An East London mosque is now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Chairman of Masjid Ramadan mosque Erkin Guney says the donations which can be made in Bitcoin and Ethereum will go towards assisting poor families, meeting funeral costs and assisting the poor in the local area.
“It’s new money. It’s moving with the times. It’s no different from transferring money from the bank,” Guney told iNews while commenting about cryptocurrencies.
The mosque targets to raise $10,000 by the end of the holy month of Ramadan to be used for repairs. Muslims have an obligation to contribute 2.5% of their wealth above a certain minimum.
The mosque now has a bitcoin wallet set up with the help of Combo Innovation, a blockchain start up based in London. The company is advising the money or how to receive, store and sell cryptocurrencies safely.
$26 million in Cryptocurrency Donations Due
Gurmit Singh who is the founder notes that about $26 million in donations are due from Muslims worldwide, he told Hackney Gazette. This is from the estimation that 1% of Muslims who make a quarter of the world’s population hold Bitcoins. The total market cap for bitcoin at the time stood at $104 billion. This has since changed to $127 billion as at Friday May 25.
There is a cloud of controversy over whether bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are halal (permissible) or haram (not permissible) under Sharia law.
A leading Muslim scholar however recently opined that virtual currencies were acceptable. In April Indonesia’s Mohammad Abu-Bakr, an Islamic legal expert noted that virtual currencies fitted within the strict definition of money under Islamic law.
His interpretation was based on the fact that cryptocurrencies are recognised in Germany. His opinion however differed with that of the Egyptian Grand Mufti who had earlier declared fatwa on cryptocurrencies.
Abu-Bakr’s interpretation sent bitcoin prices soaring in mid-April, coming after several weeks of stagnation.
“Bitcoin is permissible in principle as bitcoin is treated as valuable by market price on global exchanges and it is accepted for payment at a wide variety of merchants,” read part of the study titled “Is Bitcoin Halal or Haram: A Shariah Analysis,”
Zayd al Khair, a religious advisor to the mosque said “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. We do not always know the source of cash donations, but we take these in good faith too,” he is quoted as saying.
Al-Khair said he expects other mosques to start accepting cryptocurrencies if the project becomes successful.
Users can make a donation by scanning a QR code on the mosque’s website. Masjid Ramadan is managed by the Turkish Islamic Trust.
Ironically, the Turkish government has declared cryptocurrencies incompatible with Islam.