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 – servant-of-Wiser Jul 21 '15 at 12:40

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.

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