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Q: Thanks to Allah, we have a building in an excellent location on one of the best streets in Ta’if. The director of the Saudi British Bank is visiting us frequently, as he wants to rent the first floor of the building for the main branch of the bank in Al-Ta'if; and he has offered us a very high rent for it. The bank would rent it for ten years, paying five years in advance. We are in need of the money to repay the debts we accrued to construct this building and for other debts. (Part No. 15; Page No. 13) Many of us are hesitating about this, but some of us want to lease it to the bank to repay these debts. They say that the bank will bear the sin of dealing in Riba (usury/interest) not us, because we will not be dealing with it in Riba or anyone else - all praise be to Allah! They believe that the bank would just be a tenant like any other. Others say that we will be committing a sin, because Allah says (what means): ...but do not help one another in sin and transgression. We are very confused about this matter. Please give us a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar); can we lease this place to the bank that bears responsibility for its dealings or will we bear a sin as owners of the building if we lease this space to it? We would like to know the ruling on this issue to give an answer to the bank, which is waiting for our reply.

A: It is not permissible to lease places to banks, because they will use them for dealing in Riba. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed those who take Riba, those who pay it, those who record it, and the two witnesses to it. The renter is also included among these categories, because they assist those who take Riba and receive rent for it. Allah (Exalted be He) says: ...but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment. Certainly, Halal (lawful) things are sufficient substitute for whatever is Haram (prohibited). Allah (Glorified be He) says: And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. (Part No. 15; Page No. 14) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.