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f:1229 -    Does mobile phone recharge come under usury?
Country : Yadgir, India,
Name : Masroor Ahmed
Question:     In mobile phones, when we recharge them we get less talk-time than the amount we pay.  For e.g., if we recharge for Rs. 100, we get Rs. 86 worth of talk-time.  Does this reduction of money’s worth come under usury?  Is the amount which we pay more than the talk-time we get usury?  If so, what can we do?
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Answer:     The amount which we pay to the telecom companies for recharge and the talk-time that we get less than the paid amount, it is all permissible in light of the Shariah.  It is not a usurious transaction.  The money given to the mobile phone is not currency per se, but is an assurance by the company that one can use it to this extent.  Also, with the “balance” that we get in our phones, we derive benefit from the particular telecom company only.  We don’t use that to buy anything else or in some other transaction.

Thus, if you recharge your mobile for Rs. 100 and get Rs. 86 worth of talk-time, it is not a usurious transaction.  The ruling for recharges of other denominations (like recharging with Rs. 50 and getting 41, recharging with Rs. 30 and getting Rs. 23, etc.) is also the same.

And Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) knows best.

Mufti Hafidh Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri

[Professor, Islamic Law, Jamia Nizamia,
Founder-Director, Abul Hasanaat Islamic Research Center]
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