Heavenly Call (22)
Welcome to the 22nd episode of Heavenly Call on the occasion of the blessed fasting month of Ramadhan.
We start with the special supplication of the 22nd day:
“O Allah, open for me this day the doors of Your grace; send down to me therein Your bounties; enable me therein to obtain the means of Your good pleasure; and settle me therein in the midst of Your paradise; O Answerer of the calls of the distressed!”
It was said that class gap is one of the major problems of the current era and that Islam has put forward a number of mechanisms to tackle this evil phenomenon. Islam is strongly opposed to the widening of through accumulation of wealth in the hands of few moneygrubbers, since this further deepens the class gap and leads to the illegal religiously prohibited practice of usury.
Before the advent of Islam, usury was intensively rampant in the Arabian Peninsula. This sinister phenomenon had led to class exploitation. The holy Qur'an, expressly voices God's opposition to usury and says in ayah 278 of surah Baqara, "O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah and abandon what remains from usury, should you be faithful."
The point to contemplate here is that the ayah addresses those who are faithful and toward its end warns them of the danger of losing their faith. It stresses that the true believers ought not to seek additional money from what they have lent to the poor. The holy Qur'an advises them to be Godwary if they are really faithful. This clearly shows that usury is against faith and Godwariness. Since God knows that some people may not give up this evil practice, it continues its warning in the next ayah that says:
“And if you do not, then proclaim a war with Allah and His Prophet.”
These words are indeed food for thought. Usury has been described as war with God and His Prophet. Can a person who is really a true believer continue to extract usury after this warning?
God, however, is kind and opens the door of forgiveness for those who repent of their sins and become sincere penitents, as He says in ayah 279 of Surah Baqara:
"And if you repent then you will have your principal, neither wronging others nor being wronged."
Why does Islam fight so intensively against usury? The reason is that usury shatters the economy of a society and destroys the peace and calm of a community. It is only the usurers who benefit from the money they lent to the poor and then squeeze them of their savings and belongings, that far exceed the paltry sum they had given. Usury is thus a manifest example of exploitation which sows the seeds of enmity and hatred in the hearts. Those who have lost because of usury whatever meagre savings they had, can never forget the calamity caused to them and their family by the usurer, and these grudges often lead to spiteful vengeance, even loss of life.