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)
Allah mentions those who deal in usury and illegally acquire people’s money, using various evil methods and wicked ways.
(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. Ibn `Abbas said, “On the Day of Resurrection, those who consume Riba will be resurrected while insane and suffering from seizures. Al-Bukhari recorded that Samurah bin Jundub said in the long Hadith about the dream that the Prophet had,
(We reached a river -the narrator said, “I thought he said that the river was as red as blood”- and found that a man was swimming in the river, and on its bank there was another man standing with a large collection of stones next to him. The man in the river would swim, then come to the man who had collected the stones and open his mouth, and the other man would throw a stone in his mouth.)
The explanation of this dream was that the person in the river was one who consumed Riba.
(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. The disbelievers did not recognize that Allah allowed trade in the Qur’an, for if they did, they would have said, “Riba is trade.”
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,
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).)
(shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge).)
(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 subject of Riba is a difficult subject for many scholars. We should mention that the Leader of the Faithful, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, said, “I wished that the Messenger of Allah had made three matters clearer for us, so that we could refer to his decision: the grandfather (regarding inheriting from his grandchildren), the Kalalah (those who leave neither descendants nor ascendants as heirs) and some types of Riba.” `Umar was refering to the types of transactions where it is not clear whether they involve Riba or not. The Shari`ah supports the rule that for any matter that is unlawful, then the means to it are also unlafwful, because whatever results in the unlawful is unlawful, in the same way that whenever an obligation will not be complete except with something, then that something is itself an obligation.
(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 Messenger of Allah said,
(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.)