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  • Can We Charge Interest For A Noble Cause?

    Posted by $ohail T@hir on June 25, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Some people are of the view that money should be invested in interest-based schemes so that the interest earned can be spent on welfare projects and philanthropic ventures.

    It needs to be appreciated that taking interest is forbidden in Islam even if it is taken for a noble cause.Islam requires that both the means and the objective of an enterprise be morally justified. It does not condone the “Robin Hood” concept of achieving noble objectives through ignoble means. Its objective is to purify a person’s concepts and his deeds from any semblance of evil. Its message is to strive in the right direction whether the objective is achieved or not – for achieving an objective depends not on a person’s efforts; it depends on the will of Allah. It is not our obligation by any means to spend money on philanthropic causes when we do not get it through the right means.

    An example from the Quran may help in illustrating this point: gambling and drinking in pre-Islamic times were a means through which the rich showed their generosity and helped the poor and needy. In winters, when cold winds blew in and caused conditions akin to drought, the courageous would gather at various places, drink liquor and, in their state of inebriation, slaughter any camels they could get hold of. They would pay the owner of the camels whatever price he demanded. They would then gamble on the meat of the slaughtered camels. Whatever parts of meat a person won in this gambling, he would generously distribute them among the poor who would gather around on such occasions. In pre-Islamic Arabia, this was a matter of great honor and people who took part in this activity were considered very philanthropic and generous. The poets would narrate accounts of their benevolence in their odes. On the other hand, people who stayed away from this activity would be called barm (stingy).

    It was this very benefit of drinking and gambling which prompted people to make an inquiry when they were regarded as prohibited items. The Quran asserted in its reply that in spite of serving this noble cause, they were instrumental in producing moral misconduct in an individual, which in no case can be allowed:

    يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا (219:2)

    They ask you about liquor and gambling. Tell them: there is great sin in them and some profits as well for people. But their sin is greater than their profit. (2:219)

    In other words, despite having utility, drinking and gambling were prohibited since they cause moral misconduct.

    Therefore, one should not invest money in interest-based schemes even if the purpose is to spend the accrued money for some noble cause.

    $ohail T@hir replied 4 years ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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