The Forbidden Harms of Riba (Interest)


veiledgems-riba-2016 The Forbidden Harms of Riba (Interest)

Riba*(Interest) is totally Haraam. The Verses 275-281 of Surah Al Baqarah highlight the importance of a Believer abstaining from Riba (usury/interest), as well as emphasizes the harms associated with indulging in it.

Riba actually means ‘to grow’. It was a common practice in the times of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era) where a certain sum of money was lent on the premise that after a period of time, more be paid back than was originally lent.
 A loan of R100 for example, with a repayment value of R150 is regarded as an unjust transaction. The extra R50 is Riba – it is in lieu of nothing – and it is unjust. This is unlike a ‘fixed’ business transaction for a set amount (eg R100) where both buyer and seller profit from effort expended. The buyer profits by either re-selling at a fixed price or simply from obtaining a desired article and the seller profits from making a sale above his cost price.

In Islam, trade and commerce is Halaal (lawful) but engaging in Riba is oppressive and Haraam (unlawful). Riba is regarded to be amongst the major sins in Shariah. The laws of Riba apply to ALL Believers; male and female. In the time of Rasulullah Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, the Sahaabiyyaat RA were acutely aware of the hardship and calamities associated with Riba. They thus urged their husbands to fear ALLAH Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala and endeavour to earn a Halaal Sustenance. They were prepared to starve and do without food, rather than risk entering Jahannum for engaging in, and consuming Haraam sustenance.

Hazrat Abu Bakr Radhiallaahu Anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said: “A body which has been nourished by unlawful things shall never enter Jannah.” (Mishkaat)

Riba* (Interest) ~ is a loan with the condition that the borrower will return to the lender more than that he borrowed.”

In the following Verses, Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala explains to the Believers the dreadful ending of those engaging in Riba, on the Day of Qiyamah

الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا ۗ وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا ۚ فَمَن جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَىٰ فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ 

Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allah . But whoever returns to [dealing in interest or usury] – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein ~ 2:275

The condition of those taking Riba is likened to a person who has been afflicted by Shaytaan or Jinn.
 Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says that the people who indulge in this detestable act of Riba will rise on the day of Qiyamah totally bewildered, confused, disgraced and disheveled in appearance.

Ulema explain that the person who consumes Riba becomes so intoxicated in his greed for money, that he is not concerned about the monies being Haraam.The unkind creditor develops a ‘senseless’ nature in the Dunya and he will we be raised in a similar ‘senseless’ fashion in the Aahkirah.

The Disbelievers questioned the ruling regarding Riba and likened it to the normal profit associated with buying and selling (trade) 
ALLAH Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala simply reiterated that HE has permitted trade but FORBIDDEN interest.

The lesson here (and with every aspect of Deen), is that it is our duty to obey the Hukm of ALLAH Ta’ala irrespective of whether the human mind fails to comprehend the reasoning behind it. Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala is Al-Aleem (All Knowing) and Al-Khabeer (All-Aware). He is The Sovereign Master and HIS Wisdom is Absolute. He alone knows the harm and the benefit of everything that He has deemed Haraam and Halaal.
 Thus, irrespective of our failure to understand the rationale, if a thing has been deemed Haraam, some evil or loss must be understood to be associated with it.

Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala mentions in Verse 2:276 :

يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ

“Yamhaqullaahur Riba Wa Yurbis Sadaqaat” / Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities ~ Surah Al Baqarah 2:276

Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala clearly outlines that partaking of Riba is totally despised by Him and hence it is not the quality of a Believer to indulge in it. Interest (Riba) is the outcome of selfishness and miserliness whilst charity (Sadaqah) is the outcome of generosity, compassion and large-heartedness.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala destroys interest and increases Sadaqah. The simple explanation of this is that “BARAKAH” is removed from interest associated dealings whilst it is put into wealth associated with charity. Thus, whilst the bank accounts and business empires of those associated with interest dealings seem to be increasing outwardly – in reality, the wealth is actually being destroyed.

From severe health problems and accidents to insolvency, the sinner engaging in Riba never truly enjoys his wealth but is in fact steeped in calamities.

On the other hand, the one who gives Sadaqah finds that despite seeing his bank balance fall, he is able to fulfill multiple expenses, responsibilities and requirements with the less money that he has. This is the promise of ALLAH: “Yamhaqullaahur Riba Wa Yurbis Sadaqaat”


 In verse 2:279, Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala issues a stern warning:

فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ

And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged ~ 2:279

– There are two particular types of people upon whom Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala openly declares war:

(1) Those who deal in Riba (2:279), and ;

(2) Any person who shows hostility to a Wali (friend of ALLAH Ta’ala) ~ Bukhari.

Failure to heed the warnings could throw a person far away from the Mercy of Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala.

Riba (Usury/Interest) is undoubtedly Haraam and one of the major sins in Islam.
 If we have engaged in this heinous crime then we should continue to seek forgiveness from ALLAH Ta’ala and abstain completely from such transactions in future. Just as eating pork and consuming alcohol is Haraam, so too is engaging in Riba. Deep consideration should be given to the seriousness of consuming Riba.

. . .

Some Ahaadith Concerning Consuming Riba (Interest)

عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، قَالَ لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم آكِلَ الرِّبَا وَمُوكِلَهُ وَشَاهِدَيْهِ وَكَاتِبَهُ ‏.‏

Hazrat Ibn Mas’ud Radiallahu Anhu narrated that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam cursed the one who consumed Riba, the one who charged it, those who witnessed it, and the one who recorded it. ” (Tirmidhi )

عن سَمُرَةَ بْنِ جُنْدُبٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ رَأَيْتُ اللَّيْلَةَ رَجُلَيْنِ أَتَيَانِي، فَأَخْرَجَانِي إِلَى أَرْضٍ مُقَدَّسَةٍ، فَانْطَلَقْنَا حَتَّى أَتَيْنَا عَلَى نَهَرٍ مِنْ دَمٍ فِيهِ رَجُلٌ قَائِمٌ، وَعَلَى وَسَطِ النَّهْرِ رَجُلٌ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ حِجَارَةٌ، فَأَقْبَلَ الرَّجُلُ الَّذِي فِي النَّهَرِ فَإِذَا أَرَادَ الرَّجُلُ أَنْ يَخْرُجَ رَمَى الرَّجُلُ بِحَجَرٍ فِي فِيهِ فَرَدَّهُ حَيْثُ كَانَ، فَجَعَلَ كُلَّمَا جَاءَ لِيَخْرُجَ رَمَى فِي فِيهِ بِحَجَرٍ، فَيَرْجِعُ كَمَا كَانَ، فَقُلْتُ مَا هَذَا فَقَالَ الَّذِي رَأَيْتَهُ فِي النَّهَرِ آكِلُ الرِّبَا ‏”‏‏.‏

Hazrat Samurah bin Jundub Radiallahu Anhu narrated that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: ” I dreamt that two men came and took me to a Holy land whence we proceeded on till we reached a river of blood, where a man was standing, and on its bank was standing another man with stones in his hands. The man in the middle of the river tried to come out, but the other threw a stone in his mouth and forced him to go back to his original place. So, whenever he tried to come out, the other man would throw a stone in his mouth and force him to go back to his former place. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ I was told, ‘The person in the river was a Riba-eater.” (Bukhari)

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَاتِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا هُنَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ الشِّرْكُ بِاللَّهِ، وَالسِّحْرُ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ، وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا، وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ، وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ، وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ الْغَافِلاَتِ

Hazrat Abu Hurairah  Radiallahu Anhu narrated that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “Avoid the seven great destructive sins.” They people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What are they?” He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah; to practice sorcery; to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just reason (according to Islamic law); to eat up usury (Riba), to eat up the property of an orphan; to give one’s back to the enemy and fleeing from the battle-field at the time of fighting and to accuse chaste, simple (innocent) Believing women”. (Bukhari)

Hazrat Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu said that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: I came across some people in the night in which I was taken to the heavens (Lailatul Mi’raaj). Their stomachs were like houses wherein there were serpents, which could be seen from the front of their stomachs. I asked, “Who are these people”?  Jibra’eel Alayhis Salaam replied that they were the people who indulged in dealings of usury and interest.” (Ahmed, Ibn Majah)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Hanzalah  Radiallahu Anhu reported that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: A dirham of usury that a man devours and he knows (it is Riba) is worse than 36 fornications. (Ahmed)

by: Moulana Naeem Motala Sb