The system called 'Bentagono'

Q: I hope you provide us with a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) concerning the system called "Bentagono", and which is created by an Italian company. This system is spreading rapidly (Part No. 11; Page No. 88) due to the easiness of the Internet and email. I hope you will inform us whether this system is Halal (lawful) or Haram (prohibited), as there are many people who earned thousands of dollars from it, and do not want to dispose of it or even know the legal opinion regarding it.Here is a simplified explanation of the "Bentagono System": There are certificates for some persons, each of which has 7 names for different persons from a country or various countries. They are arranged from the first to the seventh; the one who attains the seventh rank owns the certificate. The name and address of the person who attains the first name are mentioned. If a person - such as me- wants to participate, he should perform three steps as follows:1- I should buy this certificate from anyone who attains, of course, the seventh rank in return for 40 USD.2- I should transfer 40 USD as a bank transfer to the person who attains the first rank in this certificate.3- I should transfer 40 USD as a bank transfer to the Italian company, supervising this system along with a copy of the bank transfer to the person attaining the first rank in the certificate, as well as (Part No. 11; Page No. 89) a copy of the certificate I bought from the company in Italy. Thus, it means that I spent 120 USD. Upon completing the previous three steps, the company sends three new certificates, in which my name attains the seventh rank. Also, the one from whom I bought the certificate attains the sixth rank, while each of the other names moves to a higher rank. The person at the top earns the 40 USD I sent to him and comes out of this plan.Then, I sell these three certificates to three persons in return for 40 USD for each one, i.e., I earn 120 USD, which I spent previously. Thus, I have not lost anything. Each one of these three persons does what I did. When each of them owns three certificates, my name attains the sixth rank in 9 certificates and the first in certificate no. 2187, after 6 levels or at least a great number of certificates are sold from one person to another. Thus, every person buys a certificate, in which my name attains the first rank, and sends 40 USD to my bank account or (Part No. 11; Page No. 90) my mail address. Thus, my balance reaches 87.480 USD. You should note that the person should sell the certificates in a period that does not exceed 90 days, otherwise the company withdraws this certificate, and even gives a gift to the person who sells his certificates in less than 30 days to guarantee the continuity and marketing of this system. This means that regardless of the long period, the buyer will attain the first rank.Attached are a copy of this certificate, the advertisement of the company in which it explains the 'Bentagono system' and a copy of the certificate sent to an Egyptian friend of mine, who has attained the first rank as well as many others from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries who sent him bank transfers. This system has spread all over the world and the balance of my friend has reached more than 30,000 USD, and he still receives bank transfers.After this summarized explanation of the system, I hope that you will give us an official legal opinion concerning this system, as thousands of youth, who gained money from this system, are waiting for it. May Allah reward you with the best for enlightening us about Islam.

A: This transaction is Haram, because it includes Riba Al-Nasi'ah (usury of delay, conditional excess for delay of payment) and Riba Al-Fadl (usury of excess, selling an item for another of the same type, on the spot, but in excess). Selling money for absent money while selling the mentioned certificates may be regarded as Riba Nasi`ah. (Part No. 11; Page No. 91) When the buyer pays money to gain more money, it can be regarded as Riba Fadl. Both kinds of Riba are prohibited in the Qur`an and Sunnah (acts, sayings and approvals of the Prophet). The Muslim should fear Allah (Exalted be He), and avoid malicious gains and prohibited transactions.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.