webinar shared the hadith:

"Our sheikhs, who have studied Islamic financing, can make Muslims feel very comfortable. Buy a house from Zero Mortgage just like I have one from Guidance Residential in the US. I'm going to say a few words and I want everyone in Canada to be rest assured that you are doing the right thing that is Allah be pleased with you to get a house and do not rent,” Imam reiterated.

How to be Riba-free when Acquiring Housing Finance

Zero Mortgage, a Canada-based Halal financial institution, aims to address this divine dilemma by using the Diminishing Musharakah contract. In a webinar, Mufti Dr. Zubair Usmani, a Fatwa Signatory for Zero Mortgage shared:

"Create a joint ownership in asset between the partners i.e. the client and house finance company. The arrangement of Musharakah is when the partners invest different amount of capital in the joint ownership and own the unit shares accordingly. This is the basic concept of housing finance." 

Even though Islam is one of the fastest growing religion across the globe, options for Islamic banking and investments remain surprisingly scarce even in this day and age. In countries like Canada and the US, Halal banking is still in its budding stage.

Government Regulated Banking Industry

Zero Mortgage has a Diminishing Musharakah Contract that lists Zero (the funding partner) and principle owners, who agree to the contract. The application for housing finance in most provinces often requires clients to sign documents containing terms like ‘loan’ and ‘percentage rates’. Companies like Zero Mortgage and Guidance Residential have been approved by scholars to use these terms in their documentation as long as it is accompanied by a Musharakah Contract.

Dr. Aznan Hassan, also a Zero Fatwa Signatory in one of his responses reinforced the Halal status of Zero Mortgage by stating, "It is 100% Halal, because the substance of the contract that we enter is complaint. It is the legal constraint that the government documents use the word loan. Our contracts do not use the word ‘interest’ at all."

Most countries, including Islamic nations, still use the conventional banking documents that have the words ‘loan’, ‘percentage rate’and ‘interest’. However, since these are required by the governments, all subsequent transactions do not necessarily become Haram in nature. Zero Model essentially complies with the Guidance Residential Fatwa stated below by Mufti Taqi Usmani, the Chairman of Guidance Residential Seven Member Shariah Board, a US-based Islamic Financing Company headquartered in Virginia:

"The calculation of an annual percentage rate to allow comparisons between financiers in which interest is not present is still not modified by the government to reflect Islamic transactions. Such disclosures do not constitute the Islamic contract to which the Consumer is committing. Therefore, the Shari’ah Supervisory Board does not object to the Company providing such disclosures to the Consumer. The Board further does not find that such disclosures, with their references to “interest” for the reporting of tax and other disclosure purposes only, corrupt or invalidate the Shari’ah documents to which the consumer is committing."

Zero has a similar Fatwa, which follows the same principle.

Conclusion

Just as once meat is classified as Halal by being slaughtered Halal, no subsequent action can make it Haram. Similarly, with housing finance, once the Muskharah contract has been signed and agreed to, no subsequent action can make it Haram. Scholars today allow Muslims to sign interest based contracts when they sign up with Credit Cards companie. They allow the use of credit cards as long as the full balance is paid before the due date, which effectively avoids interest and maintains its permissibility.

Home ownership rates are quite low for Canadian Muslims, mostly due to very limited feasible Halal mortgage options. Zero Mortgage resolves this by now providing the growing Canadian Muslim Community a Halal financing option approved and endorsed by leading scholars, at par with what conventional banks offer. Clients can also visit Zero Global.biz for more information.

1Link to Zero Mortgage Webinar:(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQOHa9wbjfEWatch 12 Minute Video)

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