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Is Riba sinful for both giver and taker

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Author Topic: Is Riba sinful for both giver and taker  (Read 149 times)
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« on: April 14, 2021, 07:19:29 pm »
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Assalamualaikum,

As above, is the sin for riba equal for the person or institution lending the money, and the one borrowing it?

What if the borrower understood the terms of the usurious loan, and consented to it prior to signing the agreement? Would this still be considered as exploitative when the borrower agreed to enter the contract under his or her own accord, without any compulsion or coercion by the lender?
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2021, 02:22:53 pm »
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Walaikum As-Salam Wr Br.      The standard viewpoint is that riba is sinful.   But  it's hard to pronounce black & white statements in regard to borrowers as it involves subjectivity of individual circumstances.   If a borrower willingly consents to signing an agreement, may not necessarily be the type of violation one would like to assume.  What if the borrower's conditions are  straitened and they have no other choice?  There is often no coercion from the lender.  Coercion arises from one's tough personal state.  Allah Almighty watches everything.

This subject is often synonymous with the concept of harsh, medieval moneylenders and usurers, the path of which was paved by the ancient rabbinic (Jewish) legislation that made moneylending a profession.  Without a doubt that was very wrong, exploitative and oppressive.  It's precisely this practice that is denounced in the Noble Quran.    Unfortunately it has seeped into the modern global economy.  The problem is, it's an ubiquitous monetary culture and often difficult to avoid even though a lot of borrowers may hate it.

Verses of the Noble Quran condemning usury,  Al-Baqrah 2:279-281,  Al-Imran 3:130, An-Nisa 4:161.  In all these Verses, it's the lender who is rebuked and viewed as the actual transgressor.   Verse 30:39 of Surah Ar-Rum is the only one in which The Almighty speaks to the borrower, quote "That which you give in usury in order that it may increase on (other) people's property has no increase with Allah; but that which you give in charity, seeking Allah's Countenance, has increase manifold."    This Verse discourages borrowers who are the targets of greedy moneylenders, the profession of the latter thriving on the clientele of the former.  But the Verse is not a reproach because borrowers are usually the helpless ones, the underdogs.

Sister Zeynab had previously spoken on this topic briefly, bringing up a valid point which should be kept in mind that certain types of "interest" (or yield) in the modern banking system such as GICs and other similar products offered by banks to customers is a very different matter, not the kind of practice the Noble Quran alludes to.



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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2021, 03:09:03 am »
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Yes, I didn't mean the riba paid by borrowers who took the loans under desperation or great duress like what may have happened in historical Europe or at present in many developing or underdeveloped countries.

My concern was more towards the type of riba common in modern society which often is motivated by convenience and opportunity to purchase items that otherwise would be outside of one's ability. Examples are housing loans, credit cards, car loans and so on.

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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2021, 06:38:36 am »
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.....

My concern was more towards the type of riba common in modern society which often is motivated by convenience and opportunity to purchase items that otherwise would be outside of one's ability. Examples are housing loans, credit cards, car loans and so on.



Right .. ....

From what I know, a lot of people among the working class nowadays do not have enough savings nor a substantial principal to purchase homes or cars outright, unless loaned by the banks.  There are families that may overstep their tight budgets even while purchasing essential groceries and thus credit cards become indispensable for them.  If purchasing a home or a car is a necessity for someone without which their accommodation or travel expenses could be completely beyond their reach, such borrowers cannot be blamed.  If one is buying basic groceries and not wasting money on too much lavish foods and yet experiencing a painful budget crunch, such borrowers too cannot be blamed.   But yes, there are people or families that spend needlessly beyond their means e.g. buying a home or a car that's too extravagant for their existing financial resources, and then end up paying exorbitant loan shark interest rates with plenty of misery would be unjustifiable on their part.


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