Is the Rewards Account in Natwest Bank Shariah compliant?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The Natwest Rewards Account is non-Shariah compliant. Hence, it is not permissible to avail of such a facility.
The utility providers are the creditor & the customer is the debtor. The bank as an intermediary is the agent of the customer. The bank forwards the outstanding balance to the utility provider from the client’s account.
The bank in such a scheme is offering to give 3% cashback of selected household bills as a reward on condition one pays £3 fees per month. Thus, The 3% rewards are in lieu of the £3 monthly fees. Such a bilateral contract where a percentage cashback is rewarded in lieu of £3 is Ribā (interest). Such a transaction involves the possibility of Ribā al-Fadhl where the quantity of the same counter value is different. In addition, it incorporates Ribā al-Nasī’ah as the possession of the counter exchange of the same genus is at a future date.
Ribā is expressly prohibited in the Qur’ān and Sunnah. Allah Ta’ālā states:
“Seized in this state they say: ‘Buying and selling is but a kind of interest’, even though Allah has made buying and selling lawful, and interest unlawful” (Qur’ān 2:275).
“O those who believe, fear Allah and give up what still remains of the Riba if you are believers. But if you do not do so, then be warned of war from Allah and His Messenger. If you repent even now, you have the right of the return of your capital; neither will you do wrong nor will you be wronged” (Qur’ān 2:278-279).
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Sell gold in exchange of equivalent gold, sell silver in exchange of equivalent silver, sell dates in exchange of equivalent dates, sell wheat in exchange of equivalent wheat, sell salt in exchange of equivalent salt, sell barley in exchange of equivalent barley, but if a person transacts in excess, it will be usury (Riba). However, sell gold for silver anyway you please on the condition it is hand-to-hand (spot) and sell barley for dates anyway you please on the condition it is hand-to-hand (spot).” (ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
And Allah Ta’ālā Alone Knows Best
Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,
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