MALADY THAT ENSLAVES PERSONS AND COLONIZES COUNTRIES: RIBA (INTEREST)

The issue of “riba” takes place in different sections in the Qur’an, except for the transitions in independent Ayat, and in the paragraph consisting of the Ayat 275-281 of the Surah Al-Baqara:

 

Surah Al-Baqara 275-281:

275Those who enjoy the riba [income that is earned easily without risk, working and effort] will not stand other than the standing of a man whom satan struck with its touch. That is because they say: “Trade is like riba”. But Allah made trade halal/permissible but the riba [income that is earned easily without risk, working and effort] haram/forbidden. And whoever is reminded from his Rabb and refrains from what he does, his past is for him and his affair is with Allah. And whoever returns again, then they are the companions of the fire. And they will abide therein eternally.

276Allah removes the riba [income that is earned easily without risk, working and effort] and increases the sadaqa/public revenue. Allah does not like those who are ungrateful and sinner.

277Surely, those who believe, do amendatory deeds, establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community] and give zaqah/tax will have their reward with their Rabb. And there will be no fear upon them, they will not grieve.

278O you who have believed! If you are believers, enter under the guardianship of Allah and give up what remains of riba.

279If you do not, then know that there will be a defeat; devastation from Allah and His Messenger to you. If you repent, then your capital is yours. If you do not treat unjustly, you will not be treated unjustly.

280If the debtor is in hardship, he must be given time until his ease! If you know, it is better for you to give it as sadaqa.

281And enter under the guardianship of Allah against the day when you will be returned to Allah. Then everyone will be recompensed fully. And they will not be treated unjustly.

In the classical sources, following rumors regarding the justification of these Ayat are available:

 

(About the reason of the Ayah) it is stated as follows: the Ayah was sent down because of the Saqifs. They were the people covenanted through the Prophet (pbuh) that the interest they would receive from people would be granted to them and the interest people would receive from them will be abolished for them. When the maturity of the interests they would receive arrived, they sent word to Mecca in order to collect them. The creditors were the Sons Ab-de of Amr b. and the Sons of Umeyr. The debtors were Sons of Mughirah of Mahzum. Sons of Mughirah said “We’re not going to pay anything because interest has been abolished”. They brought their lawsuit in this regard to Attab b. Esid (the Governor of Mecca of the time). And he informed about the situation to Mohammed (pbuh) in writing. The Ayah was sent down. When Mohammed (pbuh) sent this Ayah to Attab in writing, Saqif learned it and gave up.

So, according to the summary of what Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Juraic, es-Suddî and other told, this is the reason of sending down the Ayat[1]

Supreme Allah brings it as a provision about the persons who suffer troubles to pay back after He enacted the provision that the creditors with interest may receive their goods from those who are able to make the payment, by ordering: “If he/she is in need..,” that they must be given respite until the date on which they would pay back conveniently because when the people of Saqif asked their receivables from the Sons of Mughirah, the Sons of Mughirah stated that they were experiencing inconveniences and said: “We do not possess anything.” They asked to be given respite until the date of taking the delivery of their crops. Upon this, the Ayah of “If he/she is in need…” was sent down[2]

First Rumor: This is an address to the Meccans who do shopping by riba. When they became Muslims during the conquest of Mecca, Allah ordered them to take back not the interest but their own capitals.

Second Rumor: Muqatil said that this Ayah was sent down for four brothers from the Tribe of Saqif: Mesud, Abdi Yaleyl, Hubeyb, and Rebia. They were the sons of ftmr Ibn Umeyr es Saqafî and they were lending to and borrowing from the sons of Mughirah. When the Prophet (pbuh) conquered Taif, all of these brothers became Muslims. And then, they asked their interest from the sons of Mughirah they obtained through riba. Upon this, Allah sent down this Ayah.

Third Rumor: The Ayah was sent down about Abbas and Osman Ibn Affan. They were buying dates in order to take the delivery of them later on but by giving their money in advance. When it was the time of picking the dates, they were collecting them, and then collecting the rest later on, this time excessively. This is the view of Ata and Iqrime.

Fourth Rumor: This Ayah was sent down regarding Abbas and Halid Ibn Velîd. They were conducting riba in order to receive later on excessively. [3]

 

The commentators said about the reason of sending down this Ayah: When Allah said, “Know that you have declared war against Allah and His prophet,” the four brothers of Saqif said, “No, on the contrary, we turn to Allah and repent to Him because we cannot wage war against Allah and His prophet.” This way, they agreed with receiving only their capitals and asked only them from the sons of Mughirah. Upon this, the sons of Mugirah, complained about their monetary inconveniences and said, “Give us respite until we receive our pays.” When they rejected giving respite, Allah sent down His Ayah, “”If (the debtor) is in need, give him/her respite until in better state”. [4]

We are, in order to understand the message of our Rabb accurately, directing ourselves to the Qur’an without remaining under the effect of the rumors stated in the classical resources and starting our analysis with the determination of the principles that were very expressly and clearly stated in the Ayat above:

– Those who enjoy the Riba [Interest; income that is earned without risk, effort] will not stand other than the standing of a man whom satan struck with its touch. That is to say, the people who live on riba are always in the state of “being struck by satan”.

– The reason of such condition of them is because they say: “Trade is like riba”.

– But it is not what they accepted; Allah made trade halal/permissible but the Riba [Interest] haram/forbidden.

– And whoever is reminded from his Rabb and refrains from what he does, his past is for him and his affair is with Allah. That is to say, if the person gives up living on riba, Allah will take it into account.

– And whoever continues to subsist on riba despite these judgments have been delivered to him, they are the companions of the fire. And they shall abide there eternally.

– Allah removes the Riba [Interest] and increases the Sadaqa/public revenue.

– Allah does not like those who are ungrateful and sinner.

– Surely, the reward of those who believe, do righteous deeds, establish Salah [Support financially and spiritually; establish and maintain institutions that enlighten the community] and give zaqah/tax will be with their Rabb. And there will be no fear for them nor will they grieve. That is to say, those who constitute the social aid and support institutions through the infaq/aid organization for the elimination of the conditions that allow “living on that riba” from the life of the society will be awarded.

– If the persons who claim to be believers are truly believers, they must enter under the guardianship of Allah and give up living on Riba [Interest].

 Allah and His Messenger declared war to those who fail to give up living on Riba.

– If those who consume Riba give up doing so, then their capital will be theirs; thus they will not have incurred damage.

– If the debtor is in hardship, he must be given time until his ease! If known, it is better for them to give it as sadaqa.

– Those who comply with these provisions will benefit and be recompensed fully in the Akhirat [Afterlife]. And they shall in no event be treated unjustly.

The word of “Riba” means “increase, proliferation, bloating” [5]

In Arabic, “riba” also means “interest” and, as a law term, it is used as “unreturned excess” acknowledged as one of the rights of the parties and added as a condition in exchange agreements. That is to say, riba covers not only the increases, proliferations, and bloating actions in the monetary transactions but also the increases, proliferations, and bloating actions in the commodity exchange transactions as well.

It is stated in both the classical sources and historical documents that two types of riba, one being “riba al-nasi’ah” and the other “excess riba” were available between the Arabs during the period in which sending down of the Qur’an commenced; that is to say, the money or the excess of the commodity (interest) received in return of the term in lending transactions and the excess created in the advance-paid commodity exchanges are referred to as riba:

 

  1. a) Riba al-nasi’ah (termed interest); this is the type of riba that was more commonly used in the period of Jahiliyyah and means the excesses (interests) received every month throughout the term in return of a loan or commodity with a certain term or lump sum at the end of the term separately from the lent money or commodity.
  2. b) Excess riba; it means the excess amount that takes place in the quantity types of gram, liter, and piece during the exchange of same types of commodities.

There is difference between these two types of riba as “riba al-nasi’ah” stems from termed transactions and the “excess riba” from advance transactions, but both ribas are based on the principle of obtaining “unreturned excess” by one of the parties.

In our opinion, the second step to be taken after determining the lexical meaning in order to understand “riba” accurately must be the analysis of two concepts stated in the first sentence of the Ayah 275 (“Living on riba” and “Devil’s stroke”):

Living on riba: The expression of “Those who enjoy riba” points out the persons who increase, proliferate, and bloat their wealth through the transactions that cause riba. These persons’ living on riba means not “enjoying it materially” the excesses they have created- which could be money or all kinds of commodities-, but their “utilization of the opportunities these excesses provide to them”.

Strike of Satan: As the analysis in regards to this phrase was performed in our article entitled “Satan in the Qur’an/Islam” which is available at the end of the Surah of Sad, we are sharing the respective part of this article hereunder as is:

STRIKE OF SATAN:

 

Surah Al-An’am 71, 72:

71,72 Say: “Shall we invoke those that do not benefit us and do not harm us from among those that are inferior to Allah? Or should we be turned back just like those whom the devils enticed and made them wander on the earth confused while they have companions who invite them to the right and good, saying ‘come to us!’ after Allah has guided us to the righteous path?”. Say: “Surely, the righteous path of Allah is what the true righteous path is. And we have been commanded to be Muslims for Rabb of all universes and to fulfill Salah; establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community and to enter under the guardianship of Allah. And Allah is the One only to Whom we will be gathered”.

 

Surah Mary 83:

83Have you not seen/thought? Surely, We sent devils upon those infidels; those who consciously deny the divinity of Allah and the fact that He is Rabb. They provoke them constantly.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 275:

275Those who enjoy the riba [income that is earned easily without risk, working and effort] will not stand other than the standing of a man whom satan struck with its touch. That is because they say: “Trade is like riba”. But Allah made trade halal/permissible but the riba [income that is earned easily without risk, working and effort] haram/forbidden. And whoever is reminded from his Rabb and refrains from what he does, his past is for him and his affair is with Allah. And whoever returns again, then they are the companions of the fire. And they will abide therein eternally.

 

The expression of لايقومون الا كما يقوم الّذى يتخبّطه الشّيطان من المسّ [la yekûmûne illa kema yekûmullezî yetehabbetühü’ş-şeytanü mine’l-messi] in the original Ayah means “the person fell through the touch of and whose reason was reduced and whose normal state was broken down by the devil”. But this expression was construed by the commentators as the person “stuck by devil” practically. However, it will be better to provide the original meaning as is in order to ensure that people think “What are the meanings of reduction, falling, and break down by the devil?”

The “Strike of Satan” stated by the Qur’an is the attempt of devils/persons who own the devilish characteristics specified in the above Ayat and to suggest such negativities to and take control of someone. That is to say, it is the possession of a person by the things with devilish characteristics. Then it means that such person is devil stricken. A person struck by the devil;

* Opposes Allah.

* Is shameless, impudent, retrogressed.

* Pursues unfair gains.

* Talks about the things he/she does not know.

* Is fearful about poverty, becoming poor.

* Is extravagant

* Neurotic, spoiled, provoked.

* Is deceived.

* Is transgressed, at odds with surrounding people.

* Is a renegade.

* Is closed to get informed and enlightened.

The fact that any person bears the above traits is the basic canon that he/she was made so by the devil. The people having these traits are described as “He/she has been struck by the devil”, “He/she was deceived; his/her reason was reduced, fallen, by the devil”.

The persons who make a living upon interest /usury are the persons who are in fact continuing their existence by getting under the control of the devil and standing up this way. These persons are, in the expression in Al-Baqara 279, “the persons who have declared war against Allah and His messenger”. In order to understand this issue well, the entire passage containing the Ayah 279 [Ayat 261-281] must be read and contemplated as a whole. The issue is explained in this passage within the relation of contrast between unreturned aid to the needy persons [through sadaqa and infaq/aid] and abuse of the needy persons [riba/interest].

Most of the commentators attributed the warning of the Ayah 279 to the day of Qiyamat [Resurrection] and explained it as “The persons who make a living upon interest stand on the Qiyamat [Resurrection] as if they are unbalanced like the people with epilepsy/struck by devil and it becomes clear in this state of them that made a living upon interest. However, the verbal meaning of the Ayah is not like that. The situation is entirely related with the world. In our opinion, such erroneous comments stem from the acceptance of the expression of devil and strike of satan from outside the Qur’an.

In the expression of the Ayah 275, this state of the people who are struck or deceived by the devil is understood to be due to the fact that they called this situation “Trading is like riba;” in other words, our Rabb qualifies them as “struck by devil” as they deceive themselves this way. However, consideration of “trading” and “riba” which are different from each other in terms of meaning, to be the same thing, must have a justifiable reason for themselves, which can only be the fact that the reason of trading is to earn gains, just like in the transactions that cause riba, and the gains obtained in shopping create an increase, growth, and excess in the entities. That is to say, these people qualified by our Rabb as “struck by devil” allege that the increase, growth, and excess (riba) they obtain as a result of the transactions of their lending and commodity exchange with procurement of “unreturned benefit” to one of the parties, are not different from the gains obtained through shopping.

Our Rabb has, against this idea, first proclaimed that “trading” is legitimate along with all its results by means of making “trading” halal/permissible; that is to say, He brought the profits and excesses (riba) obtained by way of trading outside the scope the prohibition. And then, by making the “riba” that He expressed by highlighting as “riba” in the Ayah, He stated that the prohibited riba is the “unreturned excess” provided to one of the parties in the lending and advance commodity exchange transactions done by those who say “trading is like riba”..

 

What kind of riba is the prohibited “riba”?

Our Rabb exhibited the prohibition in terms of riba for all the beliefs through the revelations he sent down earlier:

 

Surah Ali-Imran 130-132:

130O you who have believed! Do not consume the riba [income earned without effort, service, risk], multiplied many times. Enter under the guardianship of Allah so you may reach salvation. 131And avoid the fire that is prepared for the infidels; those who consciously deny the divinity of Allah and the fact that He is Rabb. 132Obey Allah and the Messenger so that you may be shown mercy.

 

In fact this prohibition was brought to the earlier peoples as well. For example, the issue of riba is specified in the present Bible as follows:

 

Deuteronomy 23/ clauses 19, 20:

19 “ You shall not lend upon interest to your brother, interest on money, interest on victuals, interest on anything that is lent for interest.

20 To a foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest; that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are entering to take possession of it.

 

Nehemiah; 5/10th sentence:

10 Moreover I and my brethren and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us leave off this interest!

 

Exodus; 22/ 25th sentence:

25 “ If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him.

 

But the Jews who made their target gold considered every way permissible in terms of riba despite the fact that it had been prohibited:

 

Surah An-Nisa 160, 161:

160,161Then, for the unjust behaviors of those who had become Jews, their efforts to avert many people from the path of Allah, that they took Riba [obtaining revenues without effort, service and risk] although it was forbidden to them and their consumption of wealth of the people without right, We made haram/forbidden that which had been made halal/permissible to them. And We have prepared a painful punishment for the infidels; those who consciously denied the divinity of Allah and the fact that He is Rabb from among those that had become Jews.

 

As it is seen, riba is a form of gain that some people cannot give up in any way despite its prohibition for very old ages. As those people our Rabb named as “People turning to be Jews” did not wish to be deprived of such types of gains, they resisted against the prohibition imposed and alleged that riba is not different from the gains obtained from trade.

However, in order to see the difference between trading and the transactions that cause riba, it is sufficient to view the stages of both activities roughly:

On the first stage, the person who plans to obtain gains by means of trading first owns the goods by purchasing them. The person who plans to obtain gains from the transactions that cause riba seeks for another person in need in order to lend the commodity or money he/she owns or waits for the needing person to find him/her.

On the second stage, the person who plans to obtain gains by means of trading adds the profit he/she contemplates to obtain to the purchase price of the commodity he/she owns and determines a sales price. In this profit, there are the expenses made since the purchase of the commodity and the fee estimated by the person in return of the service he/she provides. The person who plans to obtain gains from the transactions that cause riba has neither expenditure that will be the source for the transactions of riba that he/she determined nor a service that he/she would quote for. He/she only notifies the amount of the riba together with those who gain profits along with him/her to the person who asks for the amount of riba.

On the third stage, the person who plans to obtain gains by means of trading is obliged to sell his/her commodity not upon the prices he/she determined but upon the price that occurs on the market outside of his/her will. The person who plans to obtain gains from the transactions that cause riba draws up his/her agreement upon the amount of riba he/she determines.

As it is seen, the person who plans to earn by trading and the person who plans to earn from the transactions that cause riba experience the above stages by acting differently and obtaining different results:

– The person who plans to earn by trading receives the respective commodity from the producer and delivers to the consumer through the legal processes he/she carries out with two actions. The profit determined by this person is the return of the service he/she provides but not a guarantee; he/she is under risk.

– The person who plans to earn from the transactions that cause riba continues to receive the excess he/she determines throughout the term, by means of entering into agreements and through the legal process he/she carries out without actions and without any return from any expenditure or service. His/her risk is inability of the borrower to pay the loan and this action has been probably considered beforehand and the risk has been eliminated by way of pledge or a guarantor.

These very important differences between trading and the actions that cause riba apply not only in the commercial field but in all the production activities by exhibiting labor in the sectors of industry and agriculture. That is to say, the profit obtained from the sale of a production carried out through exhibiting manual and mental power and the excess obtained upon the wealth and labor of the debtor by means of lending cannot be considered same.

If an attempt to tell the differences stated above in one sentence is made, it is possible to say this: The labor in trading, industry, and agriculture is “constructive” and the profit obtained in return of labor is halal/permissible but the excess obtained as a result of the transactions that cause riba are “destructive” and the profit obtained this way is haram/forbidden.

With this comparison in mind, it is possible to say the following regarding the characteristics of riba which was prohibited: the “riba” prohibited by our Rabb is the riba obtained not being the return of any cost or service; the riba which means partnering with the earnings of the payer without any risk. In other words, our Rabb has prohibited the “surplus” that is “unreturned” and “riskless”.

 

“Why was Riba prohibited?”

In an attempt to seek an answer to this question, an Ayah must at all times be remembered:

 

Surah An-Najm 39:

39The truth is, there is nothing for man except what he strives for.

 

In the above Ayah, it is stated that the earnings obtained easily, without labor, risk and working do not have any value before our Rabb. Our Rabb defines earnings obtained this way in other Ayat as “consuming goods with unfair ways” and qualifies them as “people’s homicide of themselves”.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 188:

188Do not consume each other’s wealth for false reasons. Do not transfer your wealth to the authorities in order that you may consume consciously a portion of the wealth of people in sin.

 

Surah An-Nisa 29:

29O you who have believed! Do not consume one another’s wealth among yourselves unjustly -except for business you make with your consent-, do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is very merciful to you.

Our Rabb stated that people can get rid of such behaviors to which He attracts attentions as the “order of devil” and which He proclaimed as a “danger” only by means of applying infaq/aid:

Surah Al-Baqara 268:

268Satan intimidates you with poverty and commands you immorality. Allah, on the other hand, promises forgiveness and abundant bounty. And Allah is the All Encompassing, the Most Merciful, the One Who knows best.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 195:

195And spend your wealth for the cause of Allah/provide sustenance for your relatives first and then others, do not put yourselves in danger with your own hands and do good deeds. Indeed, Allah likes those who do good deeds.

 

In addition, Allah does not want properties and wealth to be under the control of a particular group in a society:

 

Surah Al-Hashr 7, 8:

7,8And the Fai [revenues yielded without fighting and making any effort] Allah has given to His Messenger from the people of that city belong to Allah, the Messenger, those poor who have immigrated – and they have been expelled out of their lands and deprived of their wealth while seeking for the bounty and acceptance of Allah, and they help Allah and His Messenger. They are the ones who are the righteous-, orphans, the needy and travelers so the luxury brought by the power; the authority will not only be for the rich among you. Whatever the Messenger has given you, take it immediately. And whatever he has forbidden you, turn away from it. And enter under the guardianship of Allah. Indeed, Allah is the One Whose punishment/penalty is very severe.

 

As can be easily understood from the Ayat given above, Supreme Allah wishes the people to whom He gave wealth to avoid behaviors that allow them to keep the surpluses they have or to increase them more and more, to spend such excesses granted to them by means of infaq/aid, and not to make any attempt to provide unreturned earnings as real earnings are acquirable by working and laboring, and He warns that contrary behaviors will mean “people’s endangering of themselves” even “killing themselves”.

At this point, we believe that every Muslim person must ponder about the scopes of “trading” that was made halal/permissible and “riba” that was made haram/forbidden by Allah because the issue has substantial importance as the “people do not give up riba have waged war against Allah and His messenger. A person fighting against Allah and His messenger will certainly be devastated as Allah and His messengers will be absolute victorious:

 

Surah Al-Mujadila 21:

21Allah has written: “Indeed, I and My messengers will prevail”. Indeed, Allah is the One Who is competent over everything, the most exalted, the most powerful, the most honorable, the invincible/the subduer.

Scope of “Riba”

We deem it useful to start to analyze the determination of the scope in this crucial subject with the types of riba that have been applied in the period when the Qur’an was sent down.

Regardless of whether they depend on money or commodities, in all the transactions of the “riba al-nasi’ah” as the difference between the amounts of the commodities given and received is constituted upon a term; that is to say, this type of riba stems from a transaction of a termed lending; the gains acquired from such transactions are entirely “unreturned surplus;” therefore, they are “riba”. For example, just like the fact that all kinds of excess amount (interest) received back in addition to the borrowed principal money is “unreturned surplus”, a riba; when someone gives 10 bushels of wheat in return of 12 bushels in six months’ time, 2 bushels’ amount between the quantities is “unreturned surplus”, a riba.

In the commodity exchanges made in advance, where “excess riba” is in question, appearance of “unreturned surplus”, a riba, does not seem reasonable because; regardless of whether they are different or in the same type, since the prices of the goods will be taken into account in the exchange of two commodities, it will be meaningless that an “unreturned benefit” will take place for the advantage of any of the parties. For example, if the price of 1 Kg date is 20.-TL, 1 Kg edible olive is 10.-TL and 1 Kg olive-for-oil is 5.-TL, a person who wishes to buy 1 Kg date and olive will buy 2 Kg edible olive or 4 Kg olive-for-oil. In such transaction, it is not possible to say that the difference between the amounts is “unreturned”. Or a person who possesses 1 Kg edible oil wishes to exchange it with olive-for-oil, he/she will demand 2 Kg olive-for-oil because it is very natural that the owner of the commodity with high value demands more of the goods with lower value against one measure of his/her own goods. Moreover, if the owner of the goods with high value does not prefer such exchange and sells his/her own goods first in return of money by way of trading and then purchases the other goods from elsewhere in return of money, he/she would buy the goods with lower value in the same amount. That is to say, if there is no deception, this exchange is commercial shopping. Therefore, the difference that occurs for the benefit of the owner of the goods due to the difference of quality between the amounts, during the exchange of same-type goods, must not be taken into account as “riba”.

According to us, major element of “that riba” is the surplus (interest) taken in the lending transactions in return of either money or commodity. There are those who define interest as “the most addictive form of riba” (Prof. Dr. Mehmet Yazıcı), which we define today as “the major element of riba”. Despite the fact that interest is within the scope of riba that was made haram/forbidden by our Rabb is unquestionable, some people put the issue of whether it is possible to deem some interactions with interest applied today as “mandatory state” on the agenda of a debate and endeavored to take interest out of the scope of prohibition through some thoughts like “interest prevents money’s devaluation against inflation” or “it is the rental of money”. Some, who never attached importance to Allah’s prohibition of it, asserted that interest is one of the most important instruments of economical development. However, interest, as stated by our Rabb, is a danger for persons, families, and countries, and has always been a trouble. A glance at our near history will be sufficient to understand what kind of trouble interest is:

The Ottoman Empire received foreign debt by way of istiqraz (bond issuance) for the first time in 1854 in order to mitigate the monetary burden inflicted by the Crimean War. The foreign debts increased rapidly through the incentive of the European capital, which sought investment areas, and as a result of expenses made for some innovations. Between the years of 1854 and 74, foreign debts were received 15 times through istiqraz. The total of the debt reached 5.297.676.000 golden francs and annual interest of it became 300 million francs. When the Ottoman Empire was unable to pay even the interest of these debts, it announced that it would pay half of the installments matured in October 1875. But it was able to pay these installments only for the period of three months and the payments were suspended completely in March 1876. … Later on, the Ottoman Empire suspended the payments of its domestic debts constituted by the short-term loans and advances given by the bankers of Galata. Through the agreement entered into on 22 November 1879, stamp, distillery, fishing, salt, and tobacco were left to the creditors against the interest and capital of these debts for the period of 10 years. … (Ana Britannica, v:11, p:22)

As in the example of the Ottoman Empire, the debt and interest incurred by states are paid by the public that is, in fact, unable to make use of that money. Even sometimes the burden of rescuing some account owners by means of payment of the bankrupt credit institutions from the coffers of the state are charged on the public that is once again outside the relations of granting and receiving debts. These are the conditions that cannot be explained by anything other than “cruelty”.

When it comes to the effects of interest, number one element of “riba”, on the individuals; it is possible to say that it really poses deadly impact on people in spiritual terms:

Interest constraints people from working. It is because the people with money will earn more easily by depositing it for interest without laboring and taking risk, they may not need to work. This condition causes social mobility to fall and productivity to decrease. The person who receives debts works and earns but a person who receives interest from the earnings of such person is fed without working. However, increase of the wealth of a country can only be possible by working and producing more and more in every field. In some, lesser labor will bring lesser labor.

Interest eliminates helping and solidarity in societies. Earnings easily acquired and without risk, like interest, generally push humans toward selfishness. Hence, those people who have savings that they can help others prefer to deposit their money for interest instead of giving their money to their brothers and sisters who are in need. For unblocking the road to “help people in need” ordered by Allah, it is required that interest is rejected and the earnings obtained this way are not relied on.

Interest makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. Except for those who make speculative investments in the long-term inflation periods with high rates, it is not possible to see anyone who receives loans and pays interest to be rich, because the ratios of interest are determined by those people who have money and these people determine the ratios of interest in the manner that they will themselves have the lion’s share pro rata the earnings ratios allowed by the economical environment. That is to say, ratios of interest always correspond to the bigger part of the average unearned income that can be obtained in that environment. Thus the investor who receives loans with interest is allowed not to be reach but only to be continue his/her life; in other words, to sustain indebtedness. If the debtor is not an investor but a person in need, a poor person, it is already clear that such person will be poorer and poorer by means of paying interest. Therefore, interest makes the rich richer and the poor poorer as it is the cause of and maintains the ambiance where a small minority lives in wealth and the majority lives in poverty in a society. Moreover, it is inevitable that such order would gradually turn to be a hell for the low earning group that constitutes the majority of the order because the interest-seeking wealthy ones in these societies become more and more anxious about their lives and wealth as they get richer and richer and apply more diverse ways of cruelty in order to safeguard them.

Interest prevents a servant of Allah to thank and makes him/her ungrateful toward Allah. The wealthy people who are rendered people with surplus by Allah must thank Allah by paying the equivalent of their surplus by way of zaqah/tax, sadaqa and infaq/aid. But the person attracted by interest, which is an easy and riskless gain, tends to interest instead of transferring the return of the blessings given by Allah to the addresses designated by Allah and fails to carry out his/her duties by being entrapped. Knowing that the possibility that man can easily be entrapped this way is very high, as He is the Rabb of him, says in the Ayah 276 of the Surah Al-Baqara, “Allah eliminates riba and increases sadaqa. Allah dislikes ungrateful persons and sinners”, promising that riba, which also covers interest, will not bring any good to any person, because the sadaqa and infaq/aid will be returned more and more in the world and in the Akhirat [Afterlife], along with His threat that He would destroy it, and reminding once again the fact that humans must prefer thankfulness instead of ungratefulness. What is sated in the Qur’an as “Adam’s tasting from the tree for which Allah said ‘do not approach’ and his immediate starting of stowing” figuratively is actually this issue.

As it is seen, interest, starting with the psychologies of persons, alters their work lives and subsistence and causes their family order to overturn. Gradual increase of such individuals in the society brings closer that society toward danger and drags the country containing such society having turned to be the slaves of interest toward colonization, the fire, as in the Ottoman example above, as a result of consuming its underground and aboveground wealth.

In sum, interest, in regards to its outcomes, is one of the biggest factors that render the poor slaves and the countries colonies.

However, “riba” cannot be downscaled to interest because, as we stated above, our Rabb has prohibited not interest but “unreturned” and “riskless” surplus. Therefore, Muslims must not be socially deviant for self-delusion like staying away only from interest and consuming other unreturned excesses that fell into the scope of “riba”. However, unfortunately people found “riba” indispensable and those who did not want to leave this sweet earning made themselves believe that what they did was not within the scope of the “riba” prohibited by Allah, by means of reducing the concept of “riba” into the concept of interest and of excluding the “riba” they earned from the nature of interest through the implementations called muamalat al shariah.

If what was told is true, invention of the Islamic law-based solutions (!) that constitute the basis of this type of implementations referred to as muamalat al-shariah and defined as “The transaction that must be carried out in order to ensure that the creditor obtains benefit that cannot be considered as interest from the debtor” dates back to the very old days, the 700s. For example, one of these implementations that contain various methods is as follows: “If the owner of the fund wishes to receive 13 drachmas in return of the 10 drachmas, then he would sell and deliver a commodity for 13 drachmas to the party who would be indebted. The person who would be indebted sells and delivers that commodity to a third person in return of 10 drachmas. Then the third person sells the commodity to the initial owner by receiving the money in advance. Then, he gives the 10 drachmas as the amount of the goods he has just purchased to the person who would be indebted. This way, the commodity returns to the initial owner; that is to say, to the counterparty, in return of 10 drachmas and the counterparty will be indebted for 13 drachmas before him”. [6]

As it is seen, these applications that have concepts, even in definition, like “creditor, debtor, and acquiring interests” related with the transactions of lending are nothing in essence but ensuring that the debtor pays excess amount as much as the interest to the creditor through chicanery trading transactions. It is just that the payments are not made in the name of interest. Some perverted understandings, products of feeblemindedness, that think that they meander the prohibition of Allah through such behaviors referred to as “meandering of law” in the language of law, unfortunately continue their existence. For example, some circles invented a concept called “banking without interest” and are making payments under the name of “profit share” to those companies that invest money on them among the companies that they incorporated through this assertion despite the fact that the raison d’être of the banking system is interest. These profit shares are paid quarterly, semiannually, and annually to according to the preferences of people and it is very interesting that the payments in relation with such terms are always in the same amount. That is to say, all the companies partnered (?) by these banks without interest through the moneys they have collected conduct their collections always in the same periods and, thus, acquire their profits in accordance with the payment terms they have announced and always have profits with same ratios. However, it is not possible for all these companies to distribute their profits in compliance with the profit sharing terms announced by these interest-free banks and to render their profits distributable even though they can possibly take their profits into account as distributable profits by envisaging all their expenditures. In this case, the payments made by these companies in the name of profit share can only by called “unreturned benefit”. Another issue that confirms this opinion of us is that these interest-free banks distribute the profit shares always at the same ratio as if they are distributing the shares of only one company despite their announcement that they partner with multiple companies.

In our opinion, another important element of “riba” is speculation. Describing speculation as “Purchasing of the commodities that will be subject to price change in the future beforehand in order to obtain profits making use of the price gap”, Encyclopedia of Economy lists the major price change expectations as war, famine, and inflation. As it is seen, profit expectation in speculation is not based on any labor or service but only on price increase. Moreover, it is expected that this price increase would take place due to disasters that will cause devastation of many people. It is clear that the profit to be obtained from the trade hoping such gain will not be the type of profit of trading made halal/permissible by our Rabb.

There is a factor of “riba” in whose essence, there is the understanding of providing profits from the increases in prices, like speculation but much uglier than it, and it is the infamy referred to as “profiteering” or “jobbery”. The feature of this behavior, which makes it uglier than speculation, is that the commodity purchases conducted are in the amount that they will directly affect the increase of the price of those commodities by inflicting scarcity of them.

Whether it is named speculation or profiteering, the reason for the inclusion of such behaviors within the scope of “riba” is, according to us, that both behaviors are oriented to obtain gains without working because our Rabb considers anything obtained in the ways other than working “nil”.

When viewed from this angle, it is beneficial for those who hope to obtain gains from the currency deficits that will develop against the money of their own country in the future, by investing their surpluses granted by Allah to them on the moneys of foreign countries, or for the companies that partner with companies through commodity exchanges considering not their prospected profits but their prices that will take place within the market scrutinizing their activity areas, to revise their soul-searching. It because, the foreign currency purchases with the expectation of currency deficit are not different from speculation and the stock certificates received from such a gambling house as stock exchange that have turned to be the toys of the major capital owners are not in the form of a partnership in a real sense.

Another action of procurement of “riba” that has been adopted in our country during the recent years is carried out through the institution called Futures Exchange. The material, the subject matter of these transactions that are seemingly in the form of future oriented purchase and sale agreements, can be in the form of “commodity” or in the currencies of different countries. The parties of the agreement are the persons who give the purchase and sale orders and the institutions that provide them with such environment. In these transactions, the persons who give the purchase and sale orders are by no means real purchasers or sellers. They neither buy nor sell the commodities specified in the agreement when the maturity date arrives in a real sense. They only collect or pay the contractual amounts. In summary, these transactions are not in relation with true trading but a kind of gamble played upon the estimation of the prices of some objects that will take place in the future and these transactions are unrelated with the trading made halal/permissible by our Rabb. However, some ideas asserted regarding the stock exchanges, some of the significant elements of the religion of capitalism, that there is a risk will take place in the stock transactions as the future prices are not known and the gains to be received from the risky transactions cannot be considered same as that of the previously determined interests. In our opinion, the people with this opinion must be asked first: “Is gambling, which consists completely of risk, will be considered halal/permissible according to this logic?” And then they must be remembered that the principal feature that distinguish halal/permissible earning from the gains obtained from the “riba” transactions is not risk but “whether it is in return of labor”.

 

Banking and Islam

Banks are the finance institutions that have adopted utilization of the funds they collected from the depositors in return of interest in the transactions of discount, lending, and other financial transactions also in return of interest as their principal business. That is to say, interest is an indispensable element and unique source of banks. Interest is at the same time one of the gears required for the revolution of the system wheels of the religion of capitalism within the economical order. Within this relationship, banks are indispensable parts of the capitalist economies.

In Islam, “riba” and thus interest, number one factor of “riba” have been made haram/forbidden without question. According to this circumstance, in fact, it is possible that the capitalist order where interest is necessary for the revolution of the system wheels and banking system that was established on the basis of interest to ensure the continuation of this order tally with Islam. But unfortunately, on the contrary, in almost every country where the majority of the people are Muslims, capitalist system has been preferred and the Muslims in those countries have become experiencing the religion of Islam and the religion of capitalism altogether, which are exactly opposite each other. In this case, some softening in terms of rules was needed for eliminating the contrasts between the two religions but somehow these attempts of softening were always made on the religion of Islam by asserting discourses like “as required by development” or “inevitable to be implemented”. The endeavors in this regard reached so indiscernible forms and dimensions that the meanings of the concepts have changed, the persons appointed as authorities were made give fatwa, and finally the religion of Islam has been transformed into the form that it is applied in the manner that is quite different from what Allah had revealed.

Attempts in regards to interest have turned to be almost assaults. On one hand, some people with the titles of ulama produced Islamic law-based solutions (!) to interest through some deceptions as we have exemplified above and, on the other hand, the people with capitalist mentality struggled to deceive the already blurred minds of the people through wordings like, “Retention of lent money in the hands of the debtor for a long time is the return of the money that will be received extra (interest) because if the lent money had received in the hands of the lender during that period, the lender would receive earnings by trading” or “If the borrower is receiving earnings using the borrowed money by conducting trade or investment, what is wrong with when he/she gives a particular ratio of the earnings to the principal owner of the money?” Approaches of both the people with titles from the ulama and the people with capitalist mentality resemble interest with the trading profit, which was made halal/permissible, and try to equalize them and exclude them from the state of prohibition imposed by Allah and are in the form of the war waged against Allah and His messenger. In other words, the reason of these devil stricken persons for risking a war against Allah and His messenger is to have Muslims apply interest, indispensable element of the religion of capitalism. However, as those Muslims who act mindfully by obeying Allah’s order will instantly notice, there is serious contradiction between the implementations in Islamic law-based solutions and what is accepted by the people with capitalist mentality. The mentality that deems “in the muamalat al shariah”, in return of making the debtor conduct certainly harmful trading, interest is “the return of the debtor for his deprivation of commercial activities” or “the share that is payable from the profit obtained by the borrower to the lender equitably” does not take losses into account. That is to say, if the borrower incurs losses from the business carried out utilizing the loan, this situation is compliant with the “muamalat al shariah” but it is never possible to accept this in the system with interest because in the system with interest, it is absolute provision that the a named excess is to be paid in return of the lent money and, even if the borrower incurs damages, he/she is to pay his/her debt and respective interest by selling his/her belongings as necessary. In fact, such application of the system with interest, as the phrase goes, is nothing but receiving the money of a chicken, a hen, or a rooster from a person who has broken a borrowed egg by saying, “it would be a chicken, a hen, or a rooster”.

Those people who liquefy the prohibition of Allah through their comments in their endeavor to have the Muslims apply interest even partially asserted another opinion like: “The interest which is haram/forbidden is the interest received from the loan given to the poor. There must not be a problem with depositing money to the bank and with receiving interest from the bank because the bank and the banker are not poor”. Of course, it is not possible to accept this thought in Islamic grounds as well because Allah did not introduce the prohibition upon the condition that whether the payer is strong or not. That is to say, interest is not a legal gain regardless of the lender, whether it be rich, poor, bank, or any other entity. In addition, as the banks use the money they have collected in the lending business, the people who deposit money for this reason to the banks become a party to the transaction of gaining money from money, which was made haram/forbidden by our Rabb.

When the issue is viewed in terms of those people who receive loans from banks voluntarily, the unwanted and ugly results of interest will appear more clearly. If the person who borrows money from the bank is a poor person, this means that he/she is receiving the loan for meeting any of his/her need and the bank grabs his/her earnings and labor pro rata the interest as he/she pays back more than what he/she needs. If the person who withdraws loan from the bank is a rich person using the money for an investment, he/she reflects the expense of interest to the cost of his/her business and makes the faultless consumer pay back the interest this way.

As it is seen, in fact, banking business, whose heart beats with interest, inflicts damage on public directly or indirectly; that is to say it behaves them cruelly. Accordingly, depositing money in the banks that are incorporated on the basis of interest means being an occasion for the increase and continuation of badness and cruelty. However, main objective of the religion of Islam is to rescue people from cruelty, theft, and abuse. Hence, it is not possible that interest and the interest-based banking system tally with Islam.

Solution

The religion of capitalism is an economic order that dominates substantial majority of the world today. This religion is based on the principle of “the big fish eats the little one”. Therefore the religion of capitalism is exactly the opposite the religion of Islam in terms of both morality and consciousness. Despite this fact the persons who allege that they are Muslims endeavor to find a place within the principles of capitalism, instead of creating the system and institutions wanted by Allah, which indeed an embarrassing behavior. The behavior that befits Muslims is to constitute an economic system that is suitable for the lifestyle recommended by Allah but, first to exclude themselves from “riba” to get rid of the position of being “the enemy of Allah and His messenger”.

Our Rabb did not withhold His blessings as well, as in every subject, and showed the ways of creating the system and institutions for salvation expressly in the Qur’an, by not letting people search and find what the families and the countries are to do form the calamity, the trouble, of “riba”.

 

Surah Al-Ma’idah 12:

12And surely, Allah took the solemn covenant of Israelites. And We sent from among them twelve supervisors/leaders. And Allah said: “I am surely with you. If you establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], give zaqah/tax, believe in My messengers, support them and loan Allah a good loan, I will definitely remove your evil deeds and admit you into the gardens of Jannah [Heaven/Paradise], underneath of which rivers flow. And whoever among you disbelieves; consciously denies the divinity of Allah and the fact that He is Rabb after this, he has certainly gone astray from the righteous path”.

 

Surah At-Taghabun 17, 18:

17,18And if you loan Allah a good loan, He will multiply it for you and forgive you. And Allah is the One Who repays best, forbears much, knows the unseen and the unheard best, the One Who is the most exalted, the almighty, the most honorable, the invincible/the subduer, the best law maker, the One Who precludes corruption best/makes incorruptible.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 219:

… And they ask you what they should spend for the cause of Allah. Say: “Spend the excess”. Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat for you so you may give thought.

 

Surah At-Tawbah 34, 35:

34O you who have believed! Surely, many of the rabbis/scholars and priests consume the wealth of the people unjustly and avert them from the path of Allah. And as for those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend them for the cause of Allah/provide sustenance first for their relatives and then others, give them the tidings of a painful punishment immediately!

35On that day, gold and silver that they have been hoarding will be heated in the fire of Jahannah [Hell] and their foreheads, flanks and backs will be seared with them: “This is that which you have hoarded for yourselves. Now taste that which you have been hoarding!”.

 

Surah Al-Hadid 11:

11Who is the one who will loan Allah a good loan so He may multiply for him many times! And a noble reward will be for him as well.

 

Surah Al-Ma’idah 2:

2O you who have believed! Do not disrespect the evidences of Allah, the haram/forbidden month, sending food to those who fulfill hajj [pilgrimage], marks attached to the animals that are sent so those who fulfill hajj [pilgrimage]/those who receive high theological education therein will eat and those who wish to fulfill duty of hajj [pilgrimage]/visit Bayt al-Haram seeking for the favor and approval of their Rabb. When the restriction upon you has been released/when you have completed your duty of hajj [pilgrimage], then hunt. Do not let your hatred to a people for having forbidden you from Masjid al-Haram lead you to transgress. Help each other in “being righteous” and entering under the guardianship of Allah, do not help each other in committing sins and animosity. And enter under the guardianship of Allah. Indeed, Allah is the One Whose punishment/penalty is very severe.

 

Surah Al-Ma’idah 48:

48And We have revealed to you the Book/the Qur’an with the truth that confirms, defends and protects a part of the Torah which it contains. Then, judge between them by what Allah has revealed. Do not follow their desires and inclinations by going astray from the truth that has come to you. And We have determined for each of you a roadmap/collective principles of life and a wide, illuminated path. If Allah had willed, He would have made you one community with a leader yet He did not so He may wear you down/test you in what He has given upon you. Therefore, race to the good. To Allah is your return all together. Then, He will inform you about that over which you differed.

 

Surah Ali-Imran 103, 104:

103And cling firmly onto the rope of Allah all together/guard yourselves with the rope of Allah, do not become divided and remember the favor of Allah upon you: When you were enemies to each other and Allah brought your hearts together. Then you became brothers by His favor. You were on the edge of a fire pit and He saved you from there. Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat/evidences/signs for you so you may follow the righteous path you are guided.

104And let there be a group of people with a leader from among you who invite to good, instruct good that is accepted by all, preclude evil via Wahy [Revelation] and common sense. And they are the ones who will reach salvation.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 45, 46:

45-46And seek help through patience, Salah [supporting financially and spiritually; enlightening the community]. –Surely, seeking help through patience and Salah is very difficult for all other than those who show respect; who believe from the bottom of their hearts that they will meet their Rabb and they will be returned to Him.-

 

Surah Al-Baqara 153:

153O you who have believed! Ask for help through patience and Salah [supporting financially and spiritually; enlightening the community]. Indeed, Allah is with those who have patience.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 195:

195And spend your wealth for the cause of Allah/provide sustenance for your relatives first and then others, do not put yourselves in danger with your own hands and do good deeds. Indeed, Allah likes those who do good deeds.

 

Surah Al-Baqara 245:

245Who is the one who loans Allah a good loan so Allah may multiply it for him many times over. Allah restricts and gives abundance as well. And you will be returned only to Him.

 

Surah Al-Asr 1-3:

1-3Condition of the humanity in the age you live is the evidence that, all people are definitely in absolute loss, damage, depression, agony except for those who believe, do amendatory deeds, advise each other the truth; make it primary task/remind each other, advice each other patience; make it primary task/remind each other.

 

Surah Al-Ankabut 45:

45You, recite/follow what has been revealed to you from the book and establish Salah [establish and maintain the institution that supports financially and spiritually; enlightens the community]. Indeed, Salah [supporting financially and spiritually; the institution that enlightens the community] prevents from transgression, evil. And remembrance of Allah is indeed greater. And Allah knows that which you do and produce.

 

Surah Mary 59-61:

59-61A bad generation came after them, and they took away Salah [supporting financially and spiritually; striving to enlighten the community] from their lives. And they followed their desires. Therefore, they all, except those of them who have repented and believed and done righteous deeds, will be punished for their transgression. Then those of them who repent and believe and do righteous deeds will enter Jannah [Heaven/Paradise]; to the gardens of Eden which Rahman [Allah; the One Who shows great mercy on the earth to all living beings that He created] promised to His servants – even though they did not see – and they will not be treated unjustly at all. Surely, His promise will certainly be fulfilled.

 

Surah Fatir 5, 6:

5O mankind! Surely, that which Allah has promised to fulfill is true. Then, do not let this simple worldly life delude you. And do not let that deceiver deceive you with Allah. 6Surely, the satan is an enemy for you. Therefore take him as your enemy as well. Surely, satan calls his followers to be among the companions of the blazing fire.

 

Surah Al-A‘la 14-17:

14-17The one who purifies himself, who fulfills Salah; supports others financially and spiritually; strives to enlighten the community mentioning the name of his Rabb will definitely save himself. But you prefer that simple worldly life. Yet, Akhirat [Afterlife] is better and ever lasting.

 

The Ayat given above are some of the hundreds of Ayat that orders sustaining of Salah, Zaqah/tax, and Sadaqa, some of the ways of getting rid of “riba”. With this Ayat, our Rabb orders the believers of Islam to get organized and create unions, to spend their surplus for the sake of Allah, and race in doing good deeds and favors by creating the social support and aid organizations and expressly states that those people who fail to do so will pose sorrow and danger to their societies and live life of hell in the world, and that those people who commit kenz (people who do not bring their moneys out for circulation by keeping them in cubes, under cushions, in safes, and banks) will be punished. Hence, the solution for the persons, families, and countries to get rid of the trouble of “riba” is to conduct deeds through these Ayat and to carry out the tasks ordered by Allah with these Ayat.

For example, Muslims can bring together their surpluses granted by Allah to them in the light of these Ayat instead of depositing them for speculative investments and interests. They may establish partnerships where audits are carried out by the public authority and no abuse is allowed. This way, these people will have created new job possibilities for the unemployed and ensure that money in their hands will bring benefit to others as well. Later on, they may establish social aid and support institutions as well as charities oriented to infaq/aid through the gains obtained from such partnerships and lend money to those Muslims who are in need thanks to such organizations without interest and as qarz al-hasen (Islamic loan). Of course, in the lending done from such social aid organizations, if the borrower is really unable to pay back his/her debt, it must be possible to erase the debt and even to provide more monetary reinforcement to the borrower as required by the recommendation of Allah. Also from these charities, the short-term requirements of the tradesmen must be fulfilled and accordingly prevent the Muslims from entering into the grip of the banks and usurers. In the event that there still is idle money in these charities, new companies can be founded in legitimate ways using these forms and new more charity organizations by means of the revenues obtained from the activities of these companies and it can be ensured that this productive circulation continues by growing.

However, in order to make sure that such system can be operable, actions must be taken first in the family circles and the establishment of the system must be realized by growing along the neighborhood, village, and province because success can, as ordered by our Rabb, only be obtained through the self-correction of persons one by one.

In such as system, neither interest, nor stock exchanges, not another form of “riba” is needed; more accurately, no type of “riba” will be required because the public authority has to establish institutions that can carry out the works such as collection of surpluses in the hand of the public and present them for the utilization of the partnerships that will make use of them in their investments, for the continuation of such economic order, without any interest. These institutions will not only be able to carry out the works done by the banks and stock exchanges of the capitalist system on behalf of people but also fulfill the transactions of the traders and people such as collection of checks and deeds and remittances not within the order of theft, just like that of the banks of today, but in return of respective charges, or free of charge if no such charge is applied.

The first objection that will be raised by the mentality that adopted the religion of capitalism and got used to get fed by the unjust gains of this religion, regarding the conductibility of such a system will probably in regard to failure of not taking inflation into account because, according to this mentality, interest is an instrument that balances the negative impacts of inflation and especially the small owners of savings might be subject to injustice in an economy without interest.

According to some theories, inflation that is defined in economy as “Collective increase of money supply, monetary revenues or the prices” (Ana Britannica, v:11, p:266) exhibits forms like “cost”, “demand”, “excess”, “concealed” and “structural” in regards to source of such increase, the stages it has experienced, and the level of development of countries (Encyclopedia Economy, v:1, p:393). As can be understood from its definition, inflation is absolutely related with the economical system and in the form of an “unwanted increase”. That is to say, inflation is an unwanted product of the irregularities within the economic system. This means that if there are no irregularities within the economic order, nothing like inflation can be of any talk. For example, if there is no interest applied in an economy, “high level of interest”, one of the most important reasons of inflation, would be automatically eliminated. Or, if the people of a country direct themselves toward conducting state-planned investments with their surpluses, instead of speculative purchases, no one can be afraid of inflation related with the increase in demands. Or in a country where import and export are conducted in supervision; that is to say, where foreign trade is in balance; devaluation, another reason of inflation, will never be in question. In summary, if the public of a society sincerely obeys Allah’s orders and establish an economic order where such orders are dominant, no transactions causing “riba” with the excuses such as inflation will not be in question and, thus, the risk of waging a war against Allah and His messenger will be eliminated for everyone.

Another topic that must be emphasized in this issue is the use of measures in the form of foreign currency, valuable mines, and commodities in the interpersonal lending transactions in fear of incurring damages due to inflation. In such cases, the issue must be analyzed through the eyes of the debtor because the creditor who is afraid of incurring losses may be protecting himself/herself through this way but the protection is fulfilled by the debtor and the party that incurs losses due to inflation is the debtor. In other words, the creditor, who is stronger than the debtor, makes the ever-weak debtor pay the penalty of the disordered economy. It is clear that such behavior does not comply with the words of our Rabb He expresses as: “If the debtor is in hardship, he/she must be given time until his ease! If known, it is better for them to give it as sadaqa!” It is because our Rabb states through this expression that the Muslims must take the risk of loss for their brothers and sisters. Accordingly, Muslims must not do such deeds in fear of incurring losses. Moreover, they must adopt it as their principle that they must never give up lending money, which is a worse behavior.

We are concluding the analysis of this a little longer analysis in regards to Riba, by reference to the importance our Rabb attaches to it, by underlining the expressions of Prof. Dr. Mehmet Yazıcı in the symposium in which he took part as a “negotiator”, held by Ensar Foundation in 1986, entitled “Financing Issues in the Economy of Islam” and we recommend our sisters and brothers to pay attention specifically to the last sentence of this expression.

“… Islam is a religion and this religion has a unique order of economy. Banking is concept and institution in the economical orders that are outside of the Islamic order of economy. In the Islamic order of economy, there is no such concept and institution. Hence, there cannot be “Islamic banking…” The struggles to Islamize some institutions and concepts that are opposite Islam contradict Islam. This attitude is wrong. Please forgive me but, one must not be surprised if scientific meetings entitled “Islamic Winemaking” are organized if the things go this way… Interest is haram/forbidden in Islam. In the Islamic order of economy, interest and interest based banking and similar institutions have no place. In the Islamic economics, financing problems are solved especially by means of partnerships. Islam praises all kinds of partnerships. In the Islamic societies, ways of establishing partnerships through small savings for trading and production of goods and services must be sought. A good Muslim cannot already have substantial savings”. [7]

 

 

                                                                                       Hakkı YILMAZ

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[1] KURTUBI

[2] KURTUBI

[3] RAZI

[4] RAZI

[5] Lisan al-Arab; 4/ 54-56, rbv atc.

[6] Financing Issues in the Economy of Islam, Ensar Publications, Istanbul 1992, p: 316, 317

[7] Financing Issues in the Economy of Islam, Ensar Publications, Istanbul 1992, p:463-465