The Prohibition of Riba and its Types

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Allah knows best what is important and what is harmful for human beings. Allah Almighty says:

یَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَاۤ أُحِلَّ لَهُمۡ قُلۡ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ ٱلطَّیِّبَـٰتُ

“They ask you, ˹O Prophet,˺ what is permissible for them ˹to eat˺. Say, “What is good and lawful.”

(المائدة: 4)

This verse reveals that everything that Muslims can enjoy according to the commads of Islam are basically “al-Tayyibaat” i.e. good for our health, faith, society, government etc.

Muslims are fortunate in that Allah has pointed out to them what is halal and pure. It is very necessary to know Allah’s eternal law regarding Halal as it is mentioned in Sahih Muslim. The Holy Prophet ﷺ said:

أَيُّها النّاسُ، إنَّ اللَّهَ طَيِّبٌ لا يَقْبَلُ إلَّا طَيِّبًا، وإنَّ اللَّهَ أمَرَ المُؤْمِنِينَ بما أمَرَ به المُرْسَلِينَ، فقالَ: {يا أيُّها الرُّسُلُ كُلُوا مِنَ الطَّيِّباتِ واعْمَلُوا صالِحًا، إنِّي بما تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ}[المؤمنون:٥١] وقالَ: {يا أيُّها الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِن طَيِّباتِ ما رَزَقْناكُمْ}[البقرة:١٧٢]

ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الرَّجُلَ يُطِيلُ السَّفَرَ أشْعَثَ أغْبَرَ، يَمُدُّ يَدَيْهِ إلى السَّماءِ، يا رَبِّ، يا رَبِّ، ومَطْعَمُهُ حَرامٌ، ومَشْرَبُهُ حَرامٌ، ومَلْبَسُهُ حَرامٌ، وغُذِيَ بالحَرامِ، فأنّى يُسْتَجابُ لذلكَ؟

(صحيح مسلم: 1015)

O people, Allah is “al-Tayyib” (Good, Pure) and He therefore accepts only that which is good. And Allah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying:

“O Messengers, eat of the good things, and do good deeds; verily I am aware of what you do” (xxiii. 51). And He said:

“O those who believe, eat of the good things that We gave you” (ii. 172).

He then made a mention of a person who travels widely (for pilgrimage), his hair disheveled and covered with dust (due to long journeys). He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication with the words): “O Lord, O Lord,” whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted?…

Usury (interest/ Ribaa) is one of the greatest of sins, and Allah has threatened it with great punishments. 


Allah said in the Holy Quran:

ٱلَّذِینَ یَأۡكُلُونَ ٱلرِّبَوٰا۟ لَا یَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا یَقُومُ ٱلَّذِی یَتَخَبَّطُهُ ٱلشَّیۡطَـٰنُ مِنَ ٱلۡمَسِّۚ ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَالُوۤا۟ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡبَیۡعُ مِثۡلُ ٱلرِّبَوٰا۟ۗ وَأَحَلَّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡبَیۡعَ وَحَرَّمَ ٱلرِّبَوٰا۟ۚ فَمَن جَاۤءَهُۥ مَوۡعِظَةࣱ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ فَٱنتَهَىٰ فَلَهُۥ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمۡرُهُۥۤ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَمَنۡ عَادَ فَأُو۟لَـٰۤىِٕكَ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِیهَا خَـٰلِدُونَ

“Those who consume interest will stand ˹on Judgment Day˺ like those driven to madness by Satan’s touch. That is because they say, “Trade is no different than interest.” But Allah has permitted trading and forbidden interest. Whoever refrains—after having received a warning from their Lord—may keep their previous gains, and their case is left to Allah. As for those who persist, it is they who will be the residents of the Fire. They will be there forever.”

(البقرة: 275)

Meaning: He does not rise from his grave except like a madman, and this is a punishment, and Allah forbid, especially for this moneylender. And he said:

And the Most High said:

یَـٰۤأَیُّهَا ٱلَّذِینَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَذَرُوا۟ مَا بَقِیَ مِنَ ٱلرِّبَوٰۤا۟ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِینَ. فَإِن لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلُوا۟ فَأۡذَنُوا۟ بِحَرۡبࣲ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦۖ وَإِن تُبۡتُمۡ فَلَكُمۡ رُءُوسُ أَمۡوَ ٰ⁠لِكُمۡ لَا تَظۡلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظۡلَمُونَ

O believers! Fear Allah, and give up outstanding interest if you are ˹true˺ believers. If you do not, then beware of a war with Allah and His Messenger! But if you repent, you may retain your principal—neither inflicting nor suffering harm.

(البقرة: 278، 279)

He made usury a war against Him and His Messenger ﷺ, and this is a great feast indicating the greatness of guilt, so it is necessary to beware of usury in all its forms.

It was authenticated on the authority of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ that he cursed the usury eater, its principal, its writer, and its witnesses, and said they are the same (in the sin).

(صحيح مسلم: 1598)

Allah warned against usury, and said that whoever indulges in it, will be in Hell and promised him with fire, and the Messenger ﷺ also cursed them for the malice of their deeds.

The Muslim must fear Allah and hold himself accountable for that, and beware of all kinds of usury in all his actions. Because it is one of the greatest sins, as Allah Almighty has demonstrated in these verses that are mentioned above, and in the words of the Prophet:

اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَاتِ ‏”‏‏.قِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا هُنَّ قَالَ ‏”‏الشِّرْكُ بِاللَّهِ وَالسِّحْرُ وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْغَافِلاَتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ”

“Avoid the seven noxious things. It was said (by the hearers): What are they, Messenger of Allah? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Associating anything with Allah, magic, killing of one whom God has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, and consuming of usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers, but unwary.”

(صحيح مسلم: 89)

What is meant is: that usury is one of the ugliest sins and …. Among the seven damages, we ask Allah for al-Afiyah.

The Muslim must beware of all kinds of interest.

There are two types of Ribaa (usury). One: Riba Al-Fadl, and the second: Riba Al-Nasee’a.

Types of Riba

1.Riba Al-Fadl

2.Riba Al-Nasee’a

Types of riba

Riba Al-Fadl: This type of ribaa (usury) involves the exchange of the same commodity but in different qualities or quantities that leads to because he sells kind with differentiated kind, such as the specific quantity of currency for the same currency with addition i.e. a dollar for two dollars, a pound for two pounds. This is an explicit usury of credit, called usury of credit, and the Prophet ﷺ forbade it and emphasized that.

Riba Al-Nasee’a: it is to sell one type of usury money with another kind, and if it is of its kind, it becomes usury of credit and usury of al-Nasee’ah. As for the riba of a-Nasee’ah, it is to sell one type of usury with another type that is not held in the council, which is called riba al-nasee’ah, such as selling gold dirhams, or Saudi riyals dollars for a term.

So the duty to beware of usury in its two forms: the interest usury and the interest of the nasee’ah all, and beware of reluctance to that.

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