Islamic Ethics and the Fear of Missing Out in Cryptocurrency

CAIZ MEDIUM
8 min readNov 28, 2023

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Hello there, dear reader! I’m thrilled you’ve decided to join me on this exploration of a rather fascinating topic. Today, we’re going to delve into the world of cryptocurrency, but with a unique twist. We’re going to view it through the lens of Islamic ethics. Intriguing, isn’t it?

Before we dive in, let’s get familiar with some key terms. You’ve probably heard of FOMO, right? No, it’s not the name of a trendy new startup. It stands for ‘Fear Of Missing Out.’ It’s that nagging feeling you get when you think everyone else is having a great time without you, or in our case, making a fortune in the crypto market while you’re left on the sidelines.

Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is a type of digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. You’ve likely heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or maybe even Dogecoin (thanks, Elon Musk!). These are all examples of cryptocurrencies.

Now, when we talk about Islamic ethics, we’re referring to the moral principles and guidelines that govern the behavior of Muslims. These principles, derived from the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), cover all aspects of life, including finance.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s dive into the heart of the matter.

Understanding FOMO and Islamic Ethics in the Context of Cryptocurrency

FOMO is a powerful force, especially in the fast-paced world of cryptocurrency. One minute you’re casually scrolling through your news feed, the next minute you’re reading about a teenager who became a millionaire overnight thanks to some obscure cryptocurrency you’ve never heard of. Suddenly, you’re gripped by the fear that you’re missing out on a golden opportunity. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. FOMO is a common experience in the crypto market, where prices can skyrocket (or plummet) in the blink of an eye.

But here’s where Islamic ethics come into play. In Islam, financial transactions are guided by principles designed to promote fairness, transparency, and mutual benefit. Two key concepts are Riba (Interest) and Gharar (Uncertainty). Riba, or interest, is prohibited in Islamic finance. This is because it’s seen as a form of exploitation. Gharar, on the other hand, refers to excessive uncertainty or ambiguity in a business transaction, which is also not allowed.

Now, you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with FOMO and cryptocurrency?” Well, quite a lot, actually. The volatile nature of the crypto market, where the value of investments can swing wildly based on speculation and hype, can be seen as a form of Gharar. And FOMO, driven by the fear of missing out on potential profits, can often lead investors to make hasty, ill-informed decisions, further contributing to this uncertainty.

Moreover, the ethical investing principles in Islam emphasize the importance of making thoughtful and informed decisions, rather than being driven by fear or greed. This is a stark contrast to the FOMO-driven mentality that often pervades the crypto market.

Remember the time when your friend Ali invested in a new cryptocurrency on a whim, driven by stories of overnight millionaires? He didn’t do his research and ended up losing a significant portion of his investment when the value plummeted. This is a classic example of FOMO leading to a decision that’s not only financially risky but also ethically questionable from an Islamic perspective.

The Concept of Qadar and Sustenance in Islam

Now, let’s take a moment to explore an essential aspect of Islamic belief that can provide a unique perspective on dealing with FOMO — the concept of Qadar, or Divine Predestination, and the belief that our sustenance (rizq) is already determined by Allah.

In Islam, it’s believed that everything that happens in our lives, including our wealth and sustenance, is predestined by Allah. This belief can be incredibly liberating, especially when navigating the turbulent waters of the crypto market. It reminds us that while we should strive to make informed and ethical decisions, the outcome ultimately lies in Allah’s hands.

Let me share a personal story. A few years ago, I found myself swept up in the Bitcoin craze. I was constantly checking the prices, obsessing over market trends, and losing sleep over the fear of missing out on the next big surge. Then, during a Friday sermon, the Imam spoke about the concept of Qadar and the importance of tawakkul (reliance on Allah). It was a wake-up call. I realized that while it’s important to make smart decisions, it’s equally important to remember that our sustenance is in Allah’s hands. This belief helped me let go of the constant fear and anxiety, and approach my investments with a more balanced and calm mindset.

Islamic Scholar Opinions

The world of cryptocurrency is relatively new, and Islamic scholars are still navigating its complexities. Some scholars caution against it due to the elements of uncertainty and speculation, while others argue that it can be permissible if certain conditions are met, such as the cryptocurrency having real-world utility and being widely accepted for transactions.

For instance, Mufti Muhammad Abu Bakar, a prominent Islamic scholar and Shariah advisor, published a research paper in which he argued that Bitcoin could be halal (permissible) under certain conditions. However, he also emphasized the importance of caution and due diligence when investing in cryptocurrencies.

Real-life Experiences

To bring this discussion to life, let’s consider the experiences of real Muslim cryptocurrency investors. Take Fatima, for example. She’s a tech-savvy entrepreneur who was intrigued by the potential of cryptocurrencies. However, as a practicing Muslim, she was also concerned about ensuring her investments were in line with Islamic principles.

Fatima decided to consult with a knowledgeable Islamic scholar who had familiarity with the crypto market. Based on the scholar’s advice, she decided to invest a small portion of her savings in a cryptocurrency that was widely used and had clear utility. She also made a conscious decision not to let FOMO drive her investment decisions. Instead, she did her research, consulted experts, and made thoughtful decisions based on her understanding and risk tolerance.

The Intersection of FOMO and Islamic Ethics

As we delve deeper into the intersection of FOMO and Islamic ethics, we find that the two are often at odds. FOMO, driven by fear and greed, can lead to hasty decisions and risky behavior. This is in stark contrast to the principles of Islamic finance, which emphasize moderation, prudence, and ethical decision-making.

Consider the case of Ahmed, a young professional who started investing in cryptocurrencies after hearing about the massive profits his friends were making. Driven by FOMO, he invested a large portion of his savings in a highly volatile cryptocurrency without fully understanding the risks involved. Unfortunately, the value of the cryptocurrency plummeted, and Ahmed suffered significant losses. This story serves as a cautionary tale of how FOMO can lead to decisions that are not only financially risky but also conflict with Islamic ethical principles.

Case Studies

To further illustrate the impact of FOMO in the crypto market, let’s look at some case studies.

  1. The Bitcoin Boom and Bust: During the Bitcoin boom in late 2017, many investors, driven by FOMO, bought Bitcoin at extremely high prices, hoping to make quick profits. However, when the price of Bitcoin crashed in 2018, many of these investors suffered significant losses. This case highlights the risks of investing based on FOMO and the importance of understanding the market before investing.
  2. The Dogecoin Hype: Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that started as a joke, saw a massive surge in price in early 2021, driven largely by social media hype. Many investors, fearing they would miss out on the next big thing, invested in Dogecoin without understanding its fundamentals. When the hype faded, the price of Dogecoin fell, and many investors were left with significant losses.

These cases highlight the potential consequences of FOMO and underscore the importance of making informed and ethical investment decisions in line with Islamic principles.

Guidance for Muslim Crypto Investors

So, how can Muslim investors navigate the crypto market while adhering to Islamic principles and avoiding FOMO? Here are a few tips:

  1. Do Your Research: Before investing in any cryptocurrency, make sure to do thorough research. Understand the fundamentals of the cryptocurrency and the risks involved.
  2. Consult with Knowledgeable Scholars: Seek advice from Islamic scholars who are knowledgeable about finance and the crypto market to ensure your investments are in line with Islamic principles.
  3. Don’t Let FOMO Drive Your Decisions: It’s easy to get swept up in the hype, but don’t let FOMO dictate your investment decisions. Remember, not every investment opportunity is right for everyone.
  4. Practice Patience and Trust in Allah: Investing is a long-term game. Be patient, make thoughtful decisions, and trust in Allah’s plan.

The Role of Islamic Financial Institutions in the Crypto World

Islamic financial institutions can play a crucial role in guiding and supporting Muslim investors in the crypto market. They can provide valuable advice and resources to help investors make informed and ethical decisions.

Moreover, there’s a growing interest in developing Islamic-compliant crypto products. For instance, some companies are working on creating cryptocurrencies that comply with Islamic principles of finance. These cryptocurrencies could provide a way for Muslim investors to participate in the crypto market while adhering to their religious beliefs.

Future Trends

Looking ahead, the intersection of Islamic finance and cryptocurrency is likely to continue evolving. As more Islamic scholars and financial institutions delve into this field, we can expect more guidance and potentially new Islamic-compliant crypto products.

Moreover, as the crypto market matures and becomes more regulated, it may become easier for Muslim investors to find investment opportunities that align with Islamic principles. However, the challenge of dealing with FOMO will likely remain, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a balanced and ethical approach to investing.

FAQs

To wrap up, let’s address some frequently asked questions about FOMO, cryptocurrency, and Islamic finance:

  1. Is investing in cryptocurrency halal (permissible in Islam)? The answer depends on the specific cryptocurrency and the nature of the investment. Some cryptocurrencies may be considered halal if they have real-world utility, are widely accepted for transactions, and are not associated with harmful activities. However, it’s always best to consult with a knowledgeable Islamic scholar before making an investment.
  2. How can I avoid FOMO when investing in cryptocurrency? It’s important to do thorough research, understand the risks involved, and make informed decisions. Don’t invest just because everyone else is doing it. Remember, it’s okay to miss out on an investment opportunity if it doesn’t align with your financial goals or risk tolerance.
  3. What should I do if I’ve made a hasty investment decision due to FOMO? If you’ve made an investment decision based on FOMO, it’s important to take a step back and reassess. Consult with a financial advisor or a knowledgeable Islamic scholar, and consider whether the investment aligns with your financial goals and Islamic principles.

In conclusion, while the world of cryptocurrency offers exciting opportunities, it’s crucial for Muslim investors to navigate it with caution and wisdom. FOMO can be a powerful force, but it’s important to remember that our wealth and sustenance are ultimately in the hands of Allah. By adhering to Islamic principles of finance, we can strive to make ethical and informed investment decisions.

I hope you found this exploration of FOMO, cryptocurrency, and Islamic ethics enlightening. As the crypto market continues to evolve, let’s continue this conversation and learn from each other’s experiences. After all, the pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong journey.

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CAIZ MEDIUM

CAIZ: Uniting tradition with fintech for ethical, secure & fiqh-compliant financial freedom.