Q: Can we buy cars from “Interest Free 4 Cars” company?
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: I have spoken with the company concerned today. I have been informed that the cars are owned by the company and they arrange finance with a conventional finance provider for a period of five years. The amount borrowed is the amount returned. However, if the client defaults on payments the financier allows a [small] grace period but there is then a penalty payment. This payment is riba and so the current structure is not Sharia compliant. This can be remedied by introducing a unilateral promise to donate to charity as a deterrent for default. If this can be achieved and the contract wording can also be made to conform to Shariah principles there is the possibility of a Shariah-compliant car financing product.
PS The company does not have a Shariah advisor, qualified or otherwise. It is simply going by the words of its Muslim clients that it is Shariah-compliant.