London, England –A London mosque becomes the first in the world to accept bitcoin donations a month after the cryptocurrency was declared permissible under the Sharia law by an Islamic scholar.
The Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Hackney revealed that it hopes to raise around £10,000 in cryptocurrency donations during Ramadan, through bitcoin and Ethereum. Muslims are expected to donate 2.5% of their wealth during the 30-day festival as part of zakat.
“We are trying to appeal to a wider audience with the new money,” Erkin Guney, the chairman of the board of trustees said in an interview.
“It’s big in the Islamic world, and we have set up a platform for wealthier Muslims outside our community to support and donate to our mosque,” he added.
Muhammad Abu-Bakr of Blossom Finance in Indonesia investigated the use-cases of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies last month, to find out whether or not they fit with Islam’s strict definitions of money.
“Several recent fatawah issued by prominent Muslim scholars offered incomplete or contradictory opinions on the topic,” said Matthew Martin, CEO of Blossom Finance.
“With all the confusion out there, we wanted to offer clear guidance supported by solid research that benefits both laypeople and practitioners of Islamic finance,” he added.
Abu-Bakr’s study concluded that bitcoin is permissible in principle because it is accepted by a wide variety of global merchants.
The bitcoin wallet address that the mosque uses to receive cryptocurrency donations has only received one donation, worth more than £100 in today’s prices, so far.
Gurmit Singh, Combo Innovation founder, who advised the mosque on setting up a bitcoin wallet, remains optimistic on additional donations.
“If Muslims, who make up a quarter of the world’s population, hold just 1 per cent of bitcoins – or £1.04 billion – then £26 million in Zakat contributions is due,” he said.
“It is likely the actual figure is much higher. Currently hardly any mosques or Islamic charities accept Zakat in cryptocurrency. They are potentially losing out on millions of pounds,” he added.