As is evident by a brief history of credit cards discussed in my first post, the credit card usage has begun (in some form or the other) in the 19th century. So it is a relatively modern concept.
In Islam, the main sources of law are the Quran and Sunnah which provide us with suggestions from which the Shari’ah rules/ahkam are derived. However, finding a direct reference about such a newly developed concept in the Holy Quran or ahadith is out of question.
The Islamic Shari’ah includes all the rulings made during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad (saw) which are found in the Holy Quran and in the Sunnah.
Prophet Mohammad (saw) has been a prime source of knowledge for us as far as the Holy Quran, ahadith, tafseer (Quranic interpretation), rhetoric and fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence) is concerned. After Prophet Mohammad (saw) passed away, these branches of knowledge were carried forth and propagated by various Islamic scholars. Prophet Mohammad (saw) had single-handedly assumed these roles but the Islamic scholars had to divide the knowledge imparted by Prophet Mohammad (saw) into different branches. For instance, Imam Abu Hanifah protected the science of Islamic fiqh. After him many other Islamic scholars have followed his footsteps. These scholars have painstakingly studied the relevant Quranic verses and ahadith and then formed principles of Islamic jurisprudence, based on them.
Such Islamic scholars who can interpret Islamic laws, i.e. both the Shariah laws and Fiqh are called muftis.
Mufti Shaykh Muhammad Saalih-Al-Munajjid has out rightly rejected and condemned the use of credit cards on the grounds of riba, which is considered haram as per the Shari’ah Laws. The credit card contract has a conditional riba/interest clause in it. So if a card holder is unable to pay within a specific time then he may have to pay interest.
If a person thinks that he can evade riba by paying the dues on time, then this is a misguided notion because nobody can be so sure about one’s future. The situation might probably change and one’s plans may go awry. After all ‘Man proposes, God disposes’.
(And Allah knows best)