The Proscription of Interest in the Sunnah

The Proscription of Interest in the Sunnah

Muhammad Talha Khan Attari

(4th year student of Jamia-tul-Madinah Faizan-e-Khulafa-e-Rashidin, Rawalpindi)

Interest (ribā) refers to a transaction in which both parties exchange money but one party benefits from a surplus or additional benefit. Likewise, the profit or benefit a lender gains through a loan is also interest.[1]

Interest is definitively prohibited (ḥarām qatʿī) in Islam and the person involved in it knowingly is a transgressor whose testimony is rejected (mardūd al-shahāda).[2]

Interest is catalysed in our communities by a range of factors, a key one being the lack of basic Islamic education. Without consulting the ulema, many people engage in transactions which are usurious and involve interest. Many, despite knowing that their dealings entail interest, will not desist because they are driven by greed; this is another factor. Love for money becomes embedded in the heart and causes them to forget the distinction between halal and haram.

This is despite the fact that interest and usury-based dealings have been severely condemned in the Quran and Sunnah. Just as Allah Almighty states:

اَلَّذِیۡنَ یَاۡکُلُوۡنَ الرِّبٰوا لَا یَقُوۡمُوۡنَ اِلَّا کَمَا یَقُوۡمُ الَّذِیۡ یَتَخَبَّطُہُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ مِنَ الۡمَسِّ ؕ

“Those who consume usury (interest) will not stand up on the Day of Judgement but stand like the one who is possessed by an evil spirit making him insane.” [3]

Selected hadith on interest:

1.   The noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “Avoid the seven destructive things.” The noble Companions عَـلَيْهِمُ الرِّضْوَانْ asked, “What are they?” So, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied:

Associating partners with Allah Almighty, practising magic, taking an innocent life, consuming interest, usurping the wealth of an orphan, fleeing on your heels from battlefield, and making false accusations against chaste, married, believing women.[4]

2.   Sayyidunā Jābir رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates that the noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم cursed the one who consumes interest, the one who gives it to others, the one who records it, and its two witnesses, and said, “They are all equal.”[5]

3.   The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated, “On the Night of Ascension, I passed by a group of people whose stomachs were like houses, and they contained snakes that could be seen from outside. So, I asked, ‘Jibrīl! Who are they?’ He replied, ‘They are those who would consume interest.’”[6]

4.   The final Prophet of Allah Almighty said, “˹The sin of˺ interest has 70 degrees, the least of which is ˹equivalent to˺ a man committing adultery with his mother.”[7]

5.   The noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated, “The nation in which interest becomes widespread, insanity becomes widespread in it too.”[8]

These are a few cases of interest in the current era: Buying or selling something in instalments and a fee being charged if the month’s instalment is not paid by the stipulated date; mentioning a separate price for something on instalments and mentioning the extra profit separately (if the extra profit is simply mentioned as the price of the item, then it is not interest, it will be the total price, and this is permissible).

If these scenarios or any other interest-based case is written on a receipt, it will be impermissible to sign it, even if the lender says that it is only a formality and nothing extra will be charged. This is because even though an interest-bearing deal is not taking place, signing it will be an expression of agreement with an interest-based condition, and this is also impermissible and a sin. In any case, one should make sure that they take shar’i guidance from muftis in such matters, so that they can ensure their safety from the calamity of usury.

We ask Allah Almighty to protect us from all types of usury-based dealings.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم

[1] Gunahaun Kay ‘Azabaat, vol. 1, p. 36

[2] Bahār-i-Sharīʿat, vol. 2, p. 268

[3] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 275)

[4] aī al-Bukhāri, vol. 2, p. 242, hadith 2,766

[5] aī Muslim, p. 663, hadith 4,093

[6] Sunan Ibn Mājah, vol. 3, p. 71, hadith 2,273

[7] Sunan Ibn Mājah, vol. 3, p. 72, hadith 2,274

[8] Sood aur is ka Ilaj, p. 16




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