ISLAMIC INJUNCTIONS AGAINST USURY (RIBA)

DR.S.M.ALAM,
June 29 - July 5, 2009

The Almighty Allah, Who is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, has created pairs of every thing, such as halal and haram; good and bad, man and woman; heaven and hell; day and night; and so on and so forth. The above-mentioned words are opposite to each other in meaning and action. These words have been clearly mentioned in different surahs of the Holy Quran. If we mix or add anything halal in haram then the whole thing will become haram or impure, and the thing is not usable at all.

Riba is an Arabic word, which means increase, addition, 'expansion, gain, multiplication, accumulation, or growth' and refers to the additional amount, which a lender recovers from the borrower according to a fixed rate over and above the principal amount.

According to Quranic illustrations, Riba may be interpreted as an addition to the principal amount for a particular time limit.

Islamic law prohibits riba or usury, the collection and payment of interest, commonly called riba in Islamic discourse. This prohibition is strict, absolute, and unambiguous. Interest, in fact, is fundamentally repugnant to the sprit of Islam. On humanitarian grounds, Islam does not permit the charging of interest on consumption loans as needy persons for meeting their essential consumption needs take these loans. The charging of interest on such loan amounts to exploitation and Islam opposes exploitation in all forms.

There is no concept of loans and credits in Islam for financing, trade, and agriculture.

The details description of Riba or interest stated in different Surahs of the Holy Quran are as below:

1. SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2, AYAT NO. 275: Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand on the day of Resurrection except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him insanity. That is because they say: "Trading is only like Riba (usury), whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge), but whoever returns (to Riba-usury), such are the dwellers of the Fire-they will abide therein.

2. SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2, AYAT. 276: Allah will destroy Riba (usury) and will increase for Saddaqat (deeds of charity, alms etc.). And Allah likes not the disbelievers, sinners.

3. SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2, AYAT 278: O you who believe! Fear Allah and give up what remains of (your demand for) usury, if you are indeed believers.

4. SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2, AYAT 279: But if you do it not, then beware of war from Allah and His Apostle; and if you repent, you shall back your principles; do not wrong (others) and you shall not be wronged.

5. SURAH AL-IMRAN 3, AYAT 130: O you believe! Devour not the usury multiplied manifold; and fear Allah so that you may be successful.

6. SURAH AN-NISA 4, AYAT 161: And (because) they took usury, though they were forbidden the same and (also) because they consumed (other) people's property wrongfully; and WE have prepared for disbelievers among them a grievous torment.

7. SURAH AR-RUM 30, AYAT 39: And whatever you give as interest to increase the wealth of people, it does not increase with Allah: and whatever you pay towards the obligatory charity seeking approbation of Allah, it is they who are to increase (their wealth) manifold.

Allah does not bless usury. He decreases the property acquired by means of usury. On the other hand, He blesses alms and increases the property acquired through resources on which alms have been given. Allah does not love those sinners who, in spite of the divine favors of admonition and riches continue to receive usury and consider it legally valid. That reflects rank ingratitude plus contumacious sinfulness on their part.

PROPHETIC TRADITIONS:

i) On the night of Ascension the Prophet (PBUH) noticed some persons with inflated stomachs. On enquiry, he learnt that they used to take usury during their lifetime,

ii) On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet announced that the entire pagan institution of usury lay crippled under his feet,

iii) Receiving usury is equivalent to 73 sins, the most minor of which is committing adultery with one's mother,

iv) Allah's curse is on these persons; who receive usury, who give it, who stand surety for its surety, who testify to it as witnesses and who write out the transaction deed about its payment,

v) Usury may temporarily increase your wealth but ultimately it will cause shrinkage in it.

From the above Quranic Ayats and the Traditions of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is clear that Usury or Interest is totally banned item. Earning usury through banks or from any other institutions is illegal money and useless for everyone and anyone who is doing usury transaction is not good on his part. Because the Holy Quran has totally condemned such type of income in the strongest terms and declared it Haram. One must open his Current account in the bank, which is minus interest free. Receiving interest money from any bank, centre, company, loan givers, exchange, or any other source is totally haram. We must avoid earning such haram income from these sources.

Usury has brought many miseries to human beings in their lives. Diseases and calamities are due to taking interest and riba/usury and doing bad works. In these days, people are depositing their hard cash in so-called Islamic Banks/Financing Institutions on the pretext that the profits from such Banks/Institutions are free from riba/interest and these institutions have taken Fatawa with the connivance of opportunists mufties, molvies, and Alims saying that such earnings are free from Riba/Usury or Interest. Being followers of Islam, we must trust and belief only whatever our Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have ordered and those orders are really true and final in all respects.

Being Muslims we must obey the order of Al-Mighty Allah that what He (Allah) has stated about usury in the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH). At the end, being true Muslim, we must admit that whatever miseries and calamities have fallen on the population of this country in these days is due to defiance to the orders of Almighty Allah and the sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). If we avoid taking usury the 100 per cent haram money, stop telling lie, back-biting, avoid suspicions, spying, insulting others, scoffing at others, giving nicknames, becoming slenderer, and curse on the poor then Allah will of course save us from all sorts of calamities and miseries and we will live a very happy and peaceful lives in both worlds.

May Allah bestow us with the knowledge of His Deen and courage and strength to act upon it-Ameen.