I am already familiar with Quranic references against riba (such as Quran 2:275-280) and a number of ahadith, but the issue for me is the meaning which the prophet attached to riba. In his hadith, Caliph Umar, a companion of the prophet, was not clear on what the prophet meant by riba.

Prof. Farooq in this article in the Arab Law Quarterly, makes a good case that riba as understood at the time of the prophet (riba al jahiliya) was the excessive increase levied by moneylenders ("redoubling") in outstanding debt of poor debtors who did not pay repay debt when due, and that the original interest or markup - "stipulated increase" - was not riba. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1412753 . Mufti Taqi Usmani disagrees with this idea.

I am not interested here in the debatable economic rationales which scholars may advance for prohibiting interest, and which in any case are not discussed by the prophet.

  • When saying the meaning our beloved prophet PBUH attached to riba, what Hadith are you referring to?. And what's the reference for the Hadith about Umar (RA) was unsure about it?. I believe our prophet PBUH has defined riba in unambiguous terms as he said every loan that draws benefit is riba (suyuti, ibn shaybah). Dec 21, 2021 at 18:52
  • There are plenty of narrations from the Prophet that explicitly forbid any unequal exchanges of currency as being riba among which are: sunnah.com/muslim:1596a. People who use some vague narrations of Umar (RA) saying riba was not explained entirely are grasping at straws. Even if some of it was left unclear, some of it is pretty clear among which is the obvious riba of interest loans.
    – The Z
    Dec 21, 2021 at 20:38
  • Thank you for your replies. The hadith from Caliph Umar is: From Umar ibn al-Khattab: The last verse to be revealed was on riba and the Prophet, peace be on him, was taken without elaborating it to us; so give up not only riba but also ribah [whatever raises doubts in the mind about its rightfulness] (Ibn Majah). Also, the saying "every loan that draws benefit is riba" is from ibn Sahyba, and even Mufti Usmani accepts it as being weak. Dec 23, 2021 at 14:26
  • To clarify my question, I was looking for a clearer reference to sharia when people say "the sharia prohibits interest ... " Riba is not defined in the Quran, and it seems we have various interpretations of ahadith as Prof Farooq notes. Dec 23, 2021 at 14:50


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