Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Riba
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي آذن بالحرب على الربا، وحفِظها في المدينة المنورة، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
The world is currently in the grip of a malaise, a cancer so malignant that it has left its patient at death's door - the environment is getting more and more polluted, hundreds of species of animal, many vital to preserving the balance of the planet's ecosystem, are becoming extinct every moment, and the divide between rich and poor is becoming larger by the day. This sickness has up until recently, to the untrained observer, appeared, just like a tumour, to be growth. But now today, in the light of recent events, such as bailouts of banks on an unprecedented scale and the repossession of thousands of homes from families unable to meet the payments, even they can see that it is a growth that sucks the life out of the rest of the body and leaves it a desiccated, lifeless shell. What is this sickness that has so affected mankind and brought her to her knees? It is riba - usury, for the entire modern financial system is built upon it. And, riba, as we all know, inevitably brings destruction and devastation in its wake. Allah says,
يمحق الله الربا ويربى الصدقات
the translation of which is, “Allah obliterates riba but makes sadaqa grow in value” Indeed, some of the ulama have said that riba and zina never appear in a land except that that land becomes a ruin. Do not be deceived by the apparent wealth of those who work in riba, by the huge wages bankers take home or the massive sums that appear to change hands on a daily basis in the stock exchange. Allah says,
لَا يَغُرَّنَّكَ تَقَلُّبُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي الْبِلَادِ مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ ثُمَّ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ
the translation of which is, “Do not be deceived by the fact that those who are kafir move freely about the earth. A brief enjoyment; then their shelter will be Hell. What an evil resting-place.” It is just something temporary - there is no baraka in it. Do not be envious of them or fall in love with their methods, seeing it as the fast track to wealth, for every penny they earn is in fact a punishment for them. Allah says,
فَلا تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلا أَوْلادُهُمْ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ بِهَا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنْفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ
the translation of which is, “Do not let their wealth and children impress you. Allah merely wants to punish them by them during their life in the dunya and for them to expire while they are kuffar.” Their accumulation of wealth sucks the life out of them, leaves them alone and friendless for they feel that they can no longer trust anyone, and makes them feel dirty and ill at ease. And no matter how much they spend on charity or give away, they find that they can never get clean. The Prophet said
ما يكسب العبد مالا من الحرام فيتصدق به فلا يؤجر عليه ولا ينفق منه فلا يبارك له فيه ولا يتركه خلف ظهره إلا كان زاده إلى النار
“When a slave has acquired wealth through unlawful means, he will receive no reward when he gives it away, it will be without baraka when he spends of it [on his family], and any portion of it that he leaves behind will only serve to increase his punishment in the Fire.” They derive little if any enjoyment of it in this world, and then they come to the worst of ends, being raised up on the Day of Rising the most accursed of people, mad and trodden underfoot. Allah says:
الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ
the translation of which is, “Those who practise riba will not rise from the grave except as someone driven mad by Shaytan's touch.” One of the interpretations of this ayat is that it means that they will be raised up on the Day of Qiyama with bellies inflated like balloons on account of the riba they have consumed. And every time they seek to stand, they will fall flat on their faces and will be trampled underfoot by all the other people gathered around them. And then, awaiting them after that, is the Fire where the riba they consumed will take the form of fireballs that they consume and that burn them up from the inside out. Thus riba destroys the one who practices it as well as devastating and bringing to ruin absolutely everything and everyone about him. And it is for that reason that it is ranked among the very worst of crimes in the eyes of Allah. The Prophet said,
لَدرهُم رباً أشدُّ عند الله تعالى من ست وثلاثين زَنْيَة في الخطيئة
“A dirham of riba is a worse wrong action in the sight of Allah than 36 acts of fornication.” And he also said,
الربا تسعةٌ وتسعون بابا أدناها كإتيان الرجل بأُمِّه
“Riba has 99 gates, the least of which is akin to a man sleeping with his own mother.” In other words, incest with one's mother is not even a hundredth as bad as one act of riba. And if these hadith were not enough to show how terrible the crime of riba is, there is also the fact that those who practice and consume it are one of only two categories of people upon whom Allah and His Messenger declare war, the other being those who harm the awliya. Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ
the translation of which is, “You who have iman! have taqwa of Allah and forgo any remaining riba if you are muminun. If you do not, know that it means war from Allah and His Messenger." In his commentary on this ayat, al-Qurtubi transmits the following story narrated by Ibn Bukayr,
جاء رجل إلى مالك بن أنَس فقال: يا أبا عبد الله، إني رأيت رجلاً سكراناً يتعاقر يريد أن يأخذ القمر؛ فقلت: امرأتي طالق إن كان يدخل جوف ابن آدم أشرُّ من الخمر. فقال: ارجعْ حتى أنظر في مسألتك. فأتاه من الغد فقال له: ارجع حتى أنظر في مسألتك فأتاه من الغد فقال له: امرأتك طالق؛ إني تصفحت كتاب الله وسنّة نبيه فلم أر شيئاً أشرّ من الربا؛ لأن الله أذِن فيه بالحرب
“A man came to see Malik ibn Anas and said to him, ‘O Abu Abdallah, I saw a drunkard, seeking to take hold of the moon, so I said, ‘May my wife be divorced if there is anything that a person may consume more evil than wine!’ Imam Malik, ‘Go home and leave me to look into the matter.’ Then the man came back the next day and Imam Malik again told him to go home so that he could look further into the matter. Then he came on the third day and Imam Malik said, ‘Your wife is divorced! I have examined the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet and have not seen anything in it more evil than riba, for Allah has declared war on it.” He declares war on it because it is gross injustice and disequlibrium and everything with Allah is just and balanced. The Prophet said,
إن العدل ميزان الله في الأرض. فمن أخذه قاده إلى الجنة ومن تركه ساقه إلى النار
“Justice is the scales with which Allah measures [the inhabitants of] the earth. It leads those who hold to it to the Garden and drives those who abandon it to the Fire.”
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.
In order to avoid this riba of which we have been speaking and reverse the devasting effects that it has had upon our society, we must be able to recognise it and understand it in all its forms and aspects. The only way to prescribe a cure is to accurately diagnose the disease. Much of what is wrong with the Muslim umma today is due to an inability of many of the modern 'reformist' scholars to do precisely that. And it was that same inability that led people in the time of the Prophet to think that there was no difference between in it and trade. Allah says,
قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا
the translation of which is, “they say, ‘Trade is the same as riba.’ But Allah has permitted trade and He has forbidden riba.”
Let us start by defining the word itself: riba linguistically means increase or excess, but in Sharia-terms refers to 'Any excess between the value of the goods given and their counter-value (i.e. the value of the goods received).’ This excess refers to any benefit accrued from any unjustified increase in the weight or measure or any benefit arising from any unjustified delay. The first of these is referred to by the jurists as riba al-fadl (excess of disparity) and the second as riba an-nasaa or an-nasii'a (excess of deferment).
Riba al-fadl is easy to understand - it is that interest that is charged on a loan such as when a person lends you 100 and requires you to pay him back 120.
As for riba an-nasi'a, it is much more commonly misunderstood. It is introducing an unjustified delay into the transaction, and applies specifically to gold, silver and foodstuffs. When exchanging any of these substances for one another, the exchange must be made hand to hand. The Prophet said,
الذهب بالذهب تِبْرُها وعَيْنها والفضة بالفضة تبرها وعينها والبُرُّ بالبرّ مُدْيٌ بمُدْيٍ والشعير بالشعير مدْي بمُدْي والتمر بالتمر مُدْيٌ بمُدْيٍ والملحُ بالملح مُدْيٌ بمُدْيٍ فمن زاد أو ازداد فقد أرْبَى ولا بأس يبيع الذهب بالفضة والفضةُ أكثرهما يداً بيد وأما نَسِيئة فلا ولا بأس ببيع البرِّ بالشعير والشعيرُ أكثرهما يداً بيد وأما نسِيئة فل
“Gold for gold, whether it has been minted into coin or not; silver for silver, whether it has been minted into coin or not; wheat for wheat, like for like; barley for barley, like for like; dates for dates, like for like; and salt for salt, like for like. He who increases or adds has committed riba. There is no harm is selling gold for silver when there is more silver than gold [in the transaction] providing it is done hand to hand, but deferring payment is not allowed. There is no harm also in selling wheat for barley when there is nore barley than wheat provided it is done hand to hand, but deferring payment is not allowed.”
In other words, the goods and the money must be handed over at one and the same time, and if they are of the same type then they must be of exactly the same amount. And you cannot take any of these substances in exchange for a promise of payment. Although this might seem clear and uncomplicated its implications are profound when one makes a detailed examination of most of the transactions that occur today where debt tokens have taken the place of real money and have indeed replaced them. If you look closely at any sale of gold, silver or fungible foodstuff today, you will see that every single instance involves riba an-nasii'a, for in every case a debt is being exchanged for the actually physical substance. Thus the very nature of our currency means that riba accompanies almost every transaction and gives the truth to the Prophet's words,
يأتي على الناس زمانٌ لا يبقى أحد إلا أكل الربا ومن لم يأكل الربا أصابه غُبَاره
“There will come a time when no person will remain alive except that he consumes riba. And even if he does not consume it, he will covered by its dust.” We cannot stand idly by and let this state of affairs continue. WE cannot continue to accept the status quo. We cannot use as an excuse the weakness of the umma or the proximity of the final hour. None of that is a reason to ignore the teachings of Allah and His Prophet, for those teachings apply until the end of creation not till the fall of the khilafa. Riba does not suddenly become acceptable because it is the dominant system of the world today.And even if we take the position that it is a darura, that does not mean that we stop looking for and working towards a way out. There are some things that no Muslim should compromise on and no Muslim should accept and riba is one of them. So we ask Allah to give us a way out. And we ask Him to purify or transactions of riba and give us the means to bring balance and equilibrium back to the world in which He has established us. And we ask that He give victory to His deen.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تَدَعْ فِي مَقَامِنَا هَذَا ذَنْباً إِلاَّ غَفَرْتَهُ، وَلاَ عَيْباً إِلاَّ سَتَرْتَهُ، وَلاَ مَرِيضاً إِلاَّ شَفَيْتَهُ وَعَافَيْتَهُ، وَلاَ مَسْجُوناً إِلاَّ طَلَقْتَ سَرَاحَهُ، وَلاَ مُسَافِراً فِي بَرِّكَ وَبَحْرِكَ إِلاَّ سَلِِمْتَهُ وَغَنِمْتَهُ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.