interest halal (permissible) in any form?
Taking of interest (Riba) is not only forbidden in the Qur’an (Al-Baqarah
275-281, al-Imran 3:130)
but Bible as well (Exodus
22:25, Leviticus 25:36, Leviticus 25:37, Deuteronomy 23:19, Ezekiel 18:13,17).
has been considered immoral and harmful for a society not only by some of the
ancient economists but modern ones as well. See, for example:
The reason why
it is considered unfair is that, in addition to binding a borrower to reproduce
and return what he has borrowed (which is totally fair), it demands of him to
return, no matter what, something over and above it. For example, if a person
invests the borrowed money in some business and, unfortunately, faces a heavy
loss, he would still be bound to give the lender something more than what he has
actually borrowed. On part of the lender, there lies a greedy mentality of
multiplying his wealth without taking into account the situation of the
However, it should be noted
that if the lender asks the borrower to share some amount of profit with him, it
cannot be considered interest as he is not asking for any fixed increment in all
cases but only imposing a condition in the case of profit.
Q: I mean
buying things on lease or getting loan on lease etc., are these allowed in any
way or any case?
Please note the following points which would, hopefully, cover your question:
only related to consumable goods e.g., money and food etc. The additional
money one pays on monthly basis on buying, for example, a car or house is
rent, not interest. However, in such a case, the ownership of the item must
reside with the seller until or unless the buyer pays the agreed upon amount
in full. If the buyer fails to pay this amount, the item, a car, house or
whatever, must be returned back to the owner.
interest or to help someone in taking it (e.g., writing interest’s agreement
or going to collect interest money on someone’s behalf etc.) is prohibited in
Islam. Whereas, paying of interest is neither prohibited in the Qur’an
nor the Hadith. People have understood a hadith (Sahih
of Muslim no. 4093) wrongly due to which they hold that paying of
interest is prohibited too. That hadith forbids to “cooperate” or
“assist” someone in interest’s business and, on its basis, some people argue
that paying of interest is, in fact, to assist interest’s business. Although,
the one who pays it does so out of helplessness and does not intend to
cooperate or assist anyone in interest’s business, therefore, the culprit is
only the one who demands it.
Q: Should a
option be considered?
Yes, in my opinion, it should be considered when one does not have sufficient
means to assist one’s studies. As I have discussed above, only taking of
interest is a sin. The one who pays it cannot be blamed, for he is the one who
is wronged and treated unfairly with.
Even if we agree
for a moment that paying of interest is also prohibited, still, one may be
exempted from almost any ruling of Sharia in case of helplessness. For
example, covering of private body parts is obligatory for believing men and
24:30 and 31)
but in case of a medical problem, nobody would prohibit a patient to reveal
these parts for a medical checkup. Similarly, in your case, when it seems
impossible for you to carry on your studies without taking loan on interest, you
may opt for it.
Interest is such
an epidemic which has infected whole of our economic system; no one can flee
from it at this time. When some moral plague makes such a place in a society,
Islam teaches us to gradually and periodically annihilate it.
The best example
in this regard is the evil of slavery in the Arab society in the time when the
Qur’an was revealing. The Qur’an did not finish it overnight
because it simply was not possible. Had it given an instant order to free all
slaves, the whole Arab economy which was based on slavery would have immediately
collapsed. Secondly, there were old, sick and handicap slaves who, if instantly
freed, would have found no means of sustenance but to beg in streets. Similarly,
there were young maids who might have to opt for prostitution and young men who
might have become thieves. Islam first improved people’s awareness about the
problem by introducing the concept of equality in the society, then paved way to
help the slaves become self sufficient to live on their own and, in the process,
closed the door for everyone to make new slaves. In the same way, instead of
eradicating interest overnight which would collapse our economic system in a
single moment, wisdom as well as the model of the Qur’anic reformations
suggests that we should think of alternative ways to get rid of it and, in the
meanwhile, tolerate it until an alternative system is fully functional. (By
tolerating, I do not mean to back it up but let interest-based institutions,
e.g. banks, work.)
I hope this
would be helpful. Should you have any other query, please feel free to write. Of
course, Allah knows the best and we are only the students of His D’in.
answers are based on Alama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi’s research. For further reading
please see his book: Meezan, 3rd ed., Chapter:
Qanoon-e-Maeshat (Lahore: Al-Mawrid, 2008), p. 508 to 512. Available online