The severity of interest in the Quran and Ahaadith

Almighty Allah states in the Quran:

“Those who consume interest shall not stand up on the Day of Resurrection except like him who shaytaan has driven mad by his touch. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have that (amount) which has passed, and his affair rests with Allah . But whoever returns to [dealing in interest or usury] – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.” (Surah al-Baqarah (2): verse 275)


“Allah destroys interest and increases charity. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever.” (Surah al-Baqarah (2): verse 276)


A question may arise that by giving charity one’s wealth seemingly decreases  and by receiving interest, one’s wealth, apparently seems to increase.  For example, Zaid had £100, he gave £20 in charity, so he is now left with £80.  Steve also had a £100, he received £20 in interest, so he now has a balance of £120.   So then what does this verse mean?


What is meant by ‘destroys interest’ is that Allah deprives interest money of all blessings.  Allah will create such circumstances for the recipient of interest that his money will diminish in front his very eyes.  Despite owning hundreds and thousands, his needs will not be fulfilled.  He will be forced to pay where he doesn’t desire to do so.  On top of that, the calamities of this world will be let loose upon him, as interest money invites depression and misery.  Most terrifying is what awaits him in the hereafter….words fail to explain the torment awaiting the recipient of interest.


With regards to charity, Allah showers His blessing on the one who spends in charity.  Thus with little provision and means, Allah will fulfill all his needs.  In addition to that, Allah will avert the calamities of this world that would’ve befallen him.  Finally and most importantly, the charity will be a means of salvation in the hereafter.


In another verse Allah the almighty announces,

“O you, who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you are believers.  And if you do not, then be warned of war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal amount – [thus] oppress not and you shall not be oppressed.” (Surah al-Baqarah (2): verse 278-279)


Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) cursed the receiver and the payer of interest, the one who records it and the two witnesses to the transaction and said: “They are all alike [in guilt].” (Narrated by Muslim)


In another Hadith he said,

“A dirham of riba which a man receives knowingly is worse than committing adultery thirty-six times” (Narrated by Ahmed)


Bayhaqi has also reported this Hadith with the addition,

“Hell befits him whose flesh has been nourished by the unlawful.”

The Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“On the night of Ascension I came upon people whose stomachs were like houses with snakes visible from the outside. I asked Gabriel who they were. He replied that they were people who had received interest.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah)


He is also reported to have said,

“God would be justified in not allowing four persons to enter paradise or to taste its blessings: he who drinks habitually, he who takes riba, he who usurps an orphan’s property without right, and he who is undutiful to his parents.” (Narrated in Mustadrak al-Hakim)

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