In the Old Testament, we have the following verses that talk about riba:

"You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it." [Deuteronomy 23:19-20]

"If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him." [Exodus 22:25]

"If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit." [Leviticus 25"35-37]

From the above, the majority of Rabbinical scholars conclude that Jews can lend to Gentiles at interest, but they cannot do some amongst fellow Jews (hence the term "brothers" or "fellow man").

In the Qur'an, we have this verse:

"Because of the wrongdoing of the Jews We forbade them good things which were (before) made lawful unto them, and because of their much hindering from Allah's way, (160) And of their taking usury when they were forbidden it, and of their devouring people's wealth by false pretences, We have prepared for those of them who disbelieve a painful doom." [An-Nisa 159-160]

Is the Islamic position that Jews were prohibited from all forms of interest, just as Muslims are today? Since we as Muslims believe that the Torah we have today is not the same as what was revealed to Moses, it would be likely in this case that either there are verses abrogating the allowance of interest based lending to Gentiles (if it was indeed allowed by Allah), or that the verse was an erroneous insertion at a later time by a scribe or rabbi. I have not been able to find a clear answer on this (since Jews themselves will say that they have always been allowed to charge interest to Gentiles based on the above passages from the Old Testament).

I'm doing some research for an article and would like clarification on this (we're covering the three Abrahamic faiths and their position on interest).

  • Who knows what happened in the past, but as of present, today's global banks are run by the 'Jews'. Assuming, the verses from OT which you presented are valid, "If you lend money to ANY of my people with you who is poor...", are they not taking interest from the poor people who apply for a loan at their banks??? Anyways, a reminder to you, quran.com/4/148 Jul 21, 2015 at 12:40

2 Answers 2


First of all, we can't say anything about torah or injil in their current state, how can we say for sure this is averse from God and this is not, if it was possible, some christian or jew would have preserved book in their hand, which they don't have.

So, coming to the verse you mentioned, no one can conclude anything related to riba as being halal or haram on them. It is general verse and does not point to some special ruling on some specific thing like riba. So, we can't conclude anything related to riba from this. And i was not able to find anything related to jews being allowed to take interest form anyone.

Maybe someone can find something on this, should let us know.



"In practice discrimination against gentiles was frowned upon and even forbidden as it might jeopardize friendly relations (mi-penei darkhei shalom, Git. 5:8–9; mi-penei eivah, Av. Zar. 26a) and bring about a profanation of the Divine Name (ḥillul ha-Shem, BK 113b) – so much so, that the Talmud enjoins that gentile poor be supported with charity like Jewish poor (Git. 61a) and does not even tolerate the charging of interest to gentiles (BM 70b)."

The Torah verses about lending to Non-Jews is similar to the Hanafi position of allowing Riba in Dar ul harb(The Land of War.) If you notice carefully, it makes a distinction between lending to Non-Jews who are within the land of Israel and those who are stopping by. The Torah states to treat the "resident alien" the same as one would treat a fellow Israelite. "As you were strangers in the land of Egypt."


In the legislation of Deuteronomy, an Israelite may charge a foreigner usury though he may not do so to a fellow Israelite...

In contrast with the foreigner, the ger (גֵּר), the resident alien, lived more or less permanently in his adopted community. Like the Arabic jār, he was "the protected stranger," who was totally dependent on his patrons for his well-being. As W.R. Smith noted, his status was an extension of that of the guest, whose person was inviolable, though he could not enjoy all the privileges of the native. He, in turn, was expected to be loyal to his protectors (Gen. 21:23) and to be bound by their laws (Num. 15:15–16).

I will say one more thing which is that the Book of Ezekiel and the Psalms of David are extremely harsh against the charging and receiving of interest. Ezekiel equates charging interest to being unrighteous and says that such a persons shall die. And the one who doesn't charge interest as being righteous and that such a person shall "live." To me it would only make sense that it this harsh prohibition applies equally to everyone.


So a man who is righteous and practices justice and righteousness,
6And does not eat [offerings of meals] on the mountains, and does not lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; neither defiles his fellow man's wife nor approaches a woman in her period of separation,
7And wrongs no man; what has been pledged for a debt he returns; [he] has committed no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry, and clothes the naked with garments, 8Does not lend on interest, nor does he take any increase on a loan, keeps his hand back from wrong, executes true judgment between man and man,
9Has walked in My statutes, and has kept My ordinances to deal truly-he is a righteous man; he shall surely live, says the Lord God.
10If he beget a profligate son, a shedder of blood, and he commits upon his brother any of these [crimes].
11And he does not do all these [good deeds], but has even eaten [offerings of a meal] to the mountains and defiled his fellow man's wife;
12Wronged the poor and the needy, committed robberies, did not return pledges, lifted up his eyes to the idols, committed abomination;
13Gave out on interest, accepted increase on loans -shall he then live? He shall not live! He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood falls back on himself!

from the Book of Ezekial chapter 18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .