As Muslims, we are fully aware of not eating pork, not to take drugs or alcohol because Allah forbade all of these for us. However, there is something that is prohibited that we show no problem or concern with, devouring Riba (e.g. interest, usury). Engaging in Riba is a major sin that could lead you to Hell. People often consume interest because of a lack of knowledge of its forms. Here are different ways to avoid Riba
What the Qur’an says about Riba
“…but whoever returns (to dealing in Riba), such are the dwellers of the Fire — they will abide therein.”
“O you who believe, fear Allah and give up what remains of your demand for Riba, if you are indeed believers. If you do it not, take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger.”
Hadith about Riba
The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned that consuming Riba is one of the seven sins that doom a person to Hell.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
He also said, “Allah has cursed the one who consumes Riba, the one who gives it, the one who witnesses over it, and the one who writes down the transaction.”
How can you avoid Riba?
We live in a capitalist society. This makes it impossible to completely avoid Riba. However, the financial system should not be used as an excuse to freely indulge in it. Here is how one can avoid Riba:
- Opt for Islamic financial institutions. Islamic financial institutions do not have the loopholes that an interest-based banking system has because the risk is shared by both parties. Lenders will be more careful, as they also share the risk of losing money if the borrower cannot pay back the original sum.
- Open up an interest-free bank account.
- Avoid contracts that stipulate interest penalties, even if you intend to pay on time.
- Make bill payments on time so as not to incur a late penalty.
- Meet any conditions required to continue trading without the use of interest.
- Borrow money from family or friends where possible.
- Rent if you cannot afford to buy a house without interest.
- Accept or organize a “goodly loan” (al-qard al-hasanah), which is a loan by means of which one intends to show kindness to another, which does not involve taking interest.
- Dispose of the interest that the bank has given you. Do not return nor consume it. Rather, spend it on charitable causes, such as giving it to the poor, buying things for Islamic centers and mosques, and helping debtors. However, do not expect a reward for this.
- Consult scholars of Islam whenever you have a doubt.
- Read, read, and read. People fall into the debt trap because they don’t know much about the branches of interest. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to avoid it.
Also Read: Islamic Golden Age