interest – waging war with Allah
I was with a person and his friend phoned up requesting money. He was in the casino and he needed 80,000 rands. This incident occurred some time back, so 80,000 rands was considered a lot of money! Yet this person casually handed over 80,000 to him. So I remarked, “Does he pay you back?” The person replied, “Look, this is haram money. I acquired it from gambling in the casino, and now it is returning to the casino. If he happens to pay me back, I will just push it aside anyway as it is haram money.”
His point was that one haram cancels the other. These are the ridiculous arguments that we use to justify accepting interest and haram money. Allah declares in the Quran that the one who takes interest is waging war with Allah.
The Palestinians are at war with an enemy force so naturally, our hearts go out to them and we extend our sympathies. This is good but why are we not worried about those of us who are waging war with Allah? Can they possibly stand any chance of winning, where is our worry for them? The reality is, though Allah himself has spoken of this war in the Quran, we are not at all worried.
Instead many people speak happily and openly about their houses or cars on interest. It is as though there is nothing wrong with it. It is as though interest is not a major sin in Islam. People have become so used it, it is now a lifestyle. Many pray salah and have big beards, yet engage in interest dealings. After buying one house or car, what is the need to buy yet another on interest? If we are stuck in this cycle we should be working towards an interest free life, not sink deeper into the sin.
Alhamdulillah many people have managed to come out of this vicious cycle of interest. I know people whose entire businesses were dependent on this, yet they managed to escape this life. So there is hope for everyone. Remember that at the end of the day, we will only earn that amount which is written for us. What is decreed will be given to us, nothing more and nothing less.
Ali رضي الله عنه came to a masjid and he had a camel with him. A person met him outside and said that I need a ride. So Ali رضي الله عنه replied that ok, no problem, we will discuss this after salah. After salah, Ali رضي الله عنه went outside and found his camel was nowhere to be seen, and the man had disappeared too! In other words, the man had taken the camel. Upon realising this Ali رضي الله عنه said that my intention was actually to give the camel to him. However, due to his haste he chose to take it the haram way. If he had waited for just a few more minutes, he would have got exactly what he wanted, the halal way!
A buzurg (i.e. a pious scholar) met a person on the streets, whom he later invited to his home to spend the night. The buzurg made monetary arrangements for him which he intended to give to him in the morning. He left the money in his pocket and fell asleep. The guest saw this so as the buzurg slept he quietly entered the room, pickpocketed the money and made a quick escape out of sight.
He left the house of the buzurg and made his way back. In the morning when the buzurg woke up, he checked his pockets and saw that the money had disappeared. He thought to himself that this unfortunate person! If only he had stayed the night I would have served him breakfast in the morning, given him the money in my pocket and more money I left aside for his padkos (i.e. food for the return journey home)! But due to his haste, he received less through haram means.
The moral of both stories is that we must have patience. We can either jump the gun and take the haram option, or wait and accept the halaal. Either way, we will only receive that amount which is decreed for us. So why take interest and chase after wealth, which if decreed, we will receive without interest anyway, and if not decreed, we will never receive it even with interest?
May Allah grant us the tawfiq to come out of this cycle, Aameen.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(Above is an extract from a dhikr majlis delivered by Hazrat on 28/11/2016 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa