Rabat – Assim Al-Hakeem, a Saudi cleric, issued a religious edict earlier this week claiming that the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is prohibited under Islamic law, because they are “ambiguous” and provide anonymity to criminals.
“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 money,” Al-Hakeem said during his program “Ask Zaad.”
“There is a lot of ambiguity, if I have dollars and you have euros and we want to exchange this is permissible in Islam with the condition that it is hand-to-hand…in virtual currencies you don’t have this,” he added.
The Saudi Cleric also argued during his show, that since Bitcoin is something “recent” and “new”, it has not been discussed by Islamic scholars in the past.
“Bitcoin is something recent and new and there are a lot of serious concerns when it comes to dealing with it whether it is from the origin where it came from, or the aspect of sustainability and security,” Al-Hakeem explained.
“This is not something physical you can touch, it is not a coin, it is not a banknote… it is something that is virtual… it is as if you are throwing your money in a vacuum,” he added.
As the cryptocurrency has exceeded record of USD 10,000, having seeing its trade value multiplied by 10 in less than a year, he voiced concerns over Bitcoin’s dizzying increase.
“As of today, one bitcoin that was worth 0.1 cents is now equivalent to USD 11,000 plus. This is ridiculous,” he said.
“Bitcoin in my opinion is haram, and Muslims should not get involved in such dubious transactions simply to make quick profit, this is not an Islamic concept,” he concluded.
The cleric’s ruling comes after Turkey’s top religious body also decreed that cryptocurrencies are incompatible with Islam because their value is “open to speculation” and they can be used in “illegal activities.”