Category: Middle East & Islam

Real Estate Fatwa

Muslim Barbie

Matt Carter made an interesting post on the Inman blog about Azerbaijan, a country situated on the Caspian Sea between Russia and Iran, that only recently regained its independence after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. He noted that their banks have just now began to offer home mortgages and so far, they’ve issued 86 loans, with interest rates averaging 10.2 percent.

Why is this so interesting? Because the country of Azerbaijan is 93.4% Muslim. And Islam forbids the paying of interest, as it violates a teaching of Allah. What is specifically Shari’ah (forbidden) is taking interest, giving it, writing it, and being a witness to its contract. Azerbaijan’s official stance has been that it is a secular state. This is the first indication that it is really moving in that direction.

Because the paying of interest is Shari’ah, most people in Islamic countries rent or have managed to save enough money to pay cash for a home. They have also devised an unsual paper manipulation to pay more for a house than it is worth and then buy it on time but not paying interest, just paying more and for longer than they would if they paid cash for it.

Can a Muslim be a real estate agent? Yes, if they have nothing to do with the paying or taking of interest. Which, of course, is very difficult in Western countries.

According to Mufti Monzer Kahf, a job of real estate agent is allowed for a cash-only sale, with no financing or bank mortgage.

He states:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Being a real estate agent for a certain company is permissible as long as the agent avoids writing an application for a forbidden interest-based loan and avoids selling stolen property. What applies to real estate also applies to refering others to the same real estate company for the purpose of buying and selling.

Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist, counselor and mufti states the following:

Working as a real estate agent or owner of an agency is permissible because the main line of business is helping people buy and sell real estate properties. What is prohibited in the Shari’ah is taking interest, giving it, writing it, and being a witness to its contract. It is not forbidden to help people buy and sell properties. Of course, two things are haram: to write an application for forbidden interest-based loan (a buyer may be under conditions of necessity and hence its loan may not be forbidden); and to help sell stolen property. These must be avoided by any agent, whether in real estate or other businesses.

The same applies to the referral because in referral you are also helping in buying and selling, and it is none of your business how the buyer is going to finance the purchase or whether the other agent is going to help in writing the loan application; you are not required to investigate what other people (agent or buyer) are going to do or how they are going to proceed in their relationships.

Thus, in both cases your commission is halal, in sha’ Allah.

Having clarified the above, I would like to add that in referral there is another point that must be clear: When you refer a friend who comes to you on the basis of trust and confidence and you refer him or her and take commission, the referred friend should know that in referring him or her to that specific agent you will get a commission; if he or she does not know that and takes your advice as a friendly trusted advice, such a commission is deserved to the friend not to you. You can’t be a paid adviser without the recipient of the advice knowing that you are paid, that is, that you have an interest in this advice.

I think this is all pretty interesting, especially in light of encouraging home ownership for minorities in the U.S..

Islam Online – Fatwa on being a Real Estate Agent

Niche banks find growth in Muslim market
Specialized services for Islamic communities help local lenders expand. Big banks not far behind.

Fulfilling the American Dream: Hard-Working Families Realize Home Ownership Dreams

They are not like us


Read “Iraqi athletes targeted for wearing shorts“.


What do fundamentalist muslim beliefs have to do with real estate?

The same radical Muslim beliefs that punishes Muslims for wearing shorts because they violate Shari’ah law, also forbids borrowing money and paying interest. So, unless one can pay cash, without being able to take out a mortgage, the dream of home ownership is out of reach for most Muslims. So is investing in any kind of traditional way, as bank deposits, investing in the stock market or buying rental property on a mortgage.

Can a Muslim be a Real Estate Agent?

Real Estate Sales Fatwa

Saudis stop text vote for Arab talent show

Saudi using phone Saudi mobile operator Mobily has stopped users from text message voting for an Arab “Star Academy” competition because of an Islamic decree branding the reality shows immoral, the company said on Monday

Saudi religious scholars last May condemned the hugely popular talent show aired by Lebanese channel LBC as a crime against Islam when a young Saudi returned to a hero’s welcome after winning in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

“The decision was taken last night because of a fatwa (religious decree) issued last year, since the program is culturally inappropriate,” spokesman Humoud Alghodaini said.

“It shows men and women living in one house, sometimes semi-naked and in inappropriate situations,” he added……”

Interesting Fatwa on Women and the Internet

Bikini? No, burqini

Burquini ITSY-BITSY, teeny-weeny bikinis are common — but now multicultural Australia has head-to-foot “burqinis”. Designer Aheda Zanetti calls the outfit an “Islamic bikini” because it has pants and a top. She said the costume, marketed under the name Ahiida and available on the internet, covered everything except hands, feet and face.

She said it had a “hijood”, named after the traditional hijab. Mother-of-four Adeeba Nabulsi said the outfit allowed her to swim with her children in mixed-sex public pools.

Concerned you may be violating your Mufti’s fatwa? Islam Online “Fatwa of the Week”

Exact wording of Bathing Suit Fatwa in Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 7, Pages 383-385, DARUSSALAM

Burj Al Arab Hotel

Dubai Hotel

With your chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, discreet in-suite check in, private reception desk on every floor and a brigade of highly trained butlers who provide around-the-clock attention, you can be assured of a highly personalised service throughout your stay at the Burj al Arab Hotel hotel in Dubai, which is in the United Arab Emirates. www.Burj Al Arab

Apparently, it’s $50 just to enter the lobby and look around….. Burj al Arab Hotel article.

Of course, this place is just for tourists. Saudi Arabian women can’t visit, at least by themselves. They must be accompanied by a male relative any time they leave the house. They cannot drive, they cannot vote, and they cannot socialize with the opposite sex. They can only go shopping at special hours or at special malls where men are not allowed. They cannot go to school with men, work with men who are not their husbands, even drive in a cab, unless the cab driver is their relative. They can’t attend or have a dinner party, unless it’s just other women, go to the amusement park, go to a museum or the theatre, go see a movie, go to the zoo, go to a restaurant or go anywhere else unaccompanied by their husband or another male relative.

Interesting culture. Wikipedia – Saudi Arabia.