The Prohibition of Riba (Usury) by Moulana Imran Hosein

MV: In Islam riba or usury is prohibited for many reasons. You can find those reasons by reading what is below or you can get it from my source islamic-world.net

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.

In a riba-based economy the possessors of capital will not only remain permanently rich, since they eliminate the possibility of suffering losses, but they will grow constantly richer, since they will be sucking the wealth which belongs to others. They will grow richer at the expense of those who, if not already poor, will have to pay the price of becoming impoverished through the system of ‘risk free investments’. Risk-free investments are legalized theft. The number of poor will constantly increase. And the level of poverty will descend lower and lower until it reaches destitution. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that people who live in a state of destitution can lose their faith in Allah, the Most High. Riba-based capitalism has today reduced the overwhelming majority of mankind to poverty. It thus forms part of the grand strategy through which today’s dominant godless civilization seeks to reduce all of mankind to godlessness?

Thus, unless the believers respond appropriately to the challenge of riba, the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world can lose their faith. When Islam assumes the role of a liberating force to liberate those who are being exploited and oppressed, it is subjected to relentless and intense demonization. The reason for this should be clear. The media is controlled by those who have established, and who sustain a world economy based on riba, and who are themselves oppressing mankind! It is they who demonize authentic Islam as fundamentalism. A corrupted version of Islam, however, which does not recognize bank interest, for example, as riba, and which consequently does not challenge the predatory elite for its economic oppression, is warmly recognized in the media as the true version of the religion. If a truly evil people were to engage in riba for the purposes of sucking the wealth of mankind, they can achieve more than just the accumulation of fabulous wealth. They can, in fact, succeed in enslaving all of mankind. This would be riba as economic warfare. This book will endeavor to demonstrate, using the Torah, that this is the precise goal of those who corrupted the Torah in order to make riba permissible for them in their dealings with the rest of humanity. It is because riba is, in fact, warfare, that Allah, the Most High, has declared war on those who consume riba:

…. and if you do not do it . if you do not give up your demand for the interest due to you) then take notice of (a declaration of) war from Allah and His Messenger …. (Qur’an: al-Baqarah-.-2-.279)

If we do not heed the warnings from the Qur ‘an and hadith, then it will only be a matter of time before we are enslaved by a world government controlled by the predatory elite. We will be powerless to resist that slavery because riba would have sucked us dry of our wealth. Our poverty and helplessness will be exploited by our slave-masters to destroy our faith in Islam. There are some who will argue that we have already been enslaved.

Our purpose in writing this book is to alert the believers to the fact that the predatory elite has already achieved considerable success in its devilish grand design of waging war on mankind. The prophecy of our Prophet (s) concerning the universal consumption of riba has already been fulfilled. The Prophet (s) made it abundantly clear that the greatest danger to the integrity of the ummah and of the iman (faith) of the believers would come from riba. This confirmed the warning from Allah, the Most High, Himself which was pronounced in the choice of riba as the subject of the last revelation.

Not only has the prophecy of the Prophet (s) concerning the prevalence of riba today been fulfilled, it has been fulfilled in our own miserable lifetime! Specifically it has been fulfilled during the seventy years which have now elapsed since the Ottoman khilafat was abolished in 1924. Up to 1924 riba-hased capitalist Europe could succeed in penetrating only the regimes which presided over the affairs of Muslims. The Ottoman khalifa, for example, had borrowed money on interest from Europe to such an extent that he was forced, in 1857, to succumb to European financial blackmail and, as a consequence, to aljishjizyah and ahl adh-dhimmah in all the territories of the Ottoman Empire as a quid-pro-quo for debt and interest payments relief. This, incidentally, was a classic example of the financial imperialism which is today so commonplace. But it was also the beginning of the process of the dismantling of the sacred model of a public order (or State) in the world of Islam (dar al-Islam), and of replacing it with the secular European model in which sovereignty was taken away from Allah, the Most High, and given to the State. And that was an act of shirk! Since 1924, however, riba has penetrated the total economic life of Muslims all around the world. The financial imperialism inherent in riba has delivered the entire world of Islam by its very throat into the hands of enemies with sharpened knives. Indeed all of mankind is now trapped in the world of riba.

If we struggle to understand the truth in the Qur ‘an and Sunnah, particularly as it pertains to the prohibition of riba, and to be faithful to it regardless of the price we may have to pay, it may still be possible for us to protect ourselves from that enemy who is waging economic warfare on us through riba. After all, did our Prophet (s) not warn us of seven great sins which we should avoid:

“Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: Avoid the seven great destructive sins. They (the people) asked: 0 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 cause (according to Islamic law); to consume riba, to consume the property of an orphan; to give one’s back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything which violates chastity and are good believers. “(Bukhari)

We live, today, in a world in which the practice of riba has once again brought great economic oppression upon an unsuspecting mankind. And the oppression grows worse every day. The twenty-five years which have elapsed since 1971, when the Bretton Woods Accord collapsed, have witnessed the virtual enslavement by a predatory global elite of the periphery of the usurious world economy. The warning of this book, published in New York in 1997, and written from an essentially Qur’anic perspective, is that the next twenty-five years are likely to confirm the economic enslavement of all humanity by that predatory global elite.

African-Americans who, of all people, should be most interested in the subject of the prohibition of riba, have expressed themselves, time and again, on the subject of economic oppression. Yet the oppression of the African-American people in North America persists, and it grows worse. Racial, religious and political oppression of people identified on the basis of their black color, persists. But it is in economic oppression that the greatest danger lies. Dr. Martin Luther King led his famous march of the oppressed to Washington D.C. in 1963 and spoke eloquently of his dream of a world free from oppression. He advocated nonviolent resistance to oppression as his basic philosophy for the liberation of the oppressed. That philosophy, of course, was borrowed from the Hindu Indian leader, Gandhi. Malcolm X went to Washington D.C. but did not participate in that march of ’63. He remained skeptical that a march, and the basic philosophy of nonviolent resistance to oppression which inspired it, would result in any positive change in the condition of the oppressed. He was right! In fact, the night obefore the march he made gentle fun of the whole occasion. Scotch and bourbon splashed; Malcolm watched, smiled and reminded everyone that the first result of the march was not the delivery of the blacks but the closing of the saloons. No firewater for the Indians tomorrow, he teased.’ Dr. King’s dream has remained but a dream! The African-Americans are economically worse off today than they were at the time of that march. Dr. King was killed, and so was Malcolm. And oppression has increased. The noose around the neck of the oppressed masses is growing tighter! Not only has the economic condition of the oppressed in North America further deteriorated, but it has also weakened their capacity to resist. And a universal collapse of morals and values in the essentially decadent modem secular society indicates that the oppressed lack even more, today, the capacity to perceive, and the inner power, moral fiber and integrity with which to resist oppression.

More than twenty-five years ago, in 1970, non-European humanity dreamed of, and spoke of, the establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) which would bring greater economic justice to mankind than obtained at that time. But that hope, also, for a new (just) international economic order (NIEO), has turned out to have been but a dream. It has never emerged! The UN was used as a forum within which a struggle could be waged. That effort has failed. That forum has failed. It is now twenty-five years later, and the rich have grown richer while the poor are poorer. The poor masses and the poor countries are in such debt today that they are, in effect, imprisoned by their creditors.

The fact is that the condition of the oppressed continues to deteriorate and their leaders, including Louis Farrakhan, do not have a clue as to the way they should proceed if the oppressed are to be liberated from economic oppression. As this book is being written the first anniversary of the million-man-march has come and gone, and nothing really has changed for the oppressed.

It is our view that all efforts at achieving economic justice will continue to fail until mankind turns for guidance to the uncorrupted truth which is in the Qur ‘an. Only the Qur’an can restore for mankind a world of justice and peace because it is only in the Qur’an that mankind can learn the truth about riba. This book reveals the secret weapon used by the oppressor to tighten the rope of oppression around the necks of mankind as riba And the leaders of the oppressed have little or no knowledge whatsoever of this subject. The knowledge which they need to have is in Islam. The knowledge about the subject of riba is to be found in the uncorrupted Truth of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Allah’s last messenger, Muhammad (pbuh).

It is a matter of supreme significance, for example, that the Qur ‘an has called on the Muslims to wage war, when all peaceful efforts have failed, to liberate the oppressed from that economic oppression called riba (Qur ‘an. –2:279). The Qur ‘anic call for war has emerged in the context of Allah’s great anger against oppression. The very substance and foundation of Islam, the way of life of Truth, is opposition to oppression. Sincere Muslims who are associated with such sectarian Islamic movements as the tableeghi jamaat and the modern-day salafis need to take careful note of the fact that the Qur’an itself (Ch. 107) has declared non-participation in the struggle to bring relief to weak, vulnerable suffering humanity, to be the negation and repudiation of Islam (kazb al-Din).

The Qur ‘an not only prohibits riba but also declares that the Torah and the Gospel were altered to modify the divine prohibition of riba. As a consequence riba has survived, and because of riba, among other things, we live today in an age in which values are Collapsing. Honesty, integrity, truthfulness, character and faith are …fast disappearing from the world. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has spoken of the coming of such an age as a sign of the coming of the last day. He said:

. . . A man would sleep and honesty (or faith) would be taken from his heart and only its trace will remain in his heart like the trace of a dark spot; then a man will go to sleep during which honesty will decrease further still, so that its trace will resemble the trace of a blister as when an ember is dropped on one’s foot which would make it swell, and one would see it swollen but there would be nothing inside. People would be carrying out their trade but hardly will there be a trustworthy person. It will be said: In such-and-such a tribe there is an honest man, and later it would be said about some man: ‘What a wise, polite and strong man he is’; although he will not have faith equal even to a mustard seed in his heart. (Bukhari)

There are many today who would readily agree that the conditions described in this hadith are now fulfilled. And so, the prevalence of riba itself constitutes a sign of the coming of the last day! Riba has destroyed values. None can be trusted! A corrupted mankind, corrupted by unquenchable greed, would steal even the wealth of orphans today. Muhammad Asad saw amongst modem Europeans the greed which the Qur ‘an described in surah al-Kahf and elsewhere. There is a powerful passage in ‘Road to Mecca’ in which he recorded what he saw: At all times people have known greed: but at no time before this had greed outgrown a mere eagerness to acquire things and become an obsession that blurred the sight of everything else: an irresistible craving to get, to do, to contrive more and more – more today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today: a demon riding on the necks of men and whipping their hearts forward toward goals that tauntingly glitter in the distance but dissolve into contemptible nothingness as soon as they are reached, always holding out the premise of new goals ahead – goals still more brilliant, more tempting as long as they lie on the horizon, and bound to wither into further nothingness as soon as they come within grasp: and that hunger, that insatiable hunger for ever new goals gnawing at man’s soul: Nay, if you but knew it you would see the hell you are in….

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).

Moulana Imran Hosein

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