Did the prohibition of interest (riba) exist before Islam?


Someone from the USA wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa and asked to what extent one was allowed to raise questions about Islam, the Holy Quran and the Jamaat. He also added that he had asked the local murabbi about the prohibition of usury before Islam, as well as about men and women praying together on the occasion of Hajj, but he had not received a satisfactory answer to his questions.

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 26 November 2021, provided the following guidance:

“[…] The answer to your question about the prohibition of interest before Islam and the prayer of men and women together on the occasion of Hajj is as follows:

“It is true that usury was prohibited even among Jews before Islam. Hence, the Holy Quran says, God forbade the Jews pure things which had been allowed to them, because of their taking interest, although they had been forbidden it. (Surah an-Nisa, Ch.4: V.161-162)

“Prohibition of usury has been described in many books of the Old Testament. However, taking interest from non-Israelites and foreigners is also allowed in Deuteronomy. Hence, it states:

“‘Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it. When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.’ (KJV, Deuteronomy 23:20-21)

“From the statement of the Holy Quran, one learns that Allah the Exalted had forbidden interest to the Jews as well, but later on, just as they distorted other commandments of Allah the Exalted to suit their own desires, they interpolated in this commandment too by levying interest on Gentiles, and thus incurring divine punishment.

“On the other hand, just as other vices have been prohibited in Islam, while going into great detail, interest has also been explicitly declared forbidden by the Holy Quran. Every aspect of the evils of usurious transactions has been described and it has been termed a ‘war against Allah and His Messengersa’ and Muslims have been advised to steer clear of it altogether.

“Furthermore, the Holy Prophetsa emphasised the wickedness of interest on numerous occasions, and denounced those who receive it, those who pay it out, those who are involved in its official business, and those who serve as witnesses for it. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Musaqat, Bab la‘ni akili r-riba wa mu’kilih) And on the occasion of his Khutbatu l-Wida‘, the Farewell Sermon, the Holy Prophet, speaking on the prohibition of interest, announced the abolition of all past usurious transactions. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Buyu‘, Bab fi wad‘i r-riba)

“Likewise, the Promised Messiahas, the most ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa, also highlighted the seriousness of the sin of dealing with interest and said that, Allah has permitted the consumption of pork when one is driven by necessity [iztirar], but He did not say that it was permitted to deal with interest under such circumstances. (Badr, Qadian, No. 5, Vol. 7, 6 February 1908, p. 6) […]”

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here