1. Interest

June 22, 2013 in The Final Divine Religion ISLAM

While interest, which depends on the principle of obtaining goods without paying a price, outwardly looks like a helpful and convenient means for people, in reality it does not serve any other purpose than exploiting the helplessness of people who are in difficulty. For this reason, it is a great violation of the rights of the subjects of God. It is a malignant tumor that corrodes the economy from within and mutes religious and moral feelings. It causes the rich to gain more power and the needy to be exploited further. As such, it causes deep chasms between social stratas, whereas, as famous economists term it, the best societies in terms of economic levels are the ones which can set inflation and interest rates to zero.

In addition, interest brings many other evils such as causing artificial price increases; stifling moral feelings such as altruism, cooperation, solidarity, love, mercy, and compassion; fueling selfishness and self-centeredness; and stimulating ambitions to obtain money and influence at all costs.

Interest keeps away people from working and earning and being busy with production. Those who get used to interest desert basic ways of earning such as farming, tradesmenship, and commerce. What’s left is making money with money, and that is a harmful situation that decreases production.

Earning money with money via interest is against individuals and society even though some people may like it. Moreover, in the long run, because interest turns the labor-capital relationships in a society upside down, it ends up turning against the people who feed on interest.

In the Noble Quran, it is announced that Allah and His Messenger declared war on those who are busy with interest.[1] In another noble verse it is stated that:

“Those who devour usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Evil one by his touch has driven to madness.” (Al-Baqara (The Cow), 2:275)

Thus, in the sight of our Master the Prophet, the most evil of earnings is the one obtained via interest.[2] To protect his nation from this grave sin, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) cursed all who take interest or cause people to take interest, the officers who conduct transactions with interest, and the witnesses of such contracts. He stated that in terms of sinning they are all at the same level.[3]

Our Master the Prophet’s cursing of all who helps interest is for the purpose of expressing in the clearest fashion that in Islamic society there is no place for interest whatsoever and that no one must even come close to it, thus closing shut all the avenues of evil and mischief.

Interest is a sin that is prohibited in all religions. This is because its harm is obvious. In the Noble Verse, it is stated that interest had been prohibited to Jews as well.[4]

It is wrong to think that an interest-free economy is impossible today. An interest-free economy is very well possible. Indeed, there are societies who accomplished this. Islam has strictly prohibited interest, but in turn it recommends working as partners and increasing capital by working with it. This is because this method is useful for everyone. In addition to this, Islam encouraged lending, as much as the means permit, for the sake of Allah (Qard Hasan), and it considers the loan given to those in difficulty as more virtuous than supererogatory charity. On the other hand, by ordering Zakat and supererogatory charity (sadaqah), Islam provides a complete economic stability and order to the society.

[1].     Al-Baqara (The Cow), 2: 278-279. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) mentions one more thing that Allah declares war on, which is to show hostility do the friends of Allah. (Bukhari, Rikâk, 38) Apart from these no rebel or sinner has been threratened with this severly.


[2].     Ibn-i Abî Sheybe, Musannef, VII, 106/34552; Vâkıdî, III, 1016; ; Ibn-i Kathir, Bidâye, V, 13-14.


[3].     Muslim, Musâkât, 105-106. Also see Bukhari, Büyû’, 24, 25, 113; Abu Dawud, Büyû, 4/3333; Tirmizî, Büyû’, 2/1206; Ibn-i Mâce, Tijârât, 58.


[4].     An-Nisâ (Women), 4: 160-161.