A mosque in East London has become the first in the UK to declare cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, halal and said it would accept donations in such a form, according to a media report released on Wednesday.
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money that is designed to be secure and, in many cases, anonymous. It is a currency associated with the internet that uses cryptography, the process of converting legible information into an almost uncrackable code, to track purchases and transfers.
Religious advisers at the Masjid Ramadan in Dalston, east London, said the currency is halal, or acceptable in the eyes of Allah, if it is “transacted in a lawful manner”.
“Any money or currency is neither halal – permissible – nor haram – impermissible. Guidance is about the value which it represents. If money is transacted in a lawful manner then it is halal,” Zayd al Khair, a religious adviser at the mosque, told ‘The Daily Telegraph’.
“We do not always know the source of cash donations, but we take these in good faith too,” he said.
Due to its anonymous nature, Bitcoin has become associated with buying unlawful items online. This has led to debate in the Muslim world over cryptocurrencies, with figures including the Mufti of Egypt suggesting it is haram, or forbidden, because it is used by some for illegal activity.
But Masjid Ramadan has now declared that Muslims can use it for their Ramadan donations, known as zakat, the report said.
Muslims are meant to give away 2.5 per cent of their wealth to charity during Ramadan, an annual donation which is compulsory for all but the poorest Muslims.
The mosque, also known as Shacklewell Lane Mosque, will accept donations in two different cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, after advice from a London-based start-up Combo Innovation, a blockchain company which focuses on Islamic finance.
The money would be used to carry out repairs at the mosque, offer help to families who are struggling to pay funeral costs and shelter and feed the poor.