The Muslim is obliged to establish his finances on strong foundations, relying on and using the permissible means that Allaah has allowed for him. Financial strength will help the believer perform what Allaah has ordained for him and abandon what He prohibited. Allaah says: "Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue. righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression." (Q5 [Maidah]:1). Allaah also says: "O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly except it be a trade amongst you. by mutual consent. (Q4 [Nisaa]:29)
Allaah ordered Muslims to help one another in piety and righteousness, including fulfilling the terms of their legal contracts and protecting their mutual rights using permissible means. He also warned them against transgressing each other’s rights and properties. Furthermore, Allaah warned His slaves against lying, treachery, Shahadatu az-Zur (false testimony), hiding the truth and illegally acquiring other peoples’ rights. "And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully." (Q2 [Baqarah]: 188).
Allaah Blesses the Muslim as Long as He Preserves His Law
Whenever Muslims sincerely preserve Allaah's Commandments and recommend one another to preserve the righteous lslamic Law, then Allaah will make their conditions better and will bless their wealth and work. Allah will also help them achieve their goals. Allaah says: "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, eventhough it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allaah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allaah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do." (Q4 [Nisaa]: 135).
From the unjust means of eating up other peoples wealth are the various ribaa (usury) transactions that have proliferated in the recent times through the numerous financial institutions that have been established all over the world. What is Ribaa? Ribaa literally means an excess or increase.
Technically, an increase, which in a loan transaction or in exchange of a commodity, accrues to the owner (lender) without giving an equivalent counter value or recompense in return to the other party. It covers both interests both on commercial and consumer loans. Two types of ribaa are popular ribaa al-nasia and ribaa al-fadl.
The first is an increment on the principal of a loan payable by the borrower. It refers to the practice of lending money for any length of time on the understanding that the borrower would return to the lender at the end of this period the amount originally lent together with an increment in consideration of the lender having granted him time to pay. The increment was known as ribaa al-nasia. It was in vogue in Arabia in the days of the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam).
The second, riba al-fadl, is a sale transaction in which a commodity is exchanged for the same commodity but unequal in amount and the delivery of at least one commodity is postponed. To avoid ribaa al-fadl, the exchange of commodities on both sides should be equal and instant. In the modern time, Ribaa has taken many manifestations and very many Muslims fall into it without realizing that they had entered into the haraam.
Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "A time shall come upon the people; no one will remain except that he consumed Ribaa and the one who will not consume it will be touched by its dusts" (Abu Dawud). This is due to the fact that Ribaa has been presented in the garb of permissible business transaction. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "A time shall come upon the people; they will permit Ribaa for trade." (Haashiyah Ibn Qayyim (9/2418)
The Evils of Ribaa
Ribaa is an odious earning, prohibited, disastrous and an illgotten property lacking any good and no blessing comes from it. Rather, it brings about harm, and deficiency in the Deen and worldly affairs, in the present and in the future for everyone who partakes in it; no matter the form of participation and assistance such as collecting or giving ribaa; writing or witnessing it;. strengthening them or providing services to perpetuate and improve their operations.
It is a transaction which is based on sin and enmity. Allaah the most High said: "Help you one another in Al-Birr and At- Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. Andﾕ fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment." (Maidah :) Dealing in a thing of this essence, no doubt, has evils that are many and great and its consequences are adverse and tormenting on the individual and the group who partake in it and on the community that allows that abomination and will not abhor it or make efforts to change it or reduce it. They are indisputable evils.
Warning is mentioned regarding it and its consequences in the Noble Qur’aan, and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) explained many of it in conveying what had been revealed to him from his Lord. People have seen its demonstration and impact, happening and perceivable in the individual and in the universe. From these are: It is disobedience to Allaah and His Messenger The one who deals in Ribaa or supports it specifically opposes what has been reported from Allaah and His Messenger; and Allaah the Exalted says: "And let those who oppose the Messengers (Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commandment beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them." (Q24 [Nur]:63)
And in the Saheeh, it is reported from the Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) that: "All of my Ummah will enter the paradise except the person who rejects." It was said: who will reject, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: "Anybody who follows me will enter the Paradise and anybody who disobeys me has rejected". (Bukhari)
Non-Acceptance of His Charity
Earnings from Ribaa is odious, and Allaah says: "... And do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it." (Q2 [Baqarah]:261). And The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), that he said: "Allaah is pure and only accepts that which is pure". (Muslim) It is also reported from him that he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "When a servant earns wealth through a prohibited means and gives from it (in charity), he does not receive blessings in it." (Ahmad)
Rejection of Supplication
Allaah does not grant the supplication of the one who consumes Ribaa. It is reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu .alayhi wasallam) that he said to Sad who had requested him to beseech Allaah to make him one whose supplications are readily granted: "Make pure what you consume, you will be one whose supplications are readily granted" or he said: "Your supplications will readily be granted" (Tabaraani)
And in an authentic narration, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "...a man who had travelled long distances disheveled and dusty, raising his two hands to the heavens (saying): O Lord, O Lord... and his food, is (from something) prohibited, his drink is (from something) prohibited, his dress is (from something) prohibited and he is nourished with something prohibited; how will that be answered" (Muslim).
Deprivation of Blessings From Life and Earnings The evidence for that is Allaahs saying: "A1laah will destroy Ribaa (usury) and will give increase for Sadaqaat (deeds of charity, alms, etc.) ... " For many of the people, earnings from Ribaa have been the causes of their destruction or their inordinate urge for more wealth regardless of its source. It is reported from him (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) that he said: "Certainly Ribaa, even when abundant, ends in insufficiency" (Tabarani)
Hard-Heartedness and its Being Turned away from Goodness
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had warned regarding that while warning about prohibited matters. He said: "That which is lawful is obvious and that which is unlawful is obvious and between both are doubtful matters not known by many of the people. So. the one who leaves doubtful matters is exonerated for his religion and honour; but the one who engages in doubtful matters falls into prohibited matters. Like the herdsman who rears around the sanctuary, he soon gets into it.
Certainly every sovereign has sanctuary and the consecrations of Allaah are His prohibitions.then he warned that the heart is purified with lawful things and corrupted with unlawful things, he said. Surely. the body has a morsel of flesh when it is upright. all of the body is upright and when it is corrupted all of the body is corrupted and that is the heart." (Bukhari)
The corruption of the heart is by its being hard and turning away from the remembrance of Allaah and its guidance; and the consumption of ribaa is from the greatest cause of that because it stands on the foundations of oppression and tyranny on earth and opposition to Allaah and His Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) Reality shows that most of the consumers of ribaa are described with heard heartedness, roughness and turning away from goodness and putting the people away from the path of Allaah and hating its people.
It is reported in the Saheeh from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) that: "Whoever does not show mercy to people; Allaah will not show mercy to him." (Bukhari) The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said: "Should I not inform you of the people of the Fire; every (AtI) rough and empty person (Jawaadh) gatherer of wealth who is stingy (Mustakbir) denier of truth who looks down upon people." (Bukhari)
Deprivation from Goodness
Allaah says: "For the wrongdoing of the Jews, We made unlawful to them certain good foods which has been lawful to them, and for their hindering many from Allaah's Way; And their taking of Ribaa (usury) though they were forbidden from taking. it and their devouring of mens substance wrongfully (bribery, etc.). And We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment." (Bukhari)
This noble verse contains declaration that taking ribaa and consuming peoples wealth wrongly are from the reasons for Allaahs depriving the Jews goodness. It was a worthy prohibition in the Shareeah and the one who imitates a group of people is\from them. So, those who imitate the Jews from the people of this Ummah in taking ribaa and consuming the peoples wealth wrongly, they have made themselves vulnerable to the same thing meted to the Jews by Allaah.
Being exposed to an Evil End Ribaa-based establishments and those who engage in it repeatedly and greatly oppress the people; for they oppress in the beginning by setting interest as condition during trading and loaning. Then, they oppress them additionally when payment of the installment or installments become(s) difficult at the end of the agreed time. The harm in this is that the interest spontaneously increases the more the money remains with the debtor.
This is based on the ribaa-based systems popular today such that the ribaa would be in manifolds and ends with the Ribaa consumers confiscation of the belongings of the needy,disgracing them and constraining them. Allaah says: "Consider not that Allaah is unaware of that which the Zaalimoon (polytheists, wrong doers, etc.) do, but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror." (Q14 [lbraheem]:42)
It is authentically related from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he said: "Abstain from Dhulm (oppression); for Dhulm (brings about) darkness on the Day of Judgment". (Muslim)
So, the worker in such oppressive establishments and the one who assists those oppressors with his wealth are helpers of oppression and so, have a share in their sin no matter how apparently good their intentions are. This is because, he will be unable to consider the conditions of the people or be nice to them since he is under the rule of a particular system primarily established based on Ribaa.
So, his reference point is a system that is without mercy and unsympathetic which rather exploits the people. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had said: "O Allaah! Anyone who is in-charge of an affair of my Ummah and he is harsh on them, be harsh on him. And anyone who is in-charge of an affair of my Ummah and he is lenient with the,. be lenient with him." (Muslim).
Weakness of Resolve For Good Deeds
Being nice to people with good loans, and granting respite to the one in difficulty till he finds ease and taking his distress to seek the face of Allaah. For the one who gives loan based on Ribaa, he finds it difficult to give to anyone without specifying interest as condition. This is because they calculate the gainsof wealth within specific periods in a manner that makes them forget the profit of good deeds for the hereafter.
They may not be granted the success of doing good deeds even if he remembers it and knows its beneficial results. Allaah indeed said the truth: "Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped. (Q2 [Baqarah]:86)
Weak resolve to partake in commercial commodities and legitimate productivity
This is because trading, in the view of the people of Ribaa, are susceptible to profit and loss and they only want the profit which is involved as much as possible even if it is at the expense of others.
That is why they restrict their economic activity to currency and interests alone in different forms of transactions all of which is Ribaa. Ribaa is a Cause of the Ruin (Bankruptcy). This is true of many nations and societies because the greed for its interests made those who.engaged in it to change their accounts and withdraw their currency fluidity from their country to other advanced and influential countries.
So, those countries (to which the monies are withdrawn), are able to use the money, perhaps in a way that makes it become vulnerable from many angles while the countries that originally own the money become prone to null currency fluidity and unexpected economic stagnation!! A Notice of War from Allaah and His Messenger And this suffices as harm for a person and the society in every sphere of its life!! Who is it that can withstand a war from Allaah and, His Messenger even with all that he possess physical strength, wealth and kinsfolk? Allaah says: "threatening those who fail abstain from consuming Ribaa:" And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allaah and His Messenger .... (Q2 [Baqarah]:2 79)
Consuming Ribaa Brings About the La’nah (Curse) of Allaah and His Messenger
Al-La’nah is exclusion and banishment from Allaah’s mercy. This is for those who partake in Ribaa as consumers, or helpers in any form as is in 5aheeh Muslim from Jaabir (RA) that: Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) cursed the consumer of Ribaa, the giver, its writer and its two witnesses and said: "They are all the same". Its consumption means, taking benefit from Ribaa in any form; and the expression consuming is been used because it is more encompassing and most common or because it is the first and most important of what is intended from Ribaa.
As for the writer and witnesses, it is because of their helping regarding it whether voluntarily or for wage. So, if this is the punishment for the one who partakes in one single Ribaa transaction and is the least of what is possible - what about the one who has spent lengthy part of his life consuming and giving it, or writing and witnessing it or helping its people with renting or assistance or publicizing or promoting it?
The Consumer of Ribaa Will Be in the Worst Condition after his Death
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) informed regarding that in his saying: "I saw two men this night who both came to me and took me to a sacred land: (until he said) and we proceeded until we got to a river of blood wherein is a man standing and on the seashore was a man holding stones. The man in the river comes near and when he attempts going out of the river, the one holding the stones throws it into his mouth and returns him to where he was. So, each time he attempts to come out, stones are thrown into his mouth and he will return to where he was... "(At the end of the hadeeth), it was said to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), "the man you saw in the river is the consumer of Ribaa." (Bukhari) That is how the consumer of Ribaa will be punished after his death.
A Rising like an Insane Person On the Day of Resurrection, the consumers of Ribaa will rise from their graves like the standing of the insane people beaten by Shaytaan and that suffices as disgrace and humiliation and warning of an evil future. Allaah says: "Those who eat Ribaa (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaytaan (Satan) leading him to insanity. (Q2 [Baqarah]:275). That is, they shall rise from their graves like mad people and perhaps, that is due to their bad condition, their dealing in Ribaa and their legitimizing Allaah's prohibitions. From Saeed bin jubayr who said: "The consumer of Ribaa shall be raised on the Day of Resurrection, mad and suffocating". (Tafseer Tabari)
Threat of Fire
Anybody who dies while still consuming ribaa that is, he had not repented from it, he is threatened with the Fire "prepared for the disbelievers". So basically, it is a punishment for the disbelievers but whoever performs the like of their actions and amongst that is the consumption of Ribaa, he will receive the like of their punishment for he was like them regarding that; "and the one who imitates a group of people will be raised with them". (Tabarani).
Allaah says: "but whoever returns [to Ribaa (usury)] such are the dwellers of the Fire they will abide therein. (Q2[Baqarah]:275). That is the one who returns to the taking of Ribaa after knowing its ruling, then he is from the dwellers of the Hell who will remain therein the manner a companion stays with his companion. Then, He mentioned more threat and thus, ruled that they will abide therein in the Fire. It is a serious warning which quakes the heart and horrifies for its whipping terribleness.
As such, it is reported from Imam Aboo Haneefah (RAH) that he said regarding the verse: "And fear the Fire, which is prepared for the disbelievers. "It is the most frightening verse for the believers because Allaah threatened them with the Fire which is prepared for the disbelievers!" And if the least punished person in the Fire is the one which two live-coals from the Fire will be placed under his two feet and his brain will boil as a result, then how about the one who will abide in it and will be covered by it from every angle?" May Allaah, save us from the Fire by His mercy for He is the Most Merciful.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited