The issue of digital coins being permissible or not in Islam is a big one and has been asked by many ever since bitcoin came out 10 years ago. However, according to one Islamic Finance expert, Shariah acceptability of digital tokens is just a matter of time and crypto adoption.
A digital currency that is shariah-compliant and would be used by Muslims all over the world to buy halal goods and services has been a dream for a lot of people. Crypto enthusiasts in the Islamic sphere have dubbed it as halal coin, and according to one expert quoted by Salaam Gateway, it is just a matter of time.
Halal coin, in order to be a functional currency needs to fulfill two conditions, firstly it needs to be Shariah-compliant and secondly, it needs to satisfy all the principles of Islamic banking. The CEO of Amanie Advisor, a financial advisory firm in Kuala Lumpur, Ms. Suhaida Mahpot is a fan of the concept and in an interview to Salaam Gateway she said:
The acceptability of a digital halal coin goes beyond Shariah. We need to engage the regulators, the central banks and the securities authorities to legally accept these coins. There has to be support from governments, from regulators and all the stakeholders related to it.
The founder and chairman of the firm, Mr. Mohd Daud Bakar is a renowned financial expert in Malaysia, he also serves on the Shariah Advisory Council of Malaysia and is widely considered an expert on Shariah law. Bakar is also a fan of the concept of a halal coin and has repeatedly shown praise for the currency, even saying that “From a Shariah perspective, I believe this is the best ever form of currency.”
However, he also seems to think that entrepreneurs in Malaysia are not hungry anymore they don’t want to go at it as they used to, in a previous interview he said:
The motivation to develop the system has been slowing down a bit. This should be addressed by the technology community. They need someone to come back and add value to the system.
Suhaida Mahpot an 11-year veteran at the prestigious advisory firm is confident that the idea will grow and there will soon be a tradeable halal coin in the Muslim world. She said:
[The idea] will become more mainstream in time, though there will still be some countries that will not accept [crypto]coins
She explained that there is a difference of opinion among different clerics and governments on the issue of digital currencies. In countries like Egypt, the trading of cryptocurrency has been banned outrightly by clerics and the government. The grand mufti even gave a fatwa against crypto trading calling it gambling and a haram practice.
Countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran have also banned crypto on an institutional level. Suhaida believes that the rejection is due to lack of awareness and whenever it come the issue will become a non-issue. She said:
This is the challenge: perhaps rejection is not a pure rejection, but there is perhaps a lack of awareness or lack of information given to them. We need more engagement with scholars to help them understand further