Posted by: mjaga | June 7, 2012

What is Ar-Riba?

Qur’aanic Verse 30:39:



39. Wama ataytum min riban liyarbuwa fee amwali alnnasi fala yarboo AAinda Allahi wama ataytum min zakatin tureedoona wajha Allahi faola-ika humu almudAAifoona


39. And what you give for profit so that the increase is at the cost of other people’s amwaal (property, dues) then it is not a lawful increase/profit with Allah.7 And what you give in charity seeking Allah’s pleasure – the givers of such charity are the ones who will get their return multiplied.

Study Note:

7. Herein lies the Qur’aanic definition of Ar-Riba that gets prohibited in Verse 2:275. For further details in this regard please read What is Ar-Riba, a Chapter extracted from the book ISLAM AND INTEREST. What Allah dislikes is a gain that is sought to be made by usurping the rightful amwaal (properties, earnings, dues) of others. Such gains are termed Ar-Riba wherever else the Qur’aan refers to these, as in Verses 2:275, 3:130, 4:161, etc.

 The above is an extract from Qur’aanic Studies Manzil V, which will soon, inshaAllah, be published on Amazon Kindle. Manzil IMabzil II,  Manzil III and Manzil IV of the series are already published.

Mohammad Shafi



  1. Dear brother,
    Assalamo Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatahu
    In India, where Muslims are not the rulers neither the Islamic laws are implemented and you know the general condition of Muslims. Old people have no option but to put their retirement savings in banks for safety purposes, as hardly any one is reliable and also to get benefit for their survival as there is no old age security. Government uses this money in different projects and then the benefit is distributed among the investors. The only problem is that the benefit/interest is fixed in advance, but other hurdles Muslims face should also be kept in mind. Since money is not lent for some one’s survival, then with all this background it can’t be Riba ? Also the value of rupee is eroded faster than the rate of interest increases the money. In my opinion and also by many Muslim scholars of Economics it should not be considered as Riba but profit or Male – Ghanimat. Islam is HIKMAT, It permits small sin to avoid big sin e.g. to avoid starvation- death, haram food is permitted. PLEASE REPLY ME ON MY E-MAIL & OBLIGE:
    Prof.(Dr.)Syed Shahid Akhtar Jafri
    Lucknow, INDIA

    • It seems you have not gone to the link What is Ar-Riba. Go to this link now.

    • Without an Islamic system muslims will be forced into such situations where halal/haram will get mixed up. Our maulanas cant offer any way out as they have by now become part of the taghuti system. For instance, the islamic “economic system of zakat” has been reduced to begging and charity, whereas it is the tool for wealth distribution and poverty elimination.

  2. Dear Brothers/sisters
    Always There have been comments on Riba – interest. But none of the muslims seem to take possitive steps to curtail Riba system. Instead, on one side from Maulavis, there are hues and cries against Riba and on the other side who appear to be beneficiries try to justify interest amount by giving other names to Riba.
    If Maulavis are really interested to abolish Riba system, they must creat Baitul Mal in each and every Masjid, offer interst free loans to poor and thus help them get out of the hell. Mere Lip sympathy, lip prayers or Lip Bayans will never have any impact in this “Action Based World” created by Almighty Allah.,
    N.Roohulla Neri

    • It seems you have not gone to the link What is Ar-Riba. Go to this link now.

  3. اَسَّلاَم عَلَيكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَ بَرَكَتُه
    O ye who believe! Devour not usury (Riba), doubled and multiplied; but fear Allah; that ye may (really) prosper (003:130)
    As a matter of fact there is a vast difference between Riba and Interest System, the correct translation of Riba is Usury (Exorbitant or unlawful rate of interest). That was prevalent before Islamic era, and the same according to the Verse above is Haraam). Banks provide (usually a minimum percentage of the amount deposited in the Banks or taken as loan, ‘not Exorbitant rate of usury) a service to its clients by way of Interest as two way transaction i.e. against their deposits, at the same time they charge against loans as well. This is called interest, it maintains a balance between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account, and between rising cost of commodities. hence it is quite different from Riba rather it is just diametric, as the same is two ways transaction whereas Riba is one way transaction only.
    Most of us must have read the story in the school text book “A pound of flesh” the story goes as;
    “Shylock a rich Jew, gave a loan of 3,000 Ducats to Antonio, refuses Bassanio’s offer of 6,000 Ducats, twice the amount of the loan. He gave to Antonio. Portia, as “Balthazar”, asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speech (“The quality of mercy is not strained, arguing for debt relief), but Shylock refuses. Thus the court must allow Shylock to extract the pound of flesh. Shylock tells Antonio to “prepare”. At that very moment, Portia points out a flaw in the contract: the bond only allows Shylock to remove the flesh, not the “blood”, of Antonio. Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio’s blood, his “lands and goods” would be forfeited under Venetian laws. Further damning Shylock’s case, she tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more, no less; she advises him that “if the scale do turn /But in the estimation of a hair, /Thou dies and all thy goods are confiscate.” Defeated, Shylock concedes to accepting Bassanio’s offer of money for the defaulted bond, The Duke immediately pardons Shylock’s life.”
    So this is called Riba and can very well be understood why it is Haraam? Riba is totally individualist (one way) endeavor to extract Exorbitant unlawful rate of interest from needy ones.
    More over as far interest is concerned it is a byproduct of Democracy, if interest is taken as Haram then democracy must be declared as Haram, cause no democracy is comparable to Caliphate, and it is the only way to be followed by Muslims they can’t invent Islamic democracy, it must be taken as bidaáh.

  4. Salamalekum wrwb. It does not take much thinking for a muslim to admit interest, pork, wine, zina are haram. We already know that. If a grocery store in Dhaka were to sell pork and wine people would smash it down instantly. The government would dare not give licenses to such stores. But there are thousands of government approved bank branches enaged in riba without any resistance from any muslim. why?

  5. اَسَّلاَم عَلَيكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَ بَرَكَتُه
    Dear sir, I have already gone through it, let us first understand the behavior of Ar-rba under specified circumstances, the correct translation of Ar-riba is Usury (Exorbitant or unlawful rate of interest) hence it is quite different from “Interest” rather it is just diametric, while discussing the matter of Ar-riba at such a large scale, we forget there are so many things much sin full already prevalent in our society, but we never bother, every one of us know full well. Pork, Wine, are eatables, hence not at all comparable with “Interest” no doubt those including Zina are haraam. My point is quite clear, Ar-riba i.e. Usury is totally an individualistic endeavor (to extract Exorbitant unlawful rate of interest from needy ones), Interest system is two way transaction whereas Ar-riba is one way transaction only. That was prevalent before Islamic era the same is still prevalent in Banya community , and the same according to the Verses of Holy Quraán is Haraam). But Banks provide (usually a minimum percentage of the amount deposited in the Banks or taken as loan, ‘not Exorbitant rate of usury) a service to its clients by way of Interest as two way transaction i.e. against their deposits, at the same time they charge against loans as well. It maintains a balance between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account, and between rising cost of commodities.

    • You define Ar-Riba as usury (exorbitant rate of interest). But that is your own (human) definition. The Qur’aan asserts that it has clearly explained (defined) all necessary things. And the Qur’aanic definition, in terms of Verse 30:39, is the unjust usurpation of others’ *amwaal* during human transactions. To give you an example, if I get a labourer to do a job which involves labour worth Rs.100/-, but pay him Rs.60/- only, then I am guilty of usurping Rs.40/- which rightfully belongs to the labourer. I have then committed Ar-Riba.

      • Let me analyse the text matter of your blog: So nice of you, that means your’s are Devin definitions. Sorry dear sir, while interpreting Quraán almost all the definitions are human including your own definition. only Quraán is divine. Hope you have studied Arabic/Quraánic language, cause while explaining verse 30:39 you are defining وَمَا آتَيْتُمْ مِنْ رِبًا “is the unjust usurpation of others’ *amwaal* whereas the meaning of “vama Aataitum” means Whatever Riba (increased amount) you give, it is just opposite to your definition, while you interpret it as “usurpation” i.e. swallowing, seizing and holding, similarly you are defining labour charges as Riba it is your own definition. The correct translation of the verse is as per [Taqi Usmani]:‎ Whatever Riba (increased amount) you give, so that it may increase in the wealth of the people. Holy Quraán:(30:39)
        I would request you to please go through the following tafseer of Maulana Salah-uddin of the verse quoted above
        حضرت ابن عباس رضی اللہ عنہ اور متعدد صحابہ رضوان اللہ علیہم اجمعین نے اس آیت میں ربا سے مراد سود نہیں بلکہ وہ تحفہ اور ہدیہ لیا جو کوئی غریب آدمی کسی مال دار کو یا رعایا کا کوئی فرد بادشاہ یا حکمران کو اور ایک خادم اپنے مخدوم کو اس نیت سے دیتا ہے کہ وہ اس کے بدلے میں مجھے اس سے زیادہ دے گا۔ اسے ربا سے اسی لیے تعبیر کیا گیا ہے کہ دیتے وقت اس میں زیادتی کی نیت ہوتی ہے۔ یہ اگرچہ مباح ہے تاہم اللہ کے ہاں اس پر اجر نہیں ملے

        Mohammad Shafi comments:
        Although you claimed earlier that you have read my article ‘What is Ar-Riba’, your above comments give a clear proof that you have not. You might have just cursorily read it, but you have not understood it at all. I reproduce below an extract therefrom. Please do read it for the sake of your own understanding of the Qur’aanic concept of Ar-Riba:

        What is Ar-Riba
        CHAPTER 1
        WHAT IS AR-RIBA?

        1.1 In the 39th verse of the 30th Chapter of the Qur’aan [Q: 30.39], it is stated, “And when you give out anything for profit (minriban) in a way that the gain is effected by taking the rightful properties, earnings or dues of others (fee amwaalinnasi), then that is not a gain at all (fala yarbu) with Allah. And the real gainers are those who give out in charity (min zakatin), thereby seeking Allah’s pleasure.”

        1.1.1 The verse was the first in the Qur’aan, in order of its revelation, to discuss the subject of Ar-Riba. Riba or Riban, in Arabic, literally means ‘gain’, ‘increase’ or ‘growth’. Its verb form is rubuww, which in turn means ‘to increase’ or ‘to grow’.

        1.1.2 Obviously, it is not every gain, profit or increase that is despised by Allah in this verse. It is only a particular kind of it that is despised – the kind that is effected fee amwaalinnasi (i.e. in people’s amwaal).

        1.1.3 People’s amwaal are their own rightful possessions. The term includes their rightful earnings, which they have not yet come in possession of: the salary rightfully earned by an employee, for example, which the employer has not yet paid. The term also includes other rightful dues, as for instance, anything given by one person from his own rightful possessions to another for temporary use of it by the latter or for safe custody.

        1.1.4 It is thus clear, from the first part of the verse, that what Allah disapproves of is one particular kind of gain, and not all gains. That particular kind is the one that is effected by taking the amwaal – not one’s own but – of others. Allah abhors such gains obviously because of the injustice involved in those. The gainers in such cases do, as a matter of fact, usurp what should rightfully belong to others.

        1.1.5 The particular kind of Riba (gain) that Allah abhors is further explained in the same verse by contrasting it with Zakat (charity). When you give something in Zakat, you give something of your own amwaal to others without expecting anything in return from the recipients. In the said kind of Riba, on the other hand, you would be usurping something of others’ amwaal, in addition to getting your own back.

        1.1.6 In this verse, thus, Allah unequivocally defines the kind of Riba that He abhors. It is the gain that any party to a transaction contrives or manipulates to get by usurping the rightful dues, earnings or possessions of others. In verses subsequently revealed on the subject matter, this particular kind of Riba has been referred to as Ar-Riba. In this term, Riba is prefixed with the Arabic definite article Al, which is equivalent to the English ‘the’, but the term is pronounced as Ar-Riba. The Al prefixed to Riba in all the subsequently revealed verses unmistakably indicates the kind of Riba described in this verse, viz., Q: 30.39.

        1.1.7 Contrary to the general belief, therefore, Ar-Riba stands very well defined in the Qur’aan. Not only is it well defined, but is further variously explained in other verses, as we shall presently see, to make us understand the term properly. It is to be noted that in verse, Q: 30.39, Ar-Riba has been described and condemned but not prohibited.

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