Cryptocurrency is slowly but surely gaining acceptance in the Islamic world.
Cryptocurrency Stellar and its platform Lumens (XLM) are now certified by the Shariyah Review Bureau, an Islamic advisory firm based in Bahrain, according to Bitcoinist.
California-based Stellar has been in talks with various financial firms in the Middle East for a year, eager to enter the remittances market in the Middle East. “We have been looking to work with companies that facilitate remittances, including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. It’s a huge market.” said Lisa Nestor, director of partnership at Stellar.
Mansoor Ahmed, assistant general manager at the Shariyah Review Bureau, stated: “For the blockchain technology there was no issue, the main thing we needed to consider was the use of the underlying cryptocurrency”.
This move has reopened the conversation of cryptocurrency in the Middle East, as many in the region question its permissibility, which has begged this question many times: Is cryptocurrency halal? That’s a question that is sure to create some debate between Islamic law committees. In 2014, California-based Monzer Kahf, a prominent author of Islamic finance textbooks, called bitcoin a legitimate medium of exchange. Islamic jurists in South Africa, too, ruled in favor of cryptocurrencies, arguing that they’ve become commonly used and socially accepted. However, Egypt’s Dar Al Ifta considers Bitcoin haram, claiming that you “don’t know the morality behind any of the transactions involved in Bitcoin”.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, warned their citizens about the risk of trading cryptocurrency, but did not ban it. At the moment, it seems like many governments are unsure about its use, worrying about its potential for instability, but in the same time not wanting to lose the chance of benefiting from this revolutionary technology.
But it is definitely gaining more acceptance in the region, slowly but surely. Back in February, Saudi Arabia’s central bank partnered with US-based cryptocurrency Ripple, allowing banks in the kingdom to complete payments using blockchain technology.
Also, a London-based mosque began accepting cryptocurrency donations last Ramadan, and their donations doubled, reaching more than $10,000 during the holy month. Mashallah.
Main image from Elevenews