Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-269

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Following that, it is said in the third sentence that a person, who had collected some money before riba was declared haram, and who repented after riba was declared haram, and promised to himself that he would not go near it in the future, he then, will find that the amount so collected belonged to him based on the outward dictate of the Shari'ah .Now remains the inward affair, that of his sincere, heart-felt abstinence, or that of his possible hypocritical repentance, that will be retired as a matter between him and His Lord. If the repentance comes from the heart, it will be beneficial in the sight of Allah, otherwise it will pass into nothingness. Common people have no right to doubt about it. However, one who hears good counsel, yet elects to revert to the same erroneous pattern of word and deed, for such people Hell is the place to go since this act of eating riba is a sin. And since their saying, that riba is (halal like trade, is kufr, they will, for that reason, live in Hell for ever.

In the second verse (276), it was said that Allah Almighty eradicates riba and lets sadaqat (charities) grow. Here sadaqat were introduced with riba by virtue of a unique congruity. It will be noted that there is contradiction in the very nature of riba and sadaqah, then their outcomes are also contradictory, and generally, those who engage in these two have contradictory intentions and objectives.

The contradiction in nature can be explained by the fact that in sadaqah one gives to others what belongs to him without any reward or return, while in riba, that which belongs to others is taken without any compensation or return. The intention and the objective of those who are engaged in these two activities is contradictory because one who gives sadaqah elects to lessen or exhaust what belongs to him exclusively for seeking the pleasure of Allah Almighty and for earning merit in the Hereafter; while the riba-taker is eager to collect impermissible increase on the capital he already has. That the outcome of both is contradictory is made clear by this verse which says that Allah Almighty erases the gains obtained through riba or takes away its barakah (blissful abundance); and increases the wealth, or its barakah for the giver of sadaqah. The result is that the objective of the greedy in pursuit of wealth is not achieved, while one who spends in the way of Allah, and who was quite happy with a little decrease in his belongings, finds it full of Divine barakah whereby his wealth increases, or its end-products do, and their benefits accumulate.

At this point, it may be interesting to find out what is the meaning of erasing riba and increasing sadaqat in the verse. Some commentators have said that this erasing and increasing relates to the Hereafter where the riba-consumer will find his wealth of no avail; it might as well become a curse for him; while those who are engaged in acts of sadaqah and khayrat will find that their wealth has become a source of eternal blessings. This is absolutely obvious in which there is no doubt. However, according to the consensus of commentators, the position is that the erasing of riba and the increasing of sadaqah is most certainly related to the Hereafter, but some of its traces are observed in this world as well.

The money or property of which riba becomes a part is sometimes destroyed taking with it all that was before it. This is a common slght in markets of riba and stocks where millionaires and capitalists of yesterday become insolvents and paupers of today. No doubt, there are chances of profit and loss in riba free business activities and there are many businessmen who face losses in business deals but a loss that turns a millionaire into a beggar is witnessed only in ribs markets and stock exchanges. There are so many statements of the experienced and the knowledgeable which say that the wealth collected through riba may increase faster and higher, but it generally does not survive long enough to run through children and their successors. In between, comes some calamity and effaces everything out. Sayyidna Ma'mar said that they have heard from their elders that forty years hardly pass on the riba-consumer when muhaq (major loss) overtakes his wealth.

May be, the wealth or property does not go to ruins outwardly, but this much is quite certain that its benefits, utilities, and blessings will go away. Since this is no secret that gold and silver are not desirable or useful as such. They cannot remove hunger or thirst. They cannot help beat the heat or serve as quilt and wrap in winter. Neither can they be used as clothes or utensils. The only purpose for which a wise person goes through thousands of exercises to procure and secure these can hardly be anything else except that gold and silver are means to procure things that go to make man s life pleasant and that he may live a life of comfort and self-respect. Then comes man's natural wish that his children and relatives should also enjoy the same comfort and self-respect as he did.

These are the sort of things that can be called the benefits and utilities of wealth and property. As a result, we can safely say that one who procures these benefits and utilities has his wealth increased in a sense, even though it may appear to have decreased, and one who procures these benefits and utilities on a lower scale has his wealth decreased in a sense even though it may appear to have increased.

After having understood this, let us compare the two activities of riba dealings and sadaqah and khayrat. It will soon be noticed that the wealth of the riba consumer,no doubt, appears to be increasing, but that increase is akin to the swelling of the human body. The increase in swelling is after all a n increase of the body itself. But no sane person would like to have this sort of increase because he knows that this increase is a certain knock of death. Similarly, no matter how increased is the wealth of the riba-consumer, he remains, for ever, deprived of its fruits, that is, comfort and honour.

Perhaps, at this point, a doubt may bother someone in view of the comfort and status enjoyed by the ribii-consumers of today. Here they are with their mansions and villas, living in every luxury money can  buy, attended by servants and maids, having the best to eat, drink and sleep necessities and absurdities all rolled in one. A little thought here would lead every sane person to differentiate between the articles of comfort and comfort itself. There is a big difference between the two. The articles of comfort are made in factories and sold in markets. These can be procured aginst gold and silver, but that which is known as comfort, peace and bliss, is neither made in any factory nor sold in any market. This is mercy (rahmah) which comes directly from Allah Almighty. There are occasions when this cannot be procured no matter bow much one holds in his possession. Just think of the comfort of a sound sleep. In order to have it, we can certainly do our best make a sleep-oriented house which is the best possible, perfect arrangement of air and light, cooling, heating, handsome looking furniture, the bed, the mattress, the pillows, all chosen ideally but can we be sure that sleep will come just because all this helpful paraphernalia is there? If you have never personally experienced this, there are thousands who cannot sleep due to some disease, and who would say no. Reports from a country, so wealthy and 'civilized' as USA, reveal that seventy per cent people cannot sleep without sleeping pills. There are times when even these do not work. You can buy from stores things to make you sleep but you cannot buy sleep from any store a t any price. Similar is the case of other articles of comfort and enjoyment. You can buy these articles against money but it is not necessary that you do experience comfort and enjoyment.

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