INTEREST (RIBA): AN EFFORTLESS INCOME
DR. S. M. ALAM
Apr 9 - 15, 2012
The literal meaning of interest or Al-Riba as it is used in the Arabic language means to excess, which signifies increase, addition, expansion, gain, multiplication, profits, accumulation in growth and normally refers to the additional or extra income in form of a profit, which a lender recovers from the borrower according to a fixed rate over and above the principal amount.
Interest refers to excessive or exploitative profits. In the Islamic terminology, interest means effortless profit or that profit which comes free from compensation or that extra earning obtained that is free of exchange. Riba has been described as a loan with the condition that the borrower will return to the lender more than and better than the quantity borrowed.
As Muslims our main concern when it comes to financial transactions is to avoid Riba in any of its forms, despite the fact that the basic foundation of the world economics and finance today is that of Riba and dealing in usury.
The Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings upon him) has foretold us of a time when the spread of riba would be so overwhelming that it would be extremely difficult for the Muslims to avoid it. This situation calls for Muslims to be extra cautious before deciding on what money payment of financial methods to use in any personal or business transaction.
AHAADITH CONCERNING INTEREST:
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 life time, ii) On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) announced that the entire pagan institution of usury lays 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 those persons who receive usury, who give it, who stand surety for its payment, who testify to it as witnesses, and who write the transaction deed about its payment. Usury may temporarily increase your wealth but ultimately it will cause shrinkage in it.
Hazrat Jabir (radi Allahu anhu) has reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) cursed the devourer of usury, its payer, its scribe, and its two witnesses. He also said that they were equal (in sin) (Muslim).
HAZRAT ABU HURAIRAH (RADI ALLAHU ANHU) REPORTED THAT THE HOLY PROPHET (PBUH) SAID: A time will certainly come over the people when none will remain who will not devour usury. If he does not devour it, its vapor will overtake him. (Ahmed, Abu Dawood, Nisai, Ibn Majah.)
HAZRAT ABU HURAIRAH REPORTED THAT THE PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH) SAID: Usury has got seventy divisions. The easiest division of them is a man doing zana with his mother (Ibn Majah).
HAZRAT ABU HURAIRAH (RADI ALLAHU ANHU) REPORTED THAT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (PBUH) SAID: I came across some people in the night of Ascension in which I was taken to the heavens. Their stomachs were like houses wherein there were serpents, which could be seen from the front of their stomachs. I asked: O Gabriel! Who are these people? He replied these are those who devoured usury. (Ahmed, Ibn Majah).
HAZRAT ABDULLAH BIN HANZALAH (RADI ALLAHU ANHU) REPORTED THAT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (PBUH) SAID: A dirham of usury that a man devours and he knows is greater than 36 fornications. (Ahmed).
HADITH - SAHIH BUKHARI, VOL 3, NO. 299; NARRATED 'AUN BIN ABU JUHAIFAH, (RADI ALLAHU ANHU): My father bought a slave who practized the profession of cupping, (My father broke the servants instruments of cupping). I asked my father why he had done so. He replied, "The Prophet forbade the acceptance of the price of a dog or blood, and also forbade the profession of tatooing, or getting tatooed and receiving or giving Riba (usury), and cursed the picture makers."
HADITH - SAHIH BUKHARI, 2.468, NARRATED SAMURA BIN JUNDAB, R.A. He speaks of in a dream related to the Prophet (PBUH) that there was a river of blood and a man was in it and another man was standing at its bank with stones in front of him, facing the man standing in the river. Whenever the man in the river wanted to come out, the other one threw a stone in his mouth and caused him to retreat into his original position. The Prophet (PBUH) was told that these people in this river of blood were people who dealt in Riba (usury).
"God would be justified in not allowing four persons to enter paradise or to taste its blessings: he who drinks habitually, he who takes riba, he who usurps an orphan's property without right and he who is undutiful to his parents."
THE NOBLE QUR'AN - SURAH, AL-BAQARAH 2: Verses 275-281 275. Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shait‚n (Satan) leading him to 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.
276. Allah will destroy Riba and will give increase for Sadaqat (deeds of charity, alms, etc.) And, Allah likes not the disbelievers and sinners.
277. Truly those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
278. O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from Riba (from now onward), if you are (really) believers.
279. And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums).
280. And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.
281. And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.
THE NOBLE QUR'AN - SURAH, AL-IMRAN 3: Verse-130: O you who believe! Eat not Riba doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.
IN THE THIRD PLACE IN SURAH AL-NISAA -4, ALLAH STATES IN VERSE 161: "That they took usury though they were forbidden and they devoured peoples wealth wrongfully; we have prepared for those amongst them who reject faith a grievous chastisement."
IN THE FOURTH PLACE, IN SURAH AL-ROOM 30, VERSE -39: Allah mentions, "That which you give in usury for increase through the property of people will have no increase with Allah: but that which you give for charity seeking the countenance of Allah, it is these who will get a recompense multiplied."
From the above Quranic Verses and the Traditions of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is fully clear that "interest" is totally a banned item. Earning usury through any institution or source is an illegal money.
Every person should take all necessary precautions in their financial and social dealings. If a person neglects in keeping a watchful eye on financial dealings, this negligence will slowly spread to other aspects of religion. The dealings of usury and interest are not only a disadvantage to us in this world but will also be a source of great discomfort and pain for us in the hereafter.