Meaning of Riba (Usury) in Islam | Why is Riba Haram? | Jannat Al Quran

Riba (Usury) in Islam

The Meaning of Riba

Riba is an Arabic noun derived from the verb Raba, meaning ‘to increase’, ‘to grow’, and ‘to exceed’. It includes interest which is paid by banks or on loans such as car loans, home loans or credit card debt.

Proof that Riba is Haram

There are many proofs showing that riba is haram and one of the sins in Islam!

In the Qur’an, Allah says:

“…Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden riba.” Qur’an 2:275

In the Qur’an, Allah does not declare war on anyone except those who deal in riba:

“O you who believe, fear Allah and give up what remains of your demand for riba, if you are indeed believers. If you do it not, take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger.” Qur’an 2:278-279

Would you like Allah, The Almighty, to wage war against you after He has made it abundantly clear that riba is haram?


The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned that consuming riba is one of the seven sins that doom a person to Hell. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Riba is haram in all of its aspects, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said (Muslim), Allah has cursed the one who consumes riba, the one who gives it, the one who witnesses over it, and the one who writes down the transaction.”


Why is Riba Haram?

The first and foremost reason riba is haram is because Allah declared it so. It is based on Allah’s infinite wisdom that He deems an action to be obligatory or prohibited, prescribing matters in man’s best interests, in this life and in the Hereafter, as He is the All-Wise, All-Knowing. The scholars of Islam have suggested the following reasons as to why riba is haram:


  • Riba conflicts with the spirit of brotherhood and sympathy, and is based on greed, selfishness and hard heartedness.
  • Riba is one of the major contributors towards inflation.
  • Riba causes trauma and depression due to mounting debts.
  • Riba is a sure gain without any possibility of loss, hence all the risk is taken by the borrower, rather than sharing the risk and the profits with both parties.
  • Riba creates a monopoly in society, where the rich are rewarded for being wealthy, while those who are not are forced to pay extra!


Do you want Success in this Life & the Hereafter?

If we abide by that which is lawful, and avoid that which is haram, our wealth will be blessed and beneficial in this world and the Hereafter. 


On the Day of Resurrection, people will rise from their graves quickly, except those who engaged in riba. They will stand up and then fall down like epileptics because Allah says in the Quran:

“Those who consume riba cannot stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, ‘Trade is (just) like riba.’ But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden riba…” Qur’an 2:275

Such is the punishment for those who consume riba and do not sincerely repent from this great sin.


As for those who strive toward success by earning Allah’s pleasure, they take comfort from the following verse:

“O you who believe! Do not devour Riba (e.g. interest), making it double & redouble, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, that you may be successful.” Qur’an 3:130

We are also shown how to be successful in the Hereafter:

“The only saying of the faithful believers when they are called to Allah (His Words- the Qur’an) and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: “We hear and we obey.” And such are the successful (who will live forever in Paradise).” Qur’an 24:51
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