As many of you are aware, this blog was created firstly to vent my frustration at university fees in the UK which have been made more difficult for people like myself who cannot take out interest based loans for religious reasons, which are of course based on moral reasoning.
Many people would tell you that the system of interest in wrong but then they would shrug and say, well there is no avoiding it these days. That is sadly true which means that paying for my university fees is a huge, massive and terrible headache. First off, like many students I do not fancy the idea of paying such crazy amounts for university but at the end of the day, I would still pay it because that is what I have to do if I want to study at a higher level.
However, the problem occurs when the tuition fees system adopted by the UK government is one that is based on interest. This means that as a Muslim, I cannot take a loan out from them as dealing in interest (usury) is classified as a major sin. This has discouraged Muslim students from entering university in recent years as previously when the limit was £3,000 a year, students could save up and pay it themselves or with the help of family. Now with the fees at £9,000 a year, it has made things extremely difficult. The government have recently put forward a system that would be suitable for Muslims so I am really hoping they actually put it into practice as the consequences would be great. Honestly, my financial worries are all based around this problem. If I could take a tuition fees loan out, it would leave me with enough money to comfortably go through university.
This does not mean the current system justifies the high tuition fees as claimed by the government but the fact is being able to take out a student loan would certainly make things easier for me. Instead, I shall have to rely on family to lend me some money which yes, I can imagine being quite awkward. Either that or I start fundraising for my own degree which basically would be begging, right?
Anyway, so why is interest forbidden for Muslims? The reasons are many and actually not so complex. The idea is that money cannot be made from money, it has to be made through some effort. Also, in contrast to the headlines newspapers like the daily mail blare out, Muslims are not against tuition fees because they just want to pay less (as claimed by newspapers like the Daily Mail) but because it is impermissible completely.
This means if I borrow money from a friend or a relative, I will pay back exactly that amount, nothing more. This encourages solidarity as you’re helping a person out purely because you want to, not for any monetary gain. It also means the rich cannot take advantage of the poor by holding them to ransom. It is quite amazing to see that if we look at interest in a logical way without any religious influence, we can see it has many defects. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am merely pointing out why I am not permitted to deal in interest and why paying for university is that much more difficult for me.
So let’s just hope that the system changes to accommodate the needs of certain people, which would encourage students from all backgrounds to enter into university.
Until Next Time,
A Worried Student