“Bitcoin is Un-Islamic”, says Egypt’s Grand Mufti as He Welcomes Ban

Egypt's Grand Mufti has issued a fatwa saying that Bitcoin's use is prohibited according to Islamic principles because it isn't managed by competent authorities.

As the world is attempting to figure out whether Bitcoin is a threat to them or not, Dr. Shawki Allam—the Grand Mufti of Egypt—has a simpler assessment: It’s haram (un-Islamic).

Using reasoning gathered from Islamic teachings, Allam said that Bitcoin opens up people to “fraudulence, lack of knowledge, and cheating.”

Bitcoin’s value in the last year exploded from just under a thousand dollars to $20,000 in December.

Towards the end of the year, its value tumbled down to between $13,000 and $14,000, recovering slightly by shooting just above $15,000 today.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt alluded to this, saying that it is forbidden to participate in the Bitcoin market because it isn’t an appropriate medium of exchange from competent authorities.

In fact, he compared Bitcoin to the U.S. dollar and the Euro, saying that these are all currencies that do not have a physical presence.

This is a strange comparison since both of the fiat currencies he mentions can be exchanged for physical cash from their digital forms at any bank branch.

The Turkish Diyanet—its Directorate on Religious Affairs—has also issued a fatwasaying that Bitcoin is un-Islamic, but it used slightly different reasoning compared to the statements of Dr. Shakwi Allam.

“Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation, they can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance,” a statement by the Diyanet read.

At this time, it’s not clear whether the Egyptian government plans to act against Bitcoin since there are currently no statements from any of the country’s institutions.

All we know is that the Central Bank of Egypt does not wish to allow banks to deal with cryptocurrency.

“For stability of the Egyptian banking system, the banks deal with the official currencies only, and never deal with any virtual currencies,” said the bank’s Deputy Governor, Gamal Negm, in a statement released to Amwal Al Ghad.