Republican mufti Councellor Magdy Ashour issued a Fatwa (Islamic ruling) that deems the Bitcoin virtual currency as forbidden by Islam, accusing Bitcoin of being used to fund terrorism.
The mufti based his fatwa on the fact that there is no guarantee on where the money is going because it is not covered by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
Moreover, he pointed to the lack of set rules for Bitcoin; the problem with which, in Islam he claims, a transaction of funds is like a contract with set rules. Due to this not being the case with Bitcoin, Islam will consider the currency forbidden, he says.
Ashour is not the only one to issue such a perspective, Assim al-Hakim, a Saudi minister, also announced in a video on Carbonated website, that the Bitcoin is forbidden because it is a cryptographic form of money that is “vague and gives namelessness to crooks.”
“We know that bitcoins remain anonymous when you deal with it… which means that it’s an open gate for money laundering, drug money and haram (forbidden) money,” he said.
“Muslims should not get involved in such dubious transactions simply to make a quick buck, to make a quick profit. This is not an Islamic concept,” warned Hakim.
In addition to Egyptian and Saudi Arabian high-profile figures, a Turkey also issued the same Fatwa after “the best religious body in Turkey” convened and decided the currency is haram because “the estimation of them [Bitcoin] is available through theory and can be utilized as part of ‘illicit activities’,” according to the Bitcoin forum website.
Developed by Satonshi Nakameoto in 2009, Bitcoin is the first ever decentralized currency, meaning it operates without a fixer, such as a central bank.
The currency is virtual, so all of its transactions happen online and the money itself is untouchable. The transactions take place through cryptography, which is the point of its religious contention. Cryptography is a practice of securing communication by using a code, otherwise known as encryption.
The number of Bitcoin users increased drastically in recent years. Since 2013, the number of Bitcoin users around the world jumped from 300,000 to 1.3 million.
Further, in 2014, major companies such as Paypal, Microsoft, Dell, and PwC began accepting Bitcoin as part of their transactions. Forbes named the Bitcoin the best investment of 2013 and in 2015 it topped Bloomberg’s currency tables.