• Usury and the world economic crisis

    Amongst the factors which have contributed to the world economic crisis lately, the economist David Harvey stated, in a video I have seen in Vox blog, that the bank lending, especially in the field of home ownership, has contributed to the aggravation of the world crisis, among many other financial problems. The world has witnessed of late a proliferation of requests on different type of bank loans, of which the principle one was home ownership. There are varieties of bank loans ranging from holiday loans, school fees ,to the purchase of cars and other loans, which I find personally exagerated. bank organsisms have spent huge amounts of money under the pretension of making life and purchase easier, while people do not stop borrowing money, and paying inpredictable overcharge taxes added to the borrowed amount. Payment facilities on several months, and sometimes several years, causes people to feelfed-up and depressed from bank payments, while others have simply stopped paying, regularly, their due amounts. Imagine here the dream of the great capitalists of the world thorn to pieces when they come to realise that millions of dollards spent for the sake of multiplying its rates is reduced to, nearly, nothingness! In Islam, these kinds of transactions are based on interests, which we call usury. Usury is defined as the fact of lending someone money in conditions he refunds by adding an extra amount, which is called interest. In the western thought, interest is different from usury, as this latter results with a so high overcharge. In the Islamic thought, interest being small or huge, is called usury and is strictly forbidden. God says in the Holy Quran:

    "Those who are responsible for usury in the same position as those controlled by the influence of the devil. This is because they claim that usury is the same as that of trade. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, one who listens to this command of his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and its decision belongs to God. "

    Again in his farewell speech, the Prophet (pbuh) has strictley stressed on the fact that usury is an illegal transaction, which should be abolished, as it is a stigma of the pre-Islamic era. Being in need, people find themselves obliged to agree on such transactions, because they find no other but borrow and refund with an overcharge. In fact, usury is srtictly forbidden in Islam, because it is based on the idea that money produces money, while it should be generated by trade and hard work. The above Qu'ranic verse stresses on the huge distinction between usury and commerce, and makes this latter as a the only legal source of material gain. Islam values hard work and honest labor, and stands firm against any financial oppression imposed upon idividuals. Usury has always been a dishonest and depressing transaction, and thanks to God, it showed itself to be a weak solution, unable to manage bigfinancial problems or generate a strong world economy.

    * This is atranslated text that I have written orginally for my french readers in wordpress and Vox.

    http://allahblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/lusure-et-la-crise-economique-mondiale/

                                           A. Siham

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