Last week representatives of the Federation of Student Islamic Studies (FOSIS) called on Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, to provide a student loan which complies with the Sharia Law.
The law states that Muslims should not pay or receive interest on loans. There is, however, some confusion among Muslims about whether student loans in their existing format do violate the Sharia. Currently, the loans only incur interest at the rate of inflation and so, in real terms, students pay back the same amount they borrowed. Many Muslim scholars argue, however, that the Sharia requires that a loan should be repaid “in the same number of units” and that this prohibits Muslims from taking out student loans. The Department of Education and Skills told FOSIS that they would look into student loan alternatives, such as an endowment or tax, to eliminate interest. A spokesman said, “The uptake of student loans amongst Muslim students is comparatively good but we will work closer with FOSIS".ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004