Usury is the practice of making loans with excessive or abusive interest rates. The term may be used in a moral sense — condemning taking advantage of others' misfortunes — or in a legal sense where interest rates may be regulated by law. Historically some cultures have regarded charging any interest for loans as sinful and some still do today.
Some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the term is riba in Arabic and ribbit in Hebrew). At times many nations from ancient China to ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, in medieval Europe, the Christian church banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change).
The pivotal change in the English-speaking world seems to have come with the permission to charge interest on lent money: particularly the 1545 act "An Act Against Usurie" (37 H.viii 9) of King Henry VIII of England.What a surprise. The king who was so self-absorbed and greedy that he had to create an entire church and kill women just to slake his desires, unleashed the beast of interest upon the world. And now London is one of the world's financial centres.
Deuteronomy 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest.
Deuteronomy 23:20 Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.
Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever (Al-Baqarah 2:275)
O you who believe, you shall not take usury, compounded over and over. Observe God, that you may succeed. (Al-'Imran 3:130)
While the practice of direct slavery is widely banned across the world, in some places debt-slavery is still practiced. A debtor who is found unable to repay a loan can be placed in a state of debt-slavery, a situation where-by their life and labors are directed by the lender until the debt is considered repaid. Usury is often a major part of extending this slavery, not uncommonly assisting in extending the debt-slavery onto the children of the debtor, thus making slaves of multiple generations and promoting child labor. Another form of or name for this practice is debt bondage.
Renowned Spanish scholar Sheikh Umar Ibrahim Vadillo has called for introducing the system of Islamic dirham and dinar in order to get liberty from usury.
Addressing a seminar – titled “Effects of usury on economy and economic situation of Muslim countries adopting interest system” organized by Punjab University’s Academic Staff Association (PU-ASA) – Vadillo said a group of the richest families of the world had introduced the system of usury in order to control the economy and states of the world.
He said the original model was Muamalat and the full implementation of Muamalat meant the establishment of an Islamic trading bloc, based on our model of trade and our currency, the Islamic Dinar and Dirham. He said an Islamic Trading Bloc was not just for trade among Muslims but it was also for non-Muslims.
Regarding the validity of gold, he said that its greatest strength was the fact that it had been the best international money in history. He said the people of America had become slave of the Wall Street and they wanted freedom from it.
Vadillo said our banking system was not so strong and we needed to expunge it from usury and planning was underway for the purpose. He said imperialistic powers should understand that now the age of stupidity had ended and now we understood their conspiracies. To achieve this goal, he said, knowledge was the only option through which we could defeat them.
Citing the example of China, he said that we should adopt the system of gold and silver which would automatically devalue dollar. He urged the government of Pakistan to implement the system of Dirham and Dinar in Pakistan. In his inaugural address, PU Vice Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran said all the problems facing the mankind were because of the present system of economy. He said that nine million houses had been foreclosed in the US for not paying interest.
He said that these banking families had imposed wars on mankind and now they were imposing third World War. He urged the Muslims to follow the teachings of Quran as over 700 Aya’hs of the holy book focused on solving the mysteries of universe.
(The International News / 13 July 2012)