Riba is Explained
S J Tubrazy
Any amount, big or small, over the principal, in a contract of loan or debt is “Riba” prohibited by the Holy Qur’an, regardless of whether the loan is taken for the purpose of consumption or for some production activity. The ‘Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has also termed the following transactions as Riba:
(i) A transaction of money for money of the same denomination where the quality on both sides is not equal, either in a spot transaction or in a transaction based on deferred payment.
(ii) A barter transaction between two weighable or measurable commodities of the same kind, where the quantity on both sides is not equal, or where the delivery from any one side is deferred.
(iii) A barter transaction between two different weighable or measurable commodities where delivery from one side is deferred.
These three categories are termed in the Islamic Jurisprudence as Riba‑al‑Sunnah because their prohibition is established by the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Alongwith the Riba‑al‑Qur’an, these are four types of transactions termed as `Riba’ in the literature of Islamic Fiqha based on the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.
Out of these four transactions, the last two ones, mentioned above as (ii) and (iii) have not much relevance to the context of modern business, the barter business being a rare phenomenon in the modern trade. However, the Riba‑al‑Qur’an and transaction of money mentioned above as (i) are more relevant to modern business.