Top Indonesian Ulema Council declares cryptocurrencies haram

JAKARTA: The National Council of Ulamas of Indonesia (Mui, Majlis Ulama Indonesia) has decided that cryptocurrencies are to be considered “haram” (prohibited).

The legal-religious opinion-making cryptocurrencies illegal in the country was pronounced yesterday.

The Ijtima Ulama Forum, which expresses the consensus of Muslim clerics, then clarified its contents. The ulema’s authority is followed by most Indonesian Muslims, as well as the government and financial authorities.

In delivering the fatwa, the head of the Mui’s religious decrees, Asroun Niam Sholeh, argued that cryptocurrencies go against Law No. 7 of 2019 and Central Bank Regulation No. 17 of 2015. “Cryptocurrencies are haram according to shari’a,” because they are based on three basic concepts that harm others: gharar (being uncertain during the deal), dharar (having negative influence on others), gimar (taking advantage of others’ loss).

The ulema argue that because cryptocurrency is physically intangible, and cannot be delivered to buyers, it can have a concrete value that is difficult for people to know. 

Sholeh added, however, that if cryptocurrency, as a commodity or financial asset, manages to meet certain terms and conditions in accordance with Islamic law, it can be used for trade.

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