Of all the economic proscriptions in the Qur˒an, the most controversial has been the ban on riba, the pre-Islamic lending practice held responsible for pushing destitute Arab borrowers into enslavement. According to some early Muslims, this ban was meant to cover all interest, regardless of form, context, or magnitude; for others, the ban's intended scope was limited to exorbitant interest charges. Although the restrictive definition triumphed, as a matter of practice the giving and taking of interest continued, at times through the use of legal ruses (hiyal), often more or less openly.
The latest chapter of this old controversy was ignited in the 1940s by the emergence of "Islamic economics," a school of thought that aims to purge interest from all economic operations. The accomplishments of this school include the establishment of Islamic banks in over seventy countries and the banning of interest in three of them: Pakistan, Iran, and the Sudan. Islamic banks claim that they avoid giving or taking interest, but they have found it impractical to obey their own charters. Interest is disguised under a variety of charges.
Various critics of Islamic economics, including secular economists and Islamic modernists, believe that the goal of eradicating interest is both misguided and unfeasible. Distinguishing between riba and ordinary interest, these critics hold that interest is indispensable to any complex economy, that competitive financial markets limit interest charges, and that bankruptcy laws now exist to protect borrowers against the horrors once produced by riba.
Chapra, M. Umer. Towards a Just Monetary System. Leicester, U.K.: Islamic Foundation, 1985.
Kuran, Timur. "The Economic Impact of Islamic Fundamentalism." In Fundamentalisms and the State: Remaking Polities, Economies, and Militance. Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
"Riba." Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/riba
"Riba." Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. . Retrieved November 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/riba
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.