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.” [2:275]
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.”
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 a war against Allah and His rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).”
In Surah Aal-e-Imraan, Allah Ta`ala has sounded another warning. Allah Ta`ala says: “O you who believe, don’t devour interest in manifold and fear Allah so that you be successful. And fear the fire (of Jahannum) which has been prepared for the disbelievers.”
Commenting on this aayah, Imaam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) 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 in actual fact has been prepared for the disbelievers if they do not refrain from the prohibited action i.e. riba – interest.”
Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has also sounded stern warnings against those who consume riba.
Abdullah bin Hanzhalah (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Consuming one dirham of riba knowingly is worse than committing zina thirty-six times.”
In another hadeeth, Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have mentioned: “The fire of Jahannum is more deserving for the one who nourished his body with haraam (riba).”
Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) cursed the one who consumes interest, pays interest, the scribe for the interesting-bearing deal and the witness to such a deal.”
Interest outwardly seems to be a means of increase in wealth, yet in reality it is a means of decrease. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “No matter how much the interest may be, but it will result in decrease (of wealth).”
The prohibition and severity of interest understood from the above-mentioned aayaat and ahaadeeth will appeal to any sensible and understanding individual without the slightest doubt.
When the prohibition of riba – interest was revealed the general Muslim public were undergoing constraints much worse than what 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 body. Nights would be spent in darkness, for a lamp could not be burnt to provide light. Their infant children would go on crying out of hunger.
Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) himself, had to give his armour used in jihaad as collateral for the grains that he had purchased from a Jew to see to the needs of his blessed wives, and in this condition did he leave this world.
The greatest solution to all the present crisis is the inculcating of contentment in our lives. Despite the severe constraints that the Muslims were facing during the era of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), yet Allah Ta`ala commanded Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) 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 hadeeth quoted before where Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “No matter how much the interest may be, but it will eventually decrease.”
In another aayah of the Qur’aan, Allah Ta`ala speaks of the evil worldly consequence of interest: “Allah Ta`ala obliterates riba.”
That is why 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 will it 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 wa sallam) never worried about his ummat having to face poverty and constraints, for their purpose of life is something much greater and nobler than merely amassing worldly riches, and that is pleasing Allah Ta`ala and earning their rewards for the hereafter.
In one hadeeth Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) mentioned: “I do not fear faqr – poverty befalling you, but I fear that the world would be spread out before you as it was spread out to those before you. Then you would compete with each another in amassing its riches as they had competed, eventually leading to your destruction and ruin as it had destroyed them.”
Ibnu Abbas (radhiyallahu anhuma) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) 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.” (Mishkaat)
In such times of constraints and hardship a mu’min’s focus should be to Allah Ta`ala, for it is only Allah’s assistance that would be able to 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. (Adapted from Fatawaa Mahmoodiyyah, vol 17)
الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا فَمَن جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَىٰ فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ ﴿البقرة: ٢٧٥﴾
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿المائدة: ٩٠﴾
عن جابر رضي الله عنه قال لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم آكل الربا وموكله وكاتبه وشاهديه وقال هم سواء رواه مسلم ( مشكوٰة المصابيح ص244)
عن أبي هريرة عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال ليأتين على الناس زمان لا يبقى أحد إلا أكل الربا فإن لم يأكله أصابه من بخاره ويروى من غباره رواه أحمد وأبو داود والنسائي وابن ماجه ( مشكوٰة المصابيح ص245)
وعن عبد الله بن حنظلة غسيل الملائكة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم درهم ربا يأكله الرجل وهو يعلم أشد من ستة وثلاثين زنية رواه أحمد والدراقطني وروى البيهقي في شعب الإيمان عن ابن عباس وزاد وقال من نبت لحمه من السحت فالنار أولى به ( مشكوٰة المصابيح ص245)
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)