Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: “Trading is only like Riba (usury),” whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns [to Riba (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.
Chapter 2 Al-Baqarah : Verse 275
The Punishment for Dealing with Riba (Interest and Usury)
(Those who eat Riba will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaytan leading him to insanity.)
This Ayah means, on the Day of Resurrection, these people will get up from their graves just as the person afflicted by insanity or possesed by a demon would. Ibn `Abbas said, “On the Day of Resurrection, those who consume Riba will be resurrected while insane and suffering from seizures.”
(That is because they say: “Trading is only like Riba,” whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba) indicates that the disbelievers claimed that Riba was allowed due to the fact that they rejected Allah’s commandments, not that they equated Riba with regular trade.
(Trading is only like Riba) meaning, they are similar, so why did Allah allow this, but did not allow that, they asked in defiance of Allah’s commandments.
Indeed, Allah is the Most Knowledgeable, Most Wise, Whose decision is never resisted. Allah is never asked about what He does, while they will be asked. He is knowledgeable of the true reality of all things and the benefits they carry. He knows what benefits His servants, so He allows it for them, and what harms them, so He forbids them from it. He is more merciful with them than the mother with her own infant.
Thereafter, Allah said,
(So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba, shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge),) meaning, those who have knowledge that Allah made usury unlawful, and refrain from indulging in it as soon as they acquire this knowledge, then Allah will forgive their previous dealings in Riba,
(Allah has forgiven what is past.)
On the day Makkah was conquered the Prophet said,
(All cases of Riba during the time of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic period of ignorance) is annulled and under my feet, and the first Riba I annul is the Riba of Al-‘Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle).)
We should mention that the Prophet did not require the return of the interest that they gained on their Riba during the time of Jahiliyyah. Rather, he pardoned the cases of Riba that occured in the past, just as Allah said,
(shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge).)
Sa`id bin Jubayr and As-Suddi said that,
(shall not be punished for the past) refers to the Riba one consumed before it was prohibited. Allah then said,
(But whoever returns) meaning, deals in Riba after gaining knowledge that Allah prohibited it, then that warrants punishment, and in this case, the proof will have been established against such person. This is why Allah said,
(such are the dwellers of the Fire ـ they will abide therein forever.)
The Two Sahihs recorded that An-Nu`man bin Bashir said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Both lawful and unlawful things are evident, but in between them there are matters that are not clear. So whoever saves himself from these unclear matters, he saves his religion and his honor. And whoever indulges in these unclear matters, he will have fallen into the prohibitions, just like a shepherd who grazes (his animals) near a private pasture, at any moment he is liable to enter it.)
The Sunan records that Al-Hasan bin `Ali said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.)
Ahmad recorded that Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said that `Umar said, “The Ayah about Riba was one of the last Ayat to be revealed, and the Messenger of Allah died before he explained it to us. So leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.”
Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Riba is seventy types, the least of which is equal to one having sexual intercourse with his mother.)
(May Allah curse the Jews! Allah forbade them to eat animal fat, but they melted it and sold it, eating its price.)
`Ali and Ibn Mas`ud narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
(May Allah curse whoever consumes Riba, whoever pays Riba, the two who are witnesses to it, and the scribe who records it.)
Verily, deeds are judged by their intentions.