Paylater: Halal or Haram Payment?

The development of digital technology offers and provides many conveniences in various fields. This includes business transactions, buying and selling various commodities, and payments that can use back payments or paylaters.

Recently, a buying and selling system with payment at a later date has emerged, called the paylater system. In this way, the goods purchased can be paid for after the goods are received or with a grace period and even paid in installments. The submission requirements are relatively straightforward, while the process is fast. It’s not complicated or too wordy. So many people are interested in using it.

However, as a Muslim, I am still unsure, even doubtful, about the law regarding the permissibility of doing business and transactions with the Paylater system under religious guidance.

Specifically related to the online paylater feature, the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) has not issued a specific fatwa. However, in the 2021 Ijtima Ulama, the MUI Fatwa Commission decided that loans based on usury are illegal.

Chairman of the MUI for Fatwas, Prof. Dr. Asrorun Niam Sholeh, emphasized that offline and online loan services containing usury are illegal, even though they are done voluntarily. Moreover, many cases show that online loan companies’ attitudes, behavior, and actions are unethical.

There tends to be a harsh and rude attitude towards clients or customers who are considered to be in arrears in installments for a certain amount of time. Such as embarrassing clients by spreading personal data on debts and arrears of clients who are in arrears to the public through the client’s social media contacts. Also, sending a collector who looks scary, has a rough attitude and behavior in the style of a thug, terrorizes, threatens, and “frightens” the client. This, of course, has a further impact, so it is very troubling for the community.

This law applies not only to loans but also to all loan services, both offline and online. MUI emphasized that if a loan service contains usury, the law is unlawful, even if it is voluntary. Because basically, lending and borrowing or debt-receivable activities are a form of tabarru’ contract, namely a state of agreement carried out with the aim of benevolence and helping each other, not just for commercial purposes or donations.

On the other hand, all loan service activities are suitable offline and online. The law is Halal if done according to Sharia principles.

As Muslims, it would be nice if we were able and had enough money to lend. We could do it for needy people so they are not entangled with online loans. In addition, providing a delay or relief in paying debts for people experiencing difficulties is a recommended Mustahab act.

As is known, usury is a term derived from Arabic, which means excess or addition. In Islamic law, usury means focusing on the extra principal debt. The bunch of the top debt distinguishes usury from a sale and purchase transaction known as ribhun or profit, where the excess money comes from the difference in buying and selling.

Simply put, usury is an addition required and received by a lender in return for a debt borrower. Islam has strictly prohibited its people from buying and selling transactions and debts containing usury. This prohibition is also written in the verses of the Qur’an and hadith.

For this reason, Muslims should choose financial services that follow Sharia principles before carrying out lending and borrowing transactions so as not to be entangled in detrimental loan services. Those who consume interest will stand on Judgment Day˺ like those driven to madness by Satan’s touch. That is because they say, “Trade is no different than interest.” But Allah has permitted trading and forbidden interest. After receiving a warning from their Lord, whoever refrains may keep their previous gains, and their case is left to Allah. As for those who persist, they will be the residents of the Fire. They will be there forever.” (QS Al-Baqarah, 2: 275).

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