Usury: a crime in this life and the next

Usury is evil according the Qur’an

In the Middle Ages, usury in Europe was not only a crime, it was unnatural; and Dante placed usurers in the same circle of Hell as the inhabitants of Sodom and other practitioners of what he and everyone else at the time considered an unnatural vice.

Whatever modern morals would make of Dante’s broader perspective, the fact is that fiat currencies collapse. The median life of a fiat currency is 37 years.

The US dollar has been fully fiat since 1971, which is when it lost any relationship with gold. This is now 44 years ago. But before we claim US exceptionalism over the physics of money, we should consider Voltaire who left no room for doubt:“Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero.”

The system we have at present combines fiat and usury, both historically regarded as evil. And it is the acceptance of such a system of economics that, in my opinion, is the primary root of most evil in the world.

I can count the prominent pubic representatives in English-speaking countries who robustly acknowledge this core problem on the fingers of one hand – and still have enough fingers left to hold my tea.

Andrew Jackson famously said, “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks[…] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered[…]”

The US was fully conquered by the banking establishment by means of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Jackson would have turned in his grave.

The post-1913 US economic model is replicated almost everywhere today. Those few countries which held out have either recently been destroyed by NATO, are in the process of being destroyed by NATO, or will – one must assume – shortly be destroyed by NATO.

Not having a central bank seems to be the primary qualification for identification as a member of the ludicrously named Axis of Evil.

We – the Axis of Fluffy Goodness – have got things right. We create debt and spend it into existence and hand over our real goods and assets and labour – and pay interest for the privilege.

This is the system those we elect operate within. They take on huge debt while they are in government – which is exactly what the international banking establishment wants them to do – and put us on the hook for it, rather than solve the problem by issuing debt-free money and linking it to something real.

Thus, the consumer materialism you and I experience in our daily lives is not just something crass and tasteless that has come out of nowhere. It is implicit in the economic system in which we live and have our being because the junky needs his fix.

The problem is not that capitalism is broken. The problem is that we are trying to operate a system in which the money itself is both fiat and usurious.

It is the debt-based and usurious nature of our economics that tends towards the creation of the One Percent.

And it is the reason why rain forests are felled and cash crops sold rather than used to feed the people who need them.

[The above section is excerpted from an article I wrote for Russia Today and reproduced with permission.]

The Qur’an is clear on usury: it is an unmitigated evil:

  • Those who take usury suffer a form of demonic possession
  • Those who are warned to cease taking usury but do not desist are destined for Hell
  • Those who believe but continue in usury are warned of war from God and his messenger
  • Those who believe in God are to have nothing to do with usury
  • The Jews have been forbidden good things in part because of their use of usury
  • Usury has no increase with God

Quranic verses on usury

Those who consume usury will not stand save as stands one whom the shayṭān has touched
Because they say: Commerce is but the same as usury
When God has made commerce lawful and prohibited usury.
And he to whom came the exhortation from his lord and desisted:
He has what is past and his case is with God.
But whoso goes back:
These are the companions of the fire
Wherein they abide eternally.
God eliminates usury and increases charity.
And God loves not every false ingrate.
Those who heed warning and do deeds of righteousness
And uphold the duty
And give the purity
They have their reward with their lord
And they need not fear
Nor will they regret.
O you who heed warning: be in prudent fear of God and give up what remains of usury if you be believers.
And if you do not:
Be informed of war from God and his messenger.
But if you repent:
To you be your principal sums.
Wrong not and you will not be wronged.
And if he be one in hardship
Then deferment until ease.
But that you forgive by way of charity is better for you
If you would know.
And be in prudent fear of a day in which you will be returned to God.
Then every soul will be paid in full what it has earned
And they will not be wronged. (2:175-281)

O you who heed warning: consume not usury
And be in prudent fear of God
That you might be successful.
And be in prudent fear of the fire prepared for those who spurn guidance while claiming virtue.
And obey God and the messenger
That you might obtain mercy. (3:130-132)

So because of injustice among those who hold to Judaism
We made unlawful to them good things which had been lawful to them
And because of their forsaking the path of God much
And their taking of usury when they had been forbidden it
And their consuming the wealth of men in vanity.
And we have prepared for those among them who spurn guidance while claiming virtue a painful punishment(4:160-161)

And what you give of usury that it might increase in the wealth of men:
There is no increase with God.
But what you give of purity desiring the countenance of God:
These receive recompense manifold(30:39)

About the Author Sam Gerrans

Sam Gerrans is an English writer and speaker with professional backgrounds in media, strategic communications, and technologies. He is driven by commitment to ultimate meaning, and focused on authentic approaches to revelation and Realpolitik. He is founder of and author of The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation where his consistent, Qur'an-centric hermeneutical methodology is applied to the text of the Qur’an in its entirety. Read more...

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