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Tuesday, 29 October 2019 05:35

Can Muslims Live in the Modern World without Participating in Interest? Featured

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Q: My question pertains to interest which I know is forbidden in Islam and is seen as a great sin. However, in the modern world, through mortgages, insurances, etc., it seems virtually impossible to avoid riba/interest. I have looked into Islamic banking in the UK but I see it to be an awful alternative as it still essentially charges riba but with some clever play on words. So, my question is. “How do you live in the modern world without participating in interest as I am struggling to see alternatives?”

 A: The prohibition of interest is clearly and explicitly mentioned in the Noble Qur’aan. Allah Ta‘ala states, “And Allah has permitted sale and prohibited riba – interest.” (Surah Baqarah v. 275)

On the Day of Qiyaamah, the one who consumed interest will wake up in such a state of bewilderment and shock that it will seem as if he has been affected by the evil touch of Shaitaan. Allah Ta‘ala speaks of this in another aayah, “Those who consumed interest will rise [on the Day of Qiyaamah] like the one who has been afflicted by the evil touch of Shaitaan.” (Surah Baqarah v. 275)

In yet another aayah, Allah Ta‘ala sounds an extremely severe warning to those who deal in interest despite understanding its evil and prohibition. Allah Ta‘ala says, “If you do not do so (desist from dealing in interest) then be prepared to wage war against Allah and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” (Surah Baqarah v. 279)

In Surah Aal-e-Imraan, Allah Ta‘ala has sounded another warning. Allah Ta‘ala says, “O you who believe, do not consume interest multiplied manifold and fear Allah so that you be successful. And fear the fire (of Jahannum) which has been prepared for the disbelievers.” (Surah Aal-e-Imraan v. 130)

Commenting on this aayah, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) said, “This is the most fearsome aayah in the entire Qur’aan Shareef, for Allah has warned the believers of the fire of Jahannum, which has been prepared for the disbelievers, if they do not refrain from the haraam of interest.” (Fataawa Mahmoodiyah 24/350) and Madaarik-ut-Tanzeel 1/282)

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has also sounded stern warnings against those who consume riba.

Hazrat Abdullah bin Hanzalah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Consuming one dirham of riba knowingly is worse than committing zina thirty-six times.” (Musnad Ahmed #21957)

In another Hadith, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have mentioned, “The fire of Jahannum is more deserving for the one who nourished his body with haraam (riba).” (Musnad Ahmed #14441)

Hazrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cursed the one who consumes interest, pays interest, the scribe of the interest-bearing deal and the witness to such a deal.” (Saheeh Muslim #1598)

Interest outwardly seems to be a means of increase in wealth, yet in reality is a means of decrease. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “No matter how much the interest may be, it will result in decrease (of wealth).”

The prohibition and severity of interest understood from the above-mentioned Aayaat and Ahaadith will undoubtedly appeal and strike sense into any understanding and intelligent individual.

When the prohibition of riba (interest) was revealed, the general Muslim public were undergoing constraints far worse than those which the present-day Muslims face. For months on end, not even a fire could be lit in the houses of many. Stones had to be tied on their bellies to fight the pangs of starvation and hunger. They did not have sufficient clothing to cover their entire bodies. Nights would be spent in darkness, for a lamp could not be lit to provide light. Their infant children would constantly cry out of hunger. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) himself had to give his armour which he used in jihaad as collateral for the grains that he purchased from a Jew in order to provide for the needs of his blessed wives, and in this very condition did he leave this world.

The greatest solution to the present financial constraints and economic crisis is to inculcate contentment in our lives. Despite the severe constraints that the Muslims were facing during the era of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Allah Ta‘ala commanded Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) not to cast his gaze at the worldly riches of the kuffaar.

Involving oneself in interest will bring no benefit to an individual. In fact, it will be a means of loss and detriment, as is understood from the aforementioned Hadith wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “No matter how much the interest may be, it will eventually decrease (and result in loss).”

In another Aayah of the Qur’aan, Allah Ta‘ala speaks of the evil worldly consequence of interest saying, “Allah Ta‘ala obliterates riba.” (Surah Baqarah v. 276)

Hence, a Muslim should totally refrain from dealing in interest. Muslims can never progress by means of something which Allah Ta`ala has explicitly prohibited nor can it ever be a solution to their problems and constraints.

Adopting the ways of the kuffaar will in no way bring a person anywhere close to success.

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) never worried about his ummah having to face poverty and financial constraints, for their purpose of life is something much greater and nobler than merely amassing worldly riches and enjoying a luxurious life. Their purpose is pleasing Allah Ta‘ala and earning maximum rewards for the hereafter.

In one Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned, “I do not fear faqr (poverty) befalling you, but I fear that the world will be spread out before you, as it was spread out before those who preceded you. Then you will compete with one another in amassing its riches, as they had competed, eventually leading to your destruction and ruin, as it had destroyed them.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #3158)

Hazrat Ibnu Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever suffers from hunger or want and he conceals his need, Allah Ta‘ala takes the responsibility of sustaining him with halaal sustenance for a whole year.” (Shu'ab-ul-Imaan #10054)

In such times of constraints and hardship, a mu’min should turn his focus and attention to Allah Ta`ala, for it is only Allah Ta‘ala’s assistance that can rope a person out of the predicament that he is facing.

Further, one should live within his means and budget his spending. If one is really in debts, then he should request his creditors to grant him some leniency and respite. (Extracted from Fatawaa Mahmoodiyyah, 24/349-365)

We make dua that Allah Ta‘ala guides the ummah towards earning halaal, emulating the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and refraining from any involvement in riba (interest).

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