A dictionary defines USURY
(countable) An exorbitant rate of interest, in excess of any legal rates or at least immorally.
(uncountable) The practice of lending money at such rates.
(uncountable) The practice of lending money at interest.
The Bible has the following choice injunctions, regarding this subject matter..
If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor,you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you not exact interest from him.
You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
The Quran also has this to say on Riba (Usury) ..
Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: “Trading is only like Riba (usury),” whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury).
So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns (to Riba (usury), such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.
What’s the purpose of wealth if not to use it to create more wealth by encouraging commercial activities?
Clearly, the two major religions seem to frown on the concept of money making even more money. Or, how do you distinguish between trading in money and trading in any other merchandise?
The purpose of the two is capital appreciation, no?
Meanwhile, how do you define excessive profit(eering)?
It takes two to take part in a commercial transaction, and if both are not ‘willing’ participants, the transaction simply doesn’t happen. Where then is the sin or impropriety in charging interest that is willingly given?
When you do forex or stocks trading, you are basically amplifying resources. If you borrow money (with interest) to make even more money, is this not a win-win situation for both the lender and borrower?
This post was as a result of a conversation I had with a long term banker.. years ago.
Somebody had a vehicle to clear at the Apapa Port, Lagos, Nigeria. The vehicle had been accumulating demurrage because this importer had no money to clear it. He was willing to borrow money at interest to clear the vehicle and sell at a handsome profit. He even offered the percentage interest he was willing to pay to save him out of a tight situation.
This banker, a devout Alhaji, was approached to provide the funds to do the vehicle clearing. This man, despite having worked in the bank practically all his life, declined to provide the funds, saying ‘it’s hugely usurious. I don’t participate in usury’.
Considering the fact that the business of banking is predicated on USURY, and this has been earning his ‘daily bread’- all his life – in banks- makes it mystifying. That seems hugely contradictory, making a living in non-Islamic interest_charging bank, and simultaneously condemning usury, based on religious convictions.
Is Hypocrisy A Part Of Religion? Someone needs to educate me here.
Returning to the religious angle if people stopped lending with interest (excessive or not), won’t the world economy grind to a halt? Even countries lend to / borrow money from themselves… at interest.
Who determines what’s excessive – and thus, usurious? Are we not being ‘unserious’ here?
Can somebody shed some illumination on this issue?