Friday, October 12, 2018

THE PROHIBITION OF RIBA


Riba is derived from the derivative word “raba-wa” it has certain meanings as “to increase, to grow, to grow up, to exceed, be more than”. In the specific sense, Riba is generally translated into English as usury or interest but in fact it has a much broader sense under shariah.  Riba is prohibited by the texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, this was the conclusion drawn unanimously by the Muslim jurists (fuqaha) and it is also the decisive view of the vast majority of modern Muslim scholars. Despite this general agreement, a confusion persists in the minds of many, jurists and laymen alike, that even though some forms of interest are prohibited, the simple interest charged by banks may not be prohibited by Islamic law.
As there is no specification of any particular kind of riba in the Holy Qur’an. However, there is a general agreement among the religious scholars that it is that from of practice of riba which was common before the advent of Islam. usurious transactions were classified into two categories, First, Riba al-Fadl, the excess over and above the loan paid in kind. It lies in the payment of an addition by the debtor to the creditor in exchange of commodities of the same kind. Second, Riba al-Nasi’ah, refers to the interest on loans, its prohibition essentially implies that the fixing in advance of a positive return on a loan as a reward for waiting is not permitted in Islam. Some scholars added a third category of riba named Riba al-Jahiliyah or pre-Islamic Riba, often manifested by the lender asking the borrower at maturity date if he will settle the debt or increase it.
Yet it has not been forbidden in the Qur’an immediately, contrary to this, it has been proceeded slowly and carefully, observed spiritual, social, legal, political, economic situations and in brief. The Prophet Muhammad and his companions have applied this strategy patienly and stably. It is shown that the usury was abolished in two main stages. The first is preparation stage for prohibition of usury and the second is prohibition stage of usury. The preparation stage included three stage, one of them causing people to sense badness of usury and the others psychological and economical preparation against usury in which one lies inside the other historically. This prohibition was realized in the context of not doing injustice and not being exposed to injustice. Within this general framework and aim, the rights of debtors and payees were mutually protected. In order to define the usury prohibited in the Qur’an, we must keep in mind the historical process emphasized so far as well as the strategies of prohibiting and the features formed within this process.
On riba, the direct Quranic references are to be found in four surah or chapters. These verse are an ascending scale which starts with a mere judgment of value, followed by an implicit prohibition, then a limited one and finally, a total and conclusive prohibition. The main reason behind the prohibition of usury in dealing with these commodities is that they were the basic necessities at that time without which the citizens could not live a comfortable life. Gold and Silver were the basic currencies at the time of the Messenger of Allah, which were used for buying and selling purposes. Shariah prohibited the practice of riba on the pretext that if it was used in dealing with these commodities, it would have hurt the interest of the people consequently resulting in the breakdown of the whole society.
Moreover, the detailed varieties of usurious transactions as well as such prohibition have explained and elaborated by the Sunnah. For example, the Messenger of Allah has cursed the one who accepted riba, the one who paid it, the one who recorded it and the two witness of it, saying they were all alike. It is also reported that the Prophet Muhammad has said to the effect “exchange gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates, salt for salt, measure for measure and hand to hand”. Interest in the modern world is categorically prohibited in the Holy Qur’an and practices of the Prophet Muhammad. Riba arises with loan, i.e car loan, home loan, term loan or overdraft, hire purchase loan and personal loan. Riba in savings and fixed deposit account, riba in credit card. More often than not riba is intertwined with modern banking and finance.

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