Almost all banks, movies, corporates, colleagues and friends n' family provide us with some creative ideas on how to improve our future by keeping our "idle" money in savings accounts, or as a fixed deposit, or under a deposit pension scheme etc etc. I hear commercials on the TV and radio which say return from banking interests can save us from misery. The commercials say "Ensure your child's future with our flexible deposit schemes... 10% per annum... 12% per annum... No hidden charges... Your choice". Or "Buy your dream car for interest as low as only 4%". Very impressive and very lucrative indeed. I mean, if that is all I need to do from the earliest stage of my life to secure the future of my wife, my children and my medical expenses for my old age - I would dive right in. It's my choice, right?
And then Allah says ABSOLUTELY CLEARLY in plain words:
"O you who believe! Eat not Ribâ doubled and multiplied, but fear Allâh that you may be successful"
- Surah Aal-'Imraan - Chapter 3 - Verse 130.
So what is Ribâ.
[*1] Ribâ: Usury of two major kinds:
a) Riba An-Nasî'ah, i.e., interest on lent money;
b) Riba Al-Fadl, i.e., taking a superior thing of the same kind of goods by giving more of the same kind of goods of inferior quality, e.g., dates of superior quality for dates of inferior quality in great amounts.
Thus, banking interests (whether it's savings account, or deposit scheme or whatever) clearly falls under Riba An-Nasî'ah. And giving more mass of the 1990s gold, to get a lesser mass of the current modern gold in return (something we all tend to see during weddings where the mother exchanges her old gold to give modern gold to the bride) clearly falls under Riba Al-Fadl. Now, most of us knew about the debates of Riba An-Nasî'ah but not about Riba Al-Fadl, right?
I see my friends and my family members HEAVILY advocating the benefits of opening which account in which bank. How much return will we get by depositing a hundred thousand bucks, or even ten thousand bucks, in which bank. How many folds of return we will get out of it in 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, 10 years etc from our "idle" money by doing absolutely nothing - A SECURED FUTURE SERVED AS A PIECE OF CAKE INDEED, huh? This is WRONG!
Allah also says ABSOLUTELY CLEARLY in plain words:
"Those who eat Ribâ will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitân (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: "Trading is only like Ribâ," whereas Allâh has permitted trading and forbidden Ribâ. So, whosoever receives an warning from his Lord and stops eating Ribâ, shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allâh (to judge); but whoever returns (to Ribâ), such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein forever."
- Surah al-Baqarah - Chapter 2 - Verse 275
From the verse here, it's clear that eaters from Ribâ shall not be punished for their past if they let go of the sources of Ribâ and repent sincerely to Allah and promise to never go back to those affairs again. However brothers and sisters, if you are planning to enjoy from Ribâ now and to let go of Ribâ later when you have almost reached the age of retirement in the hope that Allah would forgive you then, how do you know you won't die in a road accident tomorrow while going from home to office or while coming back from office to home? Please act on your intentions right now instead of waiting for yourself to get retired. Enjoying all haraam now and planning to let go of haraam later is not entirely a sincere asking of forgiveness from Allah.
[*2] Quoting a sahih hadith from the book of Bukhari:
Narrated Abu Hurairah [radhi-yAllâhu 'anhu]: The Prophet [sal-Allâhu 'alayhi wa sallam] said, "Avoid the seven great destructive sins." The people enquired, "O Allâh's Messenger! What are they?" He said, "(1) To join others in worship along with Allâh, (2) to practise sorcery, (3) to kill a person which Allâh has forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islâmic law), (4) to eat up Ribâ, (5) to eat up an orphan's wealth, (6) to show one's back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and (7) to accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are true believers."
- [Sahih Al-Bukhâri, 4/2766 (O.P.28)].
Brothers and Sisters, Allah promises to provide for our sustenance if we live and spend according to His prescribed methods and beliefs. Gobbling upon the attractiveness of interests from banks, or business, or loan, or exchange, or whatever means for the sake of ensuring the sustenance of our future is a way which does not make Allah pleased with us. May Allah Guide us all in the right path. Earning wealth is not wrong when done the right way. But earning interest is SUPER DUPER UBER wrong.
I am not a religious scholar and neither am I pretending to be one. This is just my effort to try and make my muslim friends, family, acquaintances and others aware of the implications of the orders of Islam. May Allah guide us all in the right path. May Allah guide me in the right path. May we all be benefited from the marvelous blessings of Allah that He has bestowed upon us. May we learn to appreciate the marvelous blessings of Allah that He has already bestowed upon us and that He has kept in reserve for us InshAllah.
[*1] Footnote of verse 2:275 from the book called "Interpretation of the Meanings of the Nobel Qur'an in the English Language" - compiled by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilall adn Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan - published by Darussalam Publishers & Distributors
[*2] Footnote of verse 3:130 from the book called "Interpretation of the Meanings of the Nobel Qur'an in the English Language" - compiled by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilall adn Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan - published by Darussalam Publishers & Distributors