Indonesia’s National Ulema Council (MUI) has banned the use of bitcoin and altcoins as money for devout Muslims throughout the country.
The head of the religious organization Asrorun Niam Sholeh said after a meeting of the council of Islamic theologians in Indonesia on Thursday that MUI
considers cryptocurrency is haram, that is, prohibited for devout Muslims. He explained that cryptocurrency is considered a sin as it contains elements of uncertainty and betting.
He added that if cryptocurrency as a commodity or digital asset can comply with Sharia principles and can show clear benefits, then it can be traded.
The National Council of Ulema is responsible for enforcing Sharia law in the country with the largest Muslim population. The organization advises the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Indonesia on Islamic finance.
Unlike Christianity, which is highly centralized, there are no positions in Islam like the pope or patriarch. Therefore, decisions of leaders of individual communities or organizations are valid only for members of these organizations. That is, the decision of the Indonesian Ulema Council will not affect Muslims in other countries.
Indonesia’s Council of Religious Leaders has shown interest in cryptocurrencies following a statement by the Indonesian religious organization Nahdlatul Ulama that cryptocurrencies should be banned. According to members of the organization, cryptocurrencies are often a tool for fraud, therefore they cannot be legalized in accordance with Islamic Shariah, although they are allowed and recognized by the government as an exchange commodity.