In our country there are some riba-based banks that set up tents to offer iftaar to people who are fasting. Is it permissible to eat this food?.
Praise be to Allaah.
In some countries it is very common for food to be offered in Ramadan; this is done by some charitable organisations and people who are known for their religious commitment and righteousness, or by some business people who we think are good people. In these cases, there is nothing wrong with the Muslim eating from that food, and we ask Allah to decree a great reward for those who do that.
It is also very common for some actors, dancers and others whose work and earnings are haraam, and some riba-based organizations such as banks, to offer food in this manner.
This kind of food should be shunned and one should not eat from it. This is the least that the Muslim can do to denounce the evil actions of those people and to rebuke them for their haraam and reprehensible actions.
It is not befitting for the fasting Muslim to be the guest of a female dancer or actress, or a thief who is well known for stealing and embezzling the public wealth, and to eat iftaar at their tables.
It is also inappropriate to be the guest of those against whom Allah, may He be exalted, has declared war, namely the riba-based banks which openly commit that which is even more haraam than dancing and acting.
It is no secret that these people are trying to draw close to ordinary people by means of these actions and to become more famous. Otherwise, if they really wanted to do good, they would give up the evil actions and haraam deeds that they are doing. That is the best thing that they could do for themselves. And Allah is Good and does not accept anything but that which is good (or halaal).
This food that is offered by the riba-based banks should not be partaken of for another reason, which is that offering this food is nothing more than an advertisement for this riba-based bank, so it is not permissible for the Muslim to partake of it.
The scholars have forbidden advertisements for riba-based banks that are more low-key than this.
The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked:
Is it permissible to put up Ramadan timetables produced by some banks in the mosques, or not?
It is not permissible to put up Ramadan timetables produced by some banks or other businesses in the mosques, because that is something concerning which there are shar‘i reservations, like advertising haraam transactions, making the houses of Allah places to promote and advertise commercial products, and other things that are contrary to the sanctity of the mosques… End quote.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez al al-Shaykh, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, vol. 2, 5/239-240
And Allah knows best.