The practical application of Islamic teachings in the context of the modern world is a vexed issue for Muslims. Amongst scores of other issues, bank interest is one such. Levying interest is prohibited by the Quran. But this applies to the practice of usury and not bank interest as modern banking was, of course, unknown when Islam came into being.

Usurers and moneylenders are ruthless in their dealings with borrowers the world over –

this is one of the reasons behind anti-Semitism that was, until recently, prevalent in the western world. Thus, any business dealing solely in money is prohibited by the Quran. In the modern economy, however, financiers and circulation of money play a very important role.

Hypothetically, if today any Muslim government were to successfully introduce an interest-free economy, as contemplated by the conventional ulema, it would certainly be a great achievement and may lead to a new economic order. Unfortunately, this is an idyllic dream and the sooner Muslims face up to this reality the better.

Some Muslims who want to avail of modern banking facilities but do not want to appear to be doing so, deposit their savings in a bank but do not accept interest in the belief that by so doing, they are conforming to the dictates of Islam. Thus, dealing with Islamic banking has emerged in recent years as a parallel to non-Islamic banking.

In the common civic space every citizen, including Muslims, whether directly or indirectly, is involved in modern banking.  the profits as a matter of course, and it is not considered ‘riba’ (usury).

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