Usury in Judaism and Islam

Title : Usury in Judaism and Islam
Author : Asrofi Hilal, S.Ag (CRCS, 2004)
Keywords : usury, financial interest, loan, justice, and injustice.
The concept of usury has a long historical life, throughout most of which it has been understood to refer to the practice of charging financial interest in excess of the principal amount of a loan, although in some instances and more especially in more recent times, it has been interpreted as interest above the legal or socially acceptable rate.

The problem is that usury practice is a phenomenon which has been a kind of cancer which undermine society. The practice of usury has always posed a problem. As we have seen, usury has now penetrated every sphere of the society we live in. In addition, usury is a topic which modern people have almost entirely forgotten, and which I do not find mentioned comprehensively in any books on Economics.

This thesis aims at drawing the fact that since Islam and Judaism stands for absolute justice, usury which is the result of exchange between money and money is definitely the root cause for injustice and hence forbidden. To reach the aim is conducted through normative –theological approach. It means the researcher tries to explain how the main scriptures of Judaism and Islam stipulate the usury supported by views of scholars of both religions. The method is library research.

The primary result of the thesis is, that based on the main sources of either Judaism or Islam, the criticism of usury in Judaism has its roots in several Biblical passages and in Islam in which the criticism of usury was well-established during the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) life and reinforced by various of his teachings in the Holy Qur’an. Besides, this study finds out the fact that usury is exploitative and has resulted in increasing inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth among the people.

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