The Prohibition of Riba in The Quran and Sunnah

When the poor are permanently poor, and the rich are permanently rich, this is oppression! When the poor are growing poorer, and the rich, richer, then it will end in slavery. All around the world today that economic oppression exists and it is constantly increasing. Riba is the cause! In fact the system is a system of legalised theft.
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Riba is usury. Usury is commonly understood as the lending of money at illegally high rates of interest. But riba, or usury, in Islam is the lending of money on interest, regardless of the rate of interest! When money is lent on interest, then money by itself, independent of any labor or effort, or the assumption of any risk, increases over time. The increase is realized through the exploitation of labor, goods or property since Allah, the Most High, has unambiguously declared that nothing can be had without effort or labor(6:85, 11:85, 26:183, etc.). Riba is also at work when wealth is sucked from the masses through deception and other forms of fraud. Such, for example, is the case of paper, plastic and electronic money. There is also riba in speculative transactions. More than 60% of all money transfers in the world economy today represent speculative transactions.

Not only must the true believer wage the greatest possible struggle to keep himself and his family free from riba but, also, he must exert himself to bring relief (ma ‘oun) to suffering humanity. That requires that a revolutionary struggle be first waged to extricate the world of Islam from the venomous bloodstained clutches of riba. If a believer does not struggle to guard himself from riba, and if he does not respond appropriately to oppression in the world (which includes the oppression caused by riba) then his faith is hollow! The Qur ‘an gives precisely that warning in Surah al-Ma’oun.

To preserve faith in this age of riba, and to respond appropriately to oppression in the world, the believers must ensure that they belong to the jama’ah (community of Muslims) which is struggling against riba. The jama’ah must function under the leadership of a competent Ameer (leader) who has an adequate knowledge of the subject. The believers must pledge themselves to listen to, and obey that Ameer. They must then conform to the discipline of the jama’ah. There is no other way for Muslims to preserve faith in this age of riba.

This is the world created by riba. It corrupts and destroys. And so, now, more than ever before, it is important that mankind should seek guidance from the uncorrupted revealed Truth, – Truth which had previously been revealed in the Torah to Moses (s), in the Psalms to David (s), and in the Gospel to Jesus (s), but which had been corrupted, – Truth which was restored, and which is now eternally preserved in the Qur ‘an (revealed) to Muhammad (pbuh). The most important function of knowledge of the divine guidance in this age in which we live, – the last stage of history, is to preserve faith in Allah, the Most High, and in the Truth which has come from Him (iman). In order to preserve faith in this age people have been advised to show endurance. This was the advice of (he blessed Prophet (s). The most destructive force in the world today, destroying the very foundations of faith, is riba nowhere else is there greater need for Muslims to show endurance than in resisting riba.

Our view is that the subject of the prohibition of riba constitutes a litmus test with which the true guides of mankind can be recognized, guides who truly know the Truth, and know how to guide and protect the sheep from the wolves of this age. One learned believer, said Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), is harder on Satan than a I thousand ignorant worshippers (ignorant, that is, of the revealed Truth) – and so learned a Muslim was the Prophet’s companion, Umar (r), that the Prophet said of him: When Umar walks on one side of the street, Satan takes the other side.

There are those today who claim to be shepherds and who cannot even recognize the wolves. Others, still, receive their salaries from the wolves and fraternize with them. As a consequence they lead the sheep directly into the jaws of the wolves. Even the governments which today control the world of Islam have callously betrayed the law and entered into riba to such an extent that most Muslim countries now have riba debts which literally render them slaves to their creditors! Unless mankind turns to true guides with expert knowledge of the subject of the prohibition of riba, guides who faithfully present the guidance located in the Qur ‘an and Sunnah, mankind will not only remain in a state of loss but, also, will descend into greater poverty, destitution, oppression, suffering, violence and bloodshed! Indeed a new slavery will descend upon mankind. It is the learned followers of Muhammad, the Prophet (s) who must take the responsibility to expose to mankind the great curse of riba which has been brought upon the world today by those who corrupted the Torah, Psalms and Gospel. It is they who must lead the struggle against riba. (Lest there be any misunderstanding, this writer is certainly not suggesting that he is one of those true guides).