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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Jewish attitudes towards usury

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usury


Torah

The following quotations are from the Hebrew Bible, 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation:

If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest. (Exodus, 22:25)[27]

And if thy brother be waxen poor, and his means fail with thee; then thou shalt uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with thee. Take thou no interest of him or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon interest, nor give him thy victuals for increase. (Leviticus, 25:35-37)

Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest. Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. (Deuteronomy, 23:20-21)


Qur'an

The following quotations are English translations from the Qur'an:

Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever (Al-Baqarah 2:275)

God condemns usury, and blesses charities. God dislikes every disbeliever, guilty. Lo! Those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. O you who believe, you shall observe God and refrain from all kinds of usury, if you are believers. If you do not, then expect a war from God and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capitals, without inflicting injustice, or incurring injustice. If the debtor is unable to pay, wait for a better time. If you give up the loan as a charity, it would be better for you, if you only knew. (Al-Baqarah 2:276-280)

O you who believe, you shall not take usury, compounded over and over. Observe God, that you may succeed. (Al-'Imran 3:130)

And for practicing usury, which was forbidden, and for consuming the people's money illicitly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them painful retribution. (Al-Nisa 4:161)

The usury that is practiced to increase some people's wealth, does not gain anything at God. But if people give to charity, seeking God's pleasure, these are the ones who receive their reward many fold. (Ar-Rum 30:39)

THINGS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO DO


  1. Compare and contrast which scripture is more ethnocentric ie racially discriminatory.
  2. Ask yourself how many Jews publicly condemn usury.  
  3. Ask yourself how many Christians publicly condemn usury.
  4. Ask yourself how many Muslims publicly condemn usury.
  5. Ask yourself if the Western debt crisis might have something to do with the practice of usury and its worship of Mammon.


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