What's the difference between commerce and RIBA in Islam?

Let's take the example of looking for a loan to buy a house.

Traditional banks are using Riba because they lend you money, you buy your house, you pay the bank monthly payment with totality exceed the total borrowed.

Now a so-called Islamic bank called me and they pretend that they are doing commerce and don't use Riba, but I don't see any.

The principle is this:

You need to find first a house by yourself, then the bank buys it, then sell it to you, then you pay them back in an exact way like with Riba banks.

For me it's exactly the same thing, they borrow you money with interest, the bank pretending to do commerce is risking absolutely nothing, and in case you can't pay back the house, the bank will take the house !!!

Also with this so-called Islamic bank, they charge you 20% of the price of the house, whereas traditional banks charge 3% more (in Europe). which means the bank is making fortunes and lose nothing at all.

For me, the definition of commerce entails risk, which means, the Islamic bank decides first to buy for example 100 houses with its capital. then looking for a customer, with the risk of having a house not sold.

any insight, please?

  • 1
    "in case you can't pay back the house, the bank will take the house" Isn't this a risk? The same as what you mention at the end: risk of having a house not sold. But, regardless, as any person would tell you, interest banks also say they have risks. Which is why the risk definition is not very precise or useful.
    – The Z
    Apr 13, 2020 at 12:03
  • no, no risk because the bank will take the house and charge you huge fees, they would be happy if you can't pay. they will sell it again and earn huge fees from you, they love it just like banks love overdraft
    – user8449
    Apr 13, 2020 at 12:44
  • You are assuming that they will be able to sell it again. And if you say the demand is so high that they can be sure of a sale, then would you consider it not-commerce if someone is selling a product in a market with a high demand such that a sale is all but guaranteed? At that point, having a good business takes you out of commerce!
    – The Z
    Apr 13, 2020 at 13:00
  • Allah the Almighty said: "Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, "Trade is [just] like interest." But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. ... (2:275)". Commentaries on this verse may answer this question.
    – Medi1Saif
    Apr 14, 2020 at 0:49


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