2-Surah Al-Baqarah ( The Cow ) 276
    Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever.
    يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ

    Quran's Tafhim ( explanation)

    *320). The fact stated in this verse is a truism from a moral and spiritual as well as from an economic and social viewpoint. For, although wealth apparently multiplies through interest and shrinks as a result of charity, in actual fact the opposite is the case. By God's decree, the law of nature is such that interest not only serves as a strain on moral and spiritual well-being, and social and economic growth, it also causes actual regression and decline. Charity, however, (including such acts as lending money to people with the stipulation that they should return it if they can. and at their convenience) leads to the growth and expansion of man's moral and spiritual qualities and to the growth of human society and economy.
    Looked at from moral and spiritual standpoints, it is evident that interest is not only the outcome of selfishness, miserliness and callousness but also encourages their growth. Charity, on the other hand, is the outcome of generosity, compassion, large -heartedness and magnanimity, with the result that the more one practises charity the more these qualities develop. It is obvious that if there is a society whose individuals are selfish in their dealings with one another, in which none is prepared to assist the other without self-interest, in which every person considers the other's need an opportunity to capitalize and exploit, in which the interests of the rich are directly opposed to the interests of the common people, that society does not rest on stable foundations. In such a society, instead of love and compassion there is bound to grow mutual spite and bitterness, apathy, indifference and callousness. The elements which compose such a society are bound to remain inclined towards disintegration and chaos; acute internal conflict and strife are sure to occur.
    Contrast this with the society which is based on mutual sympathy and co-operation, whose individuals deal with one another magnanimously, in which, when a person is in need, people willingly come forward to accord generous help, in which the 'haves' assist the 'have-nots' with compassion and at least engage in just and equitable co-operation. In such a society mutual cordiality. goodwill and fellow-feeling are bound to flourish. The various components of such a society will be closely knit together and prove a source of mutual support. In such a society internal conflict and strife will make few inroads. Also, owing to mutual co-operation and goodwill the pace of development should be faster than in the other kind of society.
    Let us now look at the matter from an economic viewpoint, from which inte rest- bearing loans are seen to be of two kinds. The first category, consists of loans incurred by people in genuine need, who are compelled to borrow for their personal consumption requirements. The second consists of the loans incurred by businessmen for investment in trade and industry or agriculture.
    The first category is generally acknowledged to lead to ruin. Nevertheless, there is not one country in the world where financiers and financial institutions are not sucking the blood of poor labourers, peasants and ordinary low-income people through interest on consumption loans. The burden of interest makes it extremely difficult, often impossible, for borrowers to pay off the original loan. They may even have to resort to fresh borrowing from elsewhere to pay if off. Because of the way interest works, the sum outstanding against them often remains even after they, have paid twice or three times its amount in interest. The bulk of the income of labourers is snatched away from them by lenders, leaving them without enough for the bare necessities of life for themselves and their families. This situation steadily erodes their interest in their jobs. For if someone else is to reap the benefit of a man's hard work, why should he work hard at all? Moreover, oppressed by the worries of debt, the health and strength of labourers is gradually destroyed by undernourishment and lack of medical treatment.
    In short, a minority of people continually fatten themselves by sucking the blood of millions of ordinary people, but the total production level of the people remains much lower than its optimum potential. Ultimately, of course, these exploiters are seldom spared the evil consequences of their actions. Their callous selfishness causes such widespread misery among the masses that anger and resentment against the rich smoulder in their hearts ready to erupt in times of revolutionary unrest. The exploiters then have to pay very dearly: their ill-earned riches are not only wrested from them, they are either killed mercilessly or subjected to ignominy and humiliation.
    The second category of loans, those invested in productive enterprises, also cause harm because of the infliction of a predetermined rate of interest on such borrowings. The most significant are the following:
    (1 ) Projects which do not promise a higher rate of profit than the current rate of interest fail to attract sufficient funds, no matter how useful and necessary they may, be from the viewpoint of larger national interests. Loanable funds flow towards those business enterprises which are likely to yield at least the same, if not a higher rate of profit on investments than the current rate of interest, even though they may be of very little or no benefit to the nation at large.
    (2) There can be no guarantee that a business investment, whether it is in trade, industry or agriculture, will always yield a rate of profit which is higher than the rate of interest. Not only can there be no such assurance, there can never be an assurance about any business that it will always remain profitable. What really happens, therefore, is that the financier is assured interest at a predetermined rate whereas the business in which the loan is invested is exposed to risk and possible losses.
    (3) Since the lender does not share the profit and loss of the business but lends out funds on the assurance of a fixed rate of interest, he is in no way concerned with the fortunes of the business itself. He is solely concerned, and in a totally selfish spirit, with his own pecuniary benefit. Hence, whenever the lender senses the faintest sign of depression, he begins to withdraw money from the market. The result is that sometimes imaginary fears and anxieties spark off an actual depression in the economy. And if the economy is depressed owing to other factors, the excessive selfishness of the financiers tends to escalate the situation into a full-scale economic crisis. These three evils of interest are obvious to every student of economics. Can anyone then deny the truth of the Natural law, enunciated by Allah that interest decreases the national economic wealth?
    Let us now look at the economic effects of charity. Suppose the general attitude of the prosperous members of a society, is that within the limits of their means they spend generously on the fulfilment of their own requirements and on the requirements of their family, and then devote the surplus to helping the poor. After that they, either use their funds to provide interest-free loans to businessmen, invest them in business with the stipulation that they shall be co-sharers in both the profit and loss of the business, or deposit them with the government so that it may use them on projects of public welfare. A little reflection will make it obvious that trade, industry, and agriculture in such a society, will attain maximum prosperity; the standard of living of its people will continually rise and production in it will be much higher than in societies where economic activity is fettered by interest.
    *321). It is clear that only those who have a surplus of earnings over their basic requirements can lend out money at interest. This surplus, according to the Qur'an, constitutes God's bounty. And true thankfulness for this bounty requires that a person should be bountiful towards other creatures of God even as the Creator has been to him. If, instead of doing this, the person tries to become richer at the expense of those whose present earnings are insufficient to meet their needs, he is at once guilty of ungratefulness to God, and blatantly unjust, cruel and wicked.
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