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Riba (Arabic: ربا, rɪbæː) means usury and is forbidden in Islamic economic jurisprudence.


The Qur'an states the following on Riba:

That they took riba, though they were forbidden and that they devoured men’s substance wrongfully – We have prepared for those among men who reject faith a grievous punishment (

Those who charge riba are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence. This is because they claim that riba is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits riba. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from riba, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. As for those who persist in riba, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever (

God condemns riba, and blesses charities. God dislikes every disbeliever, guilty. Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. O you who believe, you shall observe God and refrain from all kinds of riba, if you are believers. If you do not, then expect a war from God and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capitals, without inflicting injustice, or incurring injustice. If the debtor is unable to pay, wait for a better time. If you give up the loan as a charity, it would be better for you, if you only knew. (

O you who believe, you shall not take riba, compounded over and over. Observe God, that you may succeed. (

And for practicing riba, which was forbidden, and for consuming the people's money illicitly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them painful retribution. (

The riba that is practiced to increase some people's wealth, does not gain anything at God. But if people give to charity, seeking God's pleasure, these are the ones who receive their reward many fold. (


Riba is also mentioned in Ahadith and is considered one of the seven major sins:

Jabir said that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) cursed the accepter of usury and its payer, and one who records it, and the two witnesses, and he said: They are all equal.

It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: Avoid the seven noxious things. It was said (by the hearers): What are they, Messenger of Allah? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Associating anything with Allah, magic, killing of one whom God has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, and consuming of usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers, but unwary.

Narrated Abu Said: We used to be given mixed dates (from the booty) and used to sell (barter) two Sas of those dates) for one Sa (of good dates). The Prophet said (to us), "No (bartering of) two Sas for one Sa nor two Dirhams for one Dirham is permissible", (as that is a kind of usury). (See Hadith No. 405).

Narrated Az-Zuhri from Malik bin Aus: that the latter said, "Who has change?" Talha said, "I (will have change) when our store-keeper comes from the forest."

Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: Allah's Apostle said, "The bartering of gold for silver is Riba, (usury), except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and wheat grain for wheat grain is usury except if it is form hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates is usury except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and barley for barley is usury except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount.".

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet said, "The selling of wheat for wheat is Riba (usury) except if it is handed from hand to hand and equal in amount. Similarly the selling of barley for barley, is Riba except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates is usury except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount.

Narrated Ibn Shihab: that Malik bin Aus said, "I was in need of change for one-hundred Dinars. Talha bin 'Ubaid-Ullah called me and we discussed the matter, and he agreed to change (my Dinars). He took the gold pieces in his hands and fidgeted with them, and then said, "Wait till my storekeeper comes from the forest." 'Umar was listening to that and said, "By Allah! You should not separate from Talha till you get the money from him, for Allah's Apostle said, 'The selling of gold for gold is Riba (usury) except if the exchange is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and similarly, the selling of wheat for wheat is Riba (usury) unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and the selling of barley for barley is usury unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates, is usury unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount"

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The selling of wheat for wheat is Riba (usury) except if it is handed from hand to hand and equal in amount. Similarly the selling of barley for barley, is Riba except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates is usury except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount.

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle appointed somebody as a governor of Khaibar. That governor brought to him an excellent kind of dates (from Khaibar). The Prophet asked, "Are all the dates of Khaibar like this?" He replied, "By Allah, no, O Allah's Apostle! But we barter one Sa of this (type of dates) for two Sas of dates of ours and two Sas of it for three of ours." Allah's Apostle said, "Do not do so (as that is a kind of usury) but sell the mixed dates (of inferior quality) for money, and then buy good dates with that money."

Narrated 'Aun bin Abu Juhaifa: My father bought a slave who practiced the profession of cupping. (My father broke the slave's instruments of cupping). I asked my father why he had done so. He replied, "The Prophet forbade the acceptance of the price of a dog or blood, and also forbade the profession of tattooing, getting tattooed and receiving or giving Riba, (usury), and cursed the picture-makers."

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abu Aufa: A man displayed some goods in the market and took a false oath that he had been offered so much for them though he was not offered that amount Then the following Divine Verse was revealed:-- "Verily! Those who purchase a little gain at the cost of Allah's covenant and their oaths . . . Will get painful punishment." (3.77) Ibn Abu Aufa added, "Such person as described above is a treacherous Riba-eater (i.e. eater of usury).

Narrated Abu Burda: When I came to Medina. I met Abdullah bin Salam. He said, "Will you come to me so that I may serve you with Sawiq (i.e. powdered barley) and dates, and let you enter a (blessed) house that in which the Prophet entered?" Then he added, "You are In a country where the practice of Riba (i.e. usury) is prevalent; so if somebody owe you something and he sends you a present of a load of chopped straw or a load of barley or a load of provender then do not take it, as it is Riba."

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Gold is to be paid for by gold, silver by silver, wheat by wheat, barley by barley, dates by dates, salt by salt, like by like, payment being made hand to hand. He who made an addition to it, or asked for an addition, in fact dealt in usury. The receiver and the giver are equally guilty.

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Dates are to be paid for by dates, wheat by wheat, barley by barley, salt by salt, like for like, payment being made on the spot. He who made an addition or demanded an addition, in fact, dealt in usury except in case where their classes differ. This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Fudail b. Ghazwan with the same chain of transmitters, but he made no mention of (payment being) made on the spot.

Abu Minhal reported: My partner sold silver to be paid in the (Hajj) season or (in the days of) Hajj. He (my partner) came to me and informed me, and I said to him: Such transaction is not desirable. He said: I sold it in the market (on loan) but nobody objected to this. I went to al-Bara' b. 'Azib and asked him, and he said: Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) came to Medina and we made such transaction, whereupon he said: In case the payment is made on the spot, there is no harm in it, and in case (it is 'sold) on loan, it is usury. You better go to Zaid b. Arqam, for he is a greater trader than I; so I went to him and asked him, and he said like it.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) concluded peace with the people of Najran on condition that they would pay to Muslims two thousand suits of garments, half of Safar, and the rest in Rajab, and they would lend (Muslims) thirty coats of mail, thirty horses, thirty camels, and thirty weapons of each type used in battle. Muslims will stand surely for them until they return them in case there is any plot or treachery in the Yemen. No church of theirs will be demolished and no clergyman of theirs will be turned out. There will be no interruption in their religion until they bring something new or take usury. Isma'il said: They took usury.

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A time is certainly coming to mankind when only the receiver of usury will remain, and if he does not receive it, some of its vapour will reach him. Ibn Isa said: Some of its dust will reach him.

Narrated Ubadah ibn as-Samit: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Gold is to be paid for with gold, raw and coined, silver with silver, raw and coined (in equal weight), wheat with wheat in equal measure, barley with barley in equal measure, dates with dates in equal measure, salt by salt with equal measure; if anyone gives more or asks more, he has dealt in usury. But there is no harm in selling gold for silver and silver (for gold), in unequal weight, payment being made on the spot. Do not sell them if they are to be paid for later. There is no harm in selling wheat for barley and barley (for wheat) in unequal measure, payment being made on the spot. If the payment is to be made later, then do not sell them.

Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If anyone makes two transactions combined in one bargain, he should have the lesser of the two or it will involve usury.

Narrated AbuUmamah: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If anyone intercedes for his brother and he presents a gift to him for it and he accepts it, he approaches a great door of the doors of usury.

Narrated Sa'id ibn Zayd: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The most prevalent kind of usury is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honour.

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: 'Umar delivered a sermon on the pulpit of Allah's Apostle, saying, "Alcoholic drinks were prohibited by Divine Order, and these drinks used to be prepared from five things, i.e., grapes, dates, wheat, barley and honey. Alcoholic drink is that, that disturbs the mind." 'Umar added, "I wish Allah's Apostle had not left us before he had given us definite verdicts concerning three matters, i.e., how much a grandfather may inherit (of his grandson), the inheritance of Al-Kalala (the deceased person among whose heirs there is no father or son), and various types of Riba(1 ) (usury) ."

Yahya related to me from Malik that Yahya ibn Said said, "The Messenger of Allah, mayAllah bless him and grant him peace, ordered the two Sads to sell a vessel made of either gold or silver from the booty. They either sold each three units of weight for four units of weight of coins or each four units of weight for three units of weight or coins. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to them, 'You have taken usury, so return it.' "

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that Said ibn al-Musayyab said, "There is no usury in animals. There are three things forbidden in animals: al-madamin, al-malaqih and habal al-habala. Al-madamin is the sale of what is in the wombs of female camels. Al-malaqih is the sale of the breeding qualities of camels" (i.e. for stud).

Malik said, "No one should buy a specified animal when it is concealed from him or in another place, even if he has already seen it, very recently or not so recently, and was pleased enough with it to pay its price in cash."

Malik said, "That is disapproved of because the seller makes use of the price and it is not known whether or not those goods are found to be as the buyer saw them or not. For that reason, it is disapproved of. There is no harm in it if it is described and guaranteed."

Malik related to me from Musa ibn Maysara that he heard a man ask Said ibn al-Musayyab, "I am a man who sells for a debt." Said said, "Do not sell except for what you take to your camel."

Malik spoke about a person who bought goods from a man provided that he provide him with those goods by a specific date, either in time for a market in which he hoped for their saleability, or to fulfil a need at the time he stipulated. Then the seller failed him about the date, and the buyer wanted to return those goods to the seller. Malik said, "The buyer cannot do that, and the sale is binding on him. If the seller does bring the goods before the completion of the term, the buyer cannot be forced to take them."

Malik spoke about a person who bought food and measured it. Then some one came to him to buy it and he told him that he had measured it for himself and taken it in full. The new buyer wanted to trust him and accept his measure. Malik said, "Whatever is sold in this way for cash has no harm in it but whatever is sold in this way on delayed terms is disapproved of until the new buyer measures it out for himself. The sale with delayed terms is disapproved of because it leads to usury and it is feared that it will be circulated in this way without weight or measure. If the terms are delayed it is disapproved of and there is no disagreement about that with us."

Malik said, "One should not buy a debt owed by a man whether present or absent, without the confirmation of the one who owes the debt, nor should one buy a debt owed to a man by a dead person even if one knows what the deceased man has left. That is because to buy that is an uncertain transaction and one does not know whether the transaction will be completed or not completed."

He said, "The explanation of what is disapproved of in buying a debt owed by someone absent or dead, is that it is not known what unknown debtor may be connected to the dead person. If the dead person is liable for another debt, the price which the buyer gave on strength of the debt may become worthless."

Malik said, "There is another fault in that as well. He is buying something which is not guaranteed for him, and so if the deal is not completed, what he paid becomes worthless. This is an uncertain transaction and it is not good."

Malik said, "One distinguishes between a man who is only selling what he actually has and a man who is being paid in advance for something which is not yet in his possession. The man advancing the money brings his gold which he intends to buy with. The seller says, 'This is 10 dinars. What do you want me to buy for you with it?' It is as if he sold 10 dinars cash for 15 dinars to be paid later. Because of this, it is disapproved of. It is something leading to usury and fraud."

And Malik related to me that he had heard that a man came to Abdullah ibn Umar and said, "Abu Abd ar-Rahman, I gave a man a loan and stipulated that he give me better than what I lent him." Abdullah ibn Umar said, "That is usury." Abdullah said, "Loans are of three types: A free loan which you lend by which you desire the pleasure of Allah, and so you have the pleasure of Allah. A free loan which you lend by which you desire the pleasure of your companion, so you have the pleasure of your companion, and a free loan which you lend by which you take what is impure by what is pure, and that is usury." He said, "What do you order me to do, Abu Abd ar-Rahman?" He said, "I think that you should tear up the agreement. If he gives you the like of what you lent him, accept it. If he gives you less than what you lent him, take it and you will be rewarded. If he gives you better than what you lent him, of his own good will, that is his gratitude to you and you have the wage of the period you gave him the loan."

Malik related to me that Zayd ibn Aslam said, "Usury in the Jahiliyya was that a man would give a loan to a man for a set term. When the term was due, he would say, 'Will you pay it off or increase me?' If the man paid, he took it. If not, he increased him in his debt and lengthened the term for him ."

Malik said, "The disapproved of way of doing things about which there is no dispute among us, is that a man should give a loan to a man for a term, and then the demander reduce it and the one from whom it is demanded pay it in advance. To us that is like someone who delays repaying his debt after it is due to his creditor and his creditor increases his debt." Malik said, "This is nothing else but usury. No doubt about it."

Malik spoke about a man who loaned one hundred dinars to a man for two terms. When it was due, the person who owed the debt said to him, "Sell me some goods, whose price is one hundred dinars in cash for one hundred and fifty on credit." Malik said, "This transaction is not good, and the people of knowledge still forbid it."

Malik said, "This is disapproved of because the creditor himself gives the debtor the price of what the man sells him, and he defers repayment of the hundred of the first transaction for the debtor for the term which is mentioned to him in the second transaction, and the debtor increases him with fifty dinars for his deferring him. That is disapproved of and it is not good. It also resembles the hadith of Zayd ibn Aslam about the transactions of the people of the Jahiliyya. When their debts were due, they said to the person with the debt, 'Either you pay in full or you increase it.' If they paid, they took it, and if not they increased debtors in their debts, and extended the term for them."

Malik said, "The generally agreed on way of doing things among us about whatever is weighed but is not gold or silver, i.e. copper, brass, lead, black lead, iron, herbs, figs, cotton, and any such things that are weighed, is that there is no harm in bartering all those sorts of things two for one, hand to hand. There is no harm in taking a ritl of iron for two ritls of iron, and a ritl of brass for two ritls of brass."

Malik said, "There is no good in two for one of one sort with delayed terms. There is no harm in taking two of one sort for one of another on delayed terms, if the two sorts are clearly different. If both sorts resemble each other but their names are different, like lead and black lead, brass and yellow brass, I disapprove of taking two of one sort for one of the other on delayed terms."

Malik said, "When buying something of this nature, there is no harm in selling It beforetaking possession of it to some one other than the person from whom it was purchased, if the price is taken immediately and if it was bought originally by measure or weight. If it was bought without measuring, it should be sold to someone other than the person from whom it was bought, for cash or with delayed terms. That is because goods have to be guaranteed when they are bought without measuring, and they cannot be guaranteed when bought by weight until they are weighed and the deal is completed. This is the best of what I have heard about all these things. It is what people continue to do among us."

Malik said, "The way of doing things among us with what is measured or weighed of things which are not eaten or drunk, like safflower, date-stones, fodder leaves, indigo dye and the like of that is that there is no harm in bartering all those sort of things two for one, hand to hand. Do not take two for one from the same variety with delayed terms. If the types are clearly different, there is no harm in taking two of one for one of the other with delayed terms. There is no harm in selling whatever is purchased of all these sorts, before taking delivery of them if the price is taken from someone other than the person from whom they were purchased."

Malik said, "Anything of any variety that profits people, like gravel and gypsum, one quantity of them for two of its like with delayed terms is usury. One quantity of both of them for its equal plus any increase with delayed terms, is usury."

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said, ''I heard Abdullah ibn Abbas say, when a man asked him about a man making an advance on some garments and then wanting to sell them back before taking possession of them, 'That is silver for silver,' and he disapproved of it."

Malik said, "Our opinion is - and Allah knows best that was because he wanted to sell them to the person from whom he had bought them for more than the price for which he bought them. Had he sold them to some one other than the person from whom he had purchased them, there would not have been any harm in it."

Malik said, "The generally agreed on way of doing things among us concerning making an advance for slaves, cattle or goods is that when all of what is to be sold is described and an advance is made for them for a date, and the date falls due, the buyer does not sell any of that to the person from whom he has purchased it for more than the price which he advanced for it before he has taken full possession of what he has advanced for. It is usury if he does. If the buyer gives the seller dinars or dirhams and he profits with them, then, when the goods come to the buyer and he does not take them into his possession but sells them back to their owner for more than what he advanced for them, the outcome is that what he has advanced has returned to him and has been increased for him."

Malik said, "If someone advances gold or silver for described animals or goods which are to be delivered before a named date, and the date arrives, or it is before or after the date, there is no harm in the buyer selling those goods to the seller, for other goods, to be taken immediately and not delayed, no matter how extensive the amount of those goods is, except in the case of food because it is not halal to sell it before he has full possession of it. The buyer can sell those goods to some one other than the person from whom he purchased them for gold or silver or any goods. He takes possession of it and does not defer it because if he defers it, that is ugly and there enters into the transaction what is disapproved of: delay for delay. Delay for delay is to sell a debt against one man for a debt against another man."

Malik said, "If someone advances for goods to be delivered after a time, and those goods are neither something to be eaten nor drunk, he can sell them to whomever he likes for cash or goods, before he takes delivery of them, to some one other than the person from whom he purchased them. He must not sell them to the person from whom he bought them except in exchange for goods which he takes possession of immediately and does not defer."

Malik said, "If the delivery date for the goods has not arrived, there is no harm in selling them to the original owner for goods which are clearly different and which he takes immediate possession of and does not defer."

Malik spoke about the case of a man who advanced dinars or dirhams for four specified pieces of cloth to be delivered before a specified time and when the term fell due, he demanded delivery from the seller and the seller did not have them. He found that the seller had cloth but inferior quality, and the seller said that he would give him eight of those cloths. Malik said, "There is no harm in that if he takes the cloths which he offers him before they separate. It is not good if delayed terms enter into the transaction. It is also not good if that is before the end of the term, unless he sells him cloth which is notthetypeof cloth for which he made an advance.

Yahya related to me from Malik that Yazid ibn Abdullah ibn Qusayt saw Said ibn al-Musayyab sell gold counterpoising for gold. He poured his gold into one pan of the scales, and the man with whom he was counterpoising put his gold in the other pan of the scale and when the tongue of the scales was balanced, they took and gave.

Malik said, "According to the way things are done among us there is no harm in selling gold for gold, and silver for silver by counterpoising weight, even if 11 dinars are taken for 10 dinars hand to hand, when the weight of gold is equal, coin for coin, even if the number is different. Dirhams in such a situation are treated the same way as dinars."

Malik said, "If, when counterpoising gold for gold or silver for silver, there is a difference of weight, one party should not give the other the value of the difference in silver or something else. Such a transaction is ugly and a means to usury because if one of the parties were permitted to take the difference for a separate price, it could be as if he had bought it separately, so he would be permitted. Then it would be possible for him to ask for many times the value of the difference in order to permit the completion of the transaction between the two parties.

Malik said, "If he had really been sold the difference without anything else with it, he would not have taken it for a tenth of the price for which he took it in order to put a 'legal front' on the transaction. This leads to allowing what is forbidden . The matter is forbidden."

Malik said that it was not good when counterpoising to give good old gold coins and put along with them unminted gold in exchange for worn kufic gold, which was unpopular and to then treat the exchange as like for like.

Malik said, "The commentary on why that is disapproved is that the owner of the good gold uses the excellence of his old gold coins as an excuse to throw in the unminted gold with it. Had it not been for the superiority of his (good) gold over the gold of the other party, the other party would not have counterpoised the unminted gold for his kufic gold, and the deal would have been refused.

"It is like a man wanting to buy three sa of ajwa dried dates for two sa and a mudd of kabis dates, and on being told that it was not good, then offering two sa of kabis and a sa of poor dates desiring to make the sale possible. That is not good because the owner of the ajwa should not give him a sa of ajwa for a sa of poor dates. He would only give him that because of the excellence of kabis dates.

"Or it is like a man asking some one to sell him three sa of white wheat for two and a half sa of Syrian wheat, and being told that it was not good except like for like, and so offering two sa of wheat and one sa of barley intending to make the sale possible between them. That is not good because no one would have given a sa of barley for a sa of white wheat had that sa been by itself. It was only given because of the excellence of Syrian wheat over the white wheat. This is not good. It is the same as the case of the unminted gold."

Malik said, "Where gold, silver and food, things which should only be sold like for like, are concerned, something disliked and of poor quality should not be put with something good and desirable in order to make the sale possible and to make a bad situation halal. When something of desirable quality is put with something of poor quality and it is only included so that its excellence in quality is noticed, something is being sold which if it had been sold on its own, would not have been accepted and to which the buyer would not have paid any attention. It is only accepted by the buyer because of the superiority of what comes with it over his own goods. Transactions involving gold, silver, or food, must not have anything of this description enter into them. If the owner of the poor quality goods wants to sell them, he sells them on their own, and does not put anything with them. There is no harm if it is like that."

Narrated Samura bin Jundab: Whenever the Prophet finished the (morning) prayer, he would face us and ask, "Who amongst you had a dream last night?" So if anyone had seen a dream he would narrate it. The Prophet would say: "Ma sha'a-llah" (An Arabic maxim meaning literally, 'What Allah wished,' and it indicates a good omen.) One day, he asked us whether anyone of us had seen a dream. We replied in the negative. The Prophet said, "But I had seen (a dream) last night that two men came to me, caught hold of my hands, and took me to the Sacred Land (Jerusalem). There, I saw a person sitting and another standing with an iron hook in his hand pushing it inside the mouth of the former till it reached the jaw-bone, and then tore off one side of his cheek, and then did the same with the other side; in the mean-time the first side of his cheek became normal again and then he repeated the same operation again. I said, 'What is this?' They told me to proceed on and we went on till we came to a man Lying flat on his back, and another man standing at his head carrying a stone or a piece of rock, and crushing the head of the Lying man, with that stone. Whenever he struck him, the stone rolled away.

The man went to pick it up and by the time he returned to him, the crushed head had returned to its normal state and the man came back and struck him again (and so on). I said, 'Who is this?' They told me to proceed on; so we proceeded on and passed by a hole like an oven; with a narrow top and wide bottom, and the fire was kindling underneath that hole. Whenever the fire-flame went up, the people were lifted up to such an extent that they about to get out of it, and whenever the fire got quieter, the people went down into it, and there were naked men and women in it. I said, 'Who is this?' They told me to proceed on. So we proceeded on till we reached a river of blood and a man was in it, and another man was standing at its bank with stones in front of him, facing the man standing in the river. Whenever the man in the river wanted to come out, the other one threw a stone in his mouth and caused him to retreat to his original position; and so whenever he wanted to come out the other would throw a stone in his mouth, and he would retreat to his original position. I asked, 'What is this?' They told me to proceed on and we did so till we reached a well-flourished green garden having a huge tree and near its root was sitting an old man with some children. (I saw) Another man near the tree with fire in front of him and he was kindling it up. Then they (i.e. my two companions) made me climb up the tree and made me enter a house, better than which I have ever seen. In it were some old men and young men, women and children.

Then they took me out of this house and made me climb up the tree and made me enter another house that was better and superior (to the first) containing old and young people. I said to them (i.e. my two companions), 'You have made me ramble all the night. Tell me all about that I have seen.' They said, 'Yes. As for the one whose cheek you saw being torn away, he was a liar and he used to tell lies, and the people would report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So, he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection.

The one whose head you saw being crushed is the one whom Allah had given the knowledge of Quran (i.e. knowing it by heart) but he used to sleep at night (i.e. he did not recite it then) and did not use to act upon it (i.e. upon its orders etc.) by day; and so this punishment will go on till the Day of Resurrection. And those you saw in the hole (like oven) were adulterers (those men and women who commit illegal sexual intercourse). And those you saw in the river of blood were those dealing in Riba (usury). And the old man who was sitting at the base of the tree was Abraham and the little children around him were the offspring of the people. And the one who was kindling the fire was Malik, the gate-keeper of the Hell-fire. And the first house in which you have gone was the house of the common believers, and the second house was of the martyrs. I am Gabriel and this is Michael. Raise your head.' I raised my head and saw a thing like a cloud over me. They said, 'That is your place.' I said, 'Let me enter my place.' They said, 'You still have some life which you have not yet completed, and when you complete (that remaining portion of your life) you will then enter your place.' "

More ahadith regarding usury can be found in Volume 3, Book 34 "Sales and Trade" of Sahih Bukhari. Additionally, the USC-MSA website has a searchable database of ahadith in which a user can type "usury" as a search term.


The interpretation of riba varies among different scholars of Islamic law and jurisprudence. The popular view in modern Islamic banking and Islamic economic jurisprudence is that the concept of interest itself is riba and is therefore unlawful.

The definition of riba in classical Islamic jurisprudence was "surplus value without counterpart." When "currencies of base metal were first introduced in the Islamic world, no jurist ever thought that paying a debt in a higher number of units of this fiat money was riba" as they were concerned with the real value of money (determined by weight only) rather than its numerical value. For example, it was acceptable for a loan of 1000 gold dinars to be paid back as 1050 dinars of equal aggregate weight of gold (i.e., the value in terms of weight had to be same because all makes of coins did not carry exactly similar weight) - therfore having the same real value. The rationale behind riba according to classical Islamic jurists was "to ensure equivalency in real value" and that the "numerical value was immaterial (or it was not of any concern at that time)." The common denominator between the classical view, and the modern view is that paying fiat money back at a higher value than the original loan is riba, if not any numerical value above the original amount. This would still rule out modern loan interest rates in both opinions so has given birth to the modern Islamic banking and Islamic economic jurisprudence.

Ruling on Riba

Riba[1] is considered amongst Seven Heinous Sins (Al-Saba al-Mubiqat - السَبعَ الموبِقاتِ), namely, i) Shirk, ii) Magic, iii) Suicide, iv) consuming Riba, v) unlawfully taking orphan’s money, vi) fleeing from battlefield and vii) accusing chaste believing women[2]. The Qur'an states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَأْكُلُواْ الرِّبَا أَضْعَافًا مُّضَاعَفَةً وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
3:130 O you who have believed, do not consume usury, doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.

وَأَحَلَّ اللّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا
2:175 Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest

  • The Prophet Mohammad, may Allah’s mercy and peace be upon` him, said in his farewell sermon: “God has forbidden you to take Riba, therefore all riba obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity. God has judged that there shall be no riba and that all the riba due to `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived.”[3].

  • Quran explicitly prohibits Riba, and since Quran is an undisputed source of guidance, all Muslims unanimously agrees on prohibition of Riba. There is no difference of opinion among any school of thought on prohibition of Riba in Islamic Shariah.

    Allah swt mentions that the person who deals with Riba (ربا) will stand (on judgment day) as one who is being beaten by Satan into insanity[4]. Here Allah swt made it clear that “trade” and “riba” are not same, and that He forbade “riba” and allowed “trade”[5]. He further stated that whoever accepts guidance of Allah must immediately stop dealing in Riba, and those who return to Riba after Allah’s guidance has reached are dwellers of fire, because Allah swt destroys “Riba” and He swt reward those who gives Charity.

  • Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) cursed the one who deals with Riba. From Jabir (ra): The Prophet (pbuh) cursed the receiver and the payer of riba, the one who records it and the two witnesses to the transaction and said: "They are all alike [in guilt]." [Sahih al-Muslim, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Bahiqi and Musnad Ahmad]

  • Islamic Shariah considers Riba as tool of oppression and a mean to unjustly take others money[6] by exploiting their needs and circumstances. Hence it forbid Riba base system altogether and it promotes Charity as an alternative. Therefore,, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: “God has judged that there shall be no riba” [Last Sermon].

  • Islamic Shariah also consider Riba as a medium for hoarding money by elite and powerful, and it warns against those who accumulate wealth with this unjust way. Alternatively, Islam on one hand distributes wealth by implementation of Charity, Zakat and Laws of Inheritance, and on other hand, vigorously encourages spending of money to help the needy.
  • The crimes of dealing in Riba are so serious that Allah swt has declared war against those who deal in Riba[7]. The Prophet (pbuh) has cursed anyone who deals with Riba, the one who takes it, one who pays it and one who records it, they are all “equal”[8].

  • Muslims around the world traditionally avoid eating pork and alcohol, whereas, Riba is considered much worse than that. The Prophet (pbuh) declared consumption of Riba worse than adultery: worse than “to a man committing adultery with his own mother”[9].

  •

    [1] The word “Riba”, which is a Quranic term. One of its applications is “interest” or “usury” on loaned money. Quranic term in not limited to money, it includes all those loan transactions where debtor returns in excess or above the original loan, be it money, gold, silver, eatable or any other item or goods; anything in excess to original is considered “Riba” if items exchanged are of same kind (e.g gold for gold). See Definition.
    [2] Al-Saba al-Mubiqat (السَبعَ الموبِقاتِ): Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Avoid the seven great destructive sins." The people enquire, "O Allah's Apostle! What are they? "He said, "To join others in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, (according to Islamic law), to eat up Riba (usury), to eat up an orphan's wealth, to give back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse, chaste women, who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers. [Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim]
    أخرج البخاري ومسلم وأبو داود والنسائي عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال { اجتنبوا السبع الموبقات , قيل يا رسول الله وما هن ؟ قال الشرك بالله , والسحر , وقتل النفس التي حرم الله إلا بالحق , وأكل مال اليتيم , وأكل الربا , والتولي يوم الزحف , وقذف المحصنات الغافلات المؤمنات

    [3] Last Sermon of Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) given on 10 Dul-hajj 10 hijra, mentioned in all book of Hadith. Sahih Bukhari mentions parts of it. Musnad Imam Ahmed recorded the longest and complete speech.

    أَلَا إِنَّ كُلَّ رِبًا كَانَ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ، مَوْضُوعٌ عَنْكُمْ كُلُّهُ، لَكُمْ رُؤُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُم لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَاتُظْلَمُونَ، وَأَوَّلُ رِبًا مَوْضُوعٍ، رِبَا الْعَبَّاسِ بْنِ عَبْدِالْمُطَّلِبِ مَوْضُوعٌ كُلُّه
    [4] Quran 2:275.[al-Baqarah].
    [5] Quran 2:275 [al-Baqarah].
    [6] Quran 4:161 [an-Nisa].
    [7] Quran 2:278 [al-baqarah].
    [8] Recorded in Sahih al-Muslim.
    [9] Recorded in Sunan Ibn Majah. br />

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