Q: I paid to a Christian owner of a property located in
a deposit of L.E. 3,500 (SR 10,000) for renting an apartment. I agreed with him to pay this amount in return for finishing the construction works in the apartment and in return for deducting a part from the monthly rent. Accordingly, I wrote a contract with that Christian person whom I dealt with under the difficult housing conditions in
Four years later, the owner did not deliver neither the apartment nor the money I paid. I learned that he traded in building materials and that he used the money taken from me and from many others in the construction trade without building any thing in the said building. Being helpless, I took the contract, the receipt of the deposit and other documents that prove my rights and went to the police station. I forced him to pay L.E. 1,000 in addition to the amount of the deposit for his delay in delivering the apartment at the same time that houses prices have risen. Actually I went to sign a contract of an apartment that is similar to the first one of the Christian owner and I paid L.E. 11,000 (SR 35,000) which is more than the price of the first apartment. (Part No. 13; Page No. 320) With great effort, the Christian person gave me L.E. 4,000 in installments and L.E. 500 is to be paid to me by him by the end of the month. The question which is of concern to me is:
Am I permitted to dispose of this extra amount
(L.E. 1000) or is it regarded as Riba (usury/interest)? May I use it in charitable ways like sharing in the expenses of my sister's marriage? Please answer me, may Allah reward you with the best.
If the reality is as you have mentioned, it is forbidden to take the extra money (L.E. 1000) because it is Riba, which is prohibited according to the Qur'an, Sunnah and Ijma` (consensus of scholars). You are obliged to return this money even if the housing prices have risen.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!