Dealing with riba or interest is one of the major sins


ribaDealing with riba is forbidden not only in the Islamic (sharia’h) laws, but also in the previous divine legislation. Allah (S.W.T.) says about the Jews in surat An-Nisa’, (Verses 160 & 161), what can be translated as, “For the wrong -doing of the Jews, We made unlawful to them certain good foods which had been lawful to them, and for their hindering many from Allah’s Way. And their taking of riba (usury/interest) though they were forbidden from taking it and their devouring of men’s substance wrongfully.” From the transgression, the oppression, and the corruption of the Jews was hindering many from Allah’s Way and dealing with riba (usury/interest) while it is forbidden. Imam Ibn Katheer says Allah forbade them, the Jews, from dealing with riba, but they dealt with it and took it and tried to deceive Allah with many forms of interest.

The holy Qur’an has talked about riba in many places in chronological order:

In the period of Makkah, Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Ar-Roum, (Verse 39), what can be translated as, “And that which you give in riba (to others), in order that it may increase (your wealth by expecting to get a better one in return) from other people’s property, has no increase with Allah.”

Then, in the period of Al-madinah, interest was explicitly prohibited in the saying of Allah (S.W.T.), in surat Ale-Emran, (Verse 30), what can be translated as, “O you who believe! Do not take riba doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.”

Then, another revelation came down in the saying of Allah (S.W.T.) in surat Al-Baqarah, (Verse 275 & 276), what can be translated as, “Those who deal with riba will not stand (on the day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: “Trading is only like riba,” whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden riba. So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops dealing with riba shall not be punished for the past: his case if for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns to dealing with riba, such are the dweller of the Fire-they will abide therein. Allah destroys riba and will give increase for Sadaqat (deeds of charity, alms, etc.) and Allah does not like the disbelievers, sinners.”

Then, the last thing that was revealed about the prohibition of interest was the saying of Allah (S.W.T.) in surat Al-Baqarah, (Verses 278 & 279), what can be translated as, “O you who believe! Fear Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from riba (from now onward), if you are truly believers. 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, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.” This last verse is an emphatic argument that would silence those who say, “Interest is not forbidden unless it is a high percentage.” But it is clear that Allah did not allow for the person to receive except the exact capital, no more and no less.”

Imam Ibn Katheer says about these two verses, “The believers said: We repent to Allah (S.W.T.) and leave what remained from riba, so they left it all, and this is a severe warning and an assertive punishment for those who keep dealing with riba after they are warned. Ibn Abbas (R.A.A.) said about the saying of Allah “then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger…” In the day of Judgment will be said for the one who dealt with riba: prepare yourself and take your weapon to war, and the riba eater is resurrected on the day of judgment as insane to be strangled.

Imam Bukhari reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) had a long night dream part of that the prophet said, “….then we came to a red river like blood, I saw a man swimming in it and another on the river bank had gathered many stones. The swimmer started swimming toward the man on the riverbank and when he got to him, he opened his mouth to feed him the stones. Then the prophet (S.A.W.) said, that is the riba eater.”

Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said:  “The messenger of Allah cursed the eater of riba, (usury/interest) and the one who feeds it.” Imam At-Tirmithi and other scholars of hadith added to this hadith from another narration: “and its witness and its writer.”

Imam Ahmad reported in an authentic hadith that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, “Dirham (the smallest coin like a penny) of interest eaten by a man with knowledge is more severe than thirty-six acts of fornication or adultery.”

After we heard all of these clear verses and many authentic ahadith that make riba (interest/usury) very prohibited, we should repent to Allah and stop dealing with riba, small or large and not to deceive ourselves by changing the name of the forbidden riba to more appealing names like interest. Its large increase is forbidden, as well as its small. We should not try to come up with excuses to deal with interest, because nothing hides from Allah (S.W.T.).

Article by: Imam Mohamed Baianonie

Posted on February 3, 2011, in Articles, Common Questions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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