Edited by M. Kabir Hassan and Mervyn K. Lewis
Chapter 7: Riba in Islamic economics and finance
Freeing a society, in its entirety, from interest requires more than good intent. It needs a rule of law that works on eliminating interest from every aspect of business, financial transactions and exchange contracts. This is exactly what the Islamic Shari’ah does. There is always clear and intuitive avoidance of interest. With the revival of Islamic finance at the institutional level in the last quarter of the twentieth century, discussion of Riba came into focus again. Several contemporary writings on Islamic finance consider its prohibition the centerpiece of Islamic finance. However, Islamic finance cannot be defined by what it is not. It must be defined by what it is. Islamic finance can be defined as the provision of goods, services and means of payment with the counterpart being delayed for a future date. In other words, Islamic finance tools, instruments or contracts are only sale, lease and sharing.
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