Is Taking Interest Punishable?

Question

I was thinking in terms of any Ta'zeer punishment or Hadd for the one who consumes riba, haram meat, meat of dead-haram animals as there were Hadd punishments for various acts in the Qur'an. Since there are very serious warnings for consuming riba (consuming), but without any worldly punishment.

If my understanding is right then please explain why it is hadd punishment for theft and not for riba? If there is some punishment for riba then will the Interest (riba) payer be equally treated with same punishment? Please note my question is regarding worldly punishment.


Answer

The Islamic Shari'ah has prescribed punishments only for few crimes. A study of the issue would reveal that the punishments are mainly prescribed for the crimes where the victim is an individual or the society. There are numerous sins but few punishable crimes. For example there is no punishment for those who do not offer the Prayer or pay the zakah. This distinction is in fact considered in all the systems of the world. It is never possible to punish every act that is not approved. Criminal law is a distinctive branch in almost all the countries and traditions.

The Shari'ah has not prescribed any punishment for devouring riba. However, it does not mean that the state cannot punish the culprits it has banned the practice and has held it punishable.

Please note that the Shari'ah has condemned and forbidden devouring riba and not being subjected to paying it. The borrower should not be burdened by the lender to pay anything more than the original lent amount and what he may lose as a result of inflation. If he makes the borrower pay more he is transgressing the moral and religious laws and not the borrower who may never borrow the amount if he had the option to get an interest free loan.

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