Lehman Brothers, AIG and the Qur’an

Why is the Economy so messed up?

And for their taking riba (usury, interest, un-necessary loans, un-necessary mortgages, re-financing, un-necessary financing) even though it was forbidden for them, and their wrongful appropriation of other peoples’ property, We have prepared for those among them who reject faith a grievous punishment. (4:161)

On a serious note, my company sent out a company-wide email basically saying there was a hiring freeze. For all those brothers and sisters looking for jobs, may Allah (swt) make it easy for you. Ameen!

7 Replies to “Lehman Brothers, AIG and the Qur’an”

  1. There are some very good news pieces on Al Jazeera English explaining the current crisis and the role of interest based loans:


    and this second link is from a year ago where Max Keiser, interviewed in the above clip, warns of the impending economic downfall and what is making it happen on Al Jazeera’s program, “People & Power”:


    The man is intelligent and funny too. I wish the major stations could have this much information in their programming. After watching the above clips I walked past the TV in another room and caught a glimpse of CNN’s headline reel at the bottom of the screen (the main story was more drivel about the presidential horse race) which said “Jennifer Lopez throws surprise birthday bash for hubby in NYC.”

    Ya Lateef. . .

    Was Salam

  2. Assalamualaikum

    Well, there’s also the business cycle. Also, the definition of Riba is clear (interest), but the perspective has changed. A long time ago, loans were all personal and made in stable countable commodities (gold, silver, goats, wheat). Nowadays currency (money) is a commodity itself, which gains and loses value, just like all modern commodities because of the nature of the size of each international economy. In fact for our modern lifestyle to be effective at all, the economy needs to have large periods of growth, causing inflation. The basic concept behind modern commercial banking is that $1000 in todays money is worth more than $1000 tommorrow. One of the clearest way to see the gray area here is to note that on a certain day, a Euro may cost $1.50 but a few years ago it was close to $1, so is paying 50c more for the same Euro today considered interest?

    If you buy something as simple as an ear of corn from your local grocery store. You should be aware that long before that ear of corn was even planted, a speculator purchased it along with an entire bushel, more than likely, the same person made money once the corn was actually sold. The farmer probably couldn’t have brough the harvestor in cash (they cost more than half a million each) so he probably financed that with a loan, he probably also claimed the depreciating value of the tractor against his taxes, and very likely recieved some form of aid from the Federal Government anyway (unnecessary financing?). The corn may have been traded more than once on the “market” before even being trucked to you. That market ultimately determined the price of the corn, the farmer probably didn’t sit down and calculate his entire manufacturing cost and then wrote a memo on the ear saying that it can be retailed for no more than 33% mark-up (The Islamic way). Now here’s a very subtle point, as many acts of Riba that have been described here, some of the excess corn the same farmer produced may have been sent to Africa or Asia and sold well beneath its value (at a net loss to the US Government), and this could not have been done without some form of financing described earlier. So do you or me, by purchasing an ear of corn, inadvertently support riba?

    Corn was just an example, the Saudis price their petroleum based on market economics (highly effected by changing value of money) and the net result is a mark up of much more than 33% of the cost of drilling and refining. They also purchase garaunteed interest bonds from both the United States government and also the American private sector and are very heavy investors in the US private sector. Out of all nations, they purport to apply the Wahabi model the most. If you look at Kingdom Holdings, a state owned holding company, they operate chains such as Four Seasons hotels. If you go inside a Four Seasons, you will find a bar serving Alcoholic drinks. I am sure the Saudis are fully aware of this.

    Is bankruptcy to a company really a “grievous punishment”? the executives seem to make out just fine

  3. @Hamza – “Is bankruptcy to a company really a “grievous punishment”?”

    The executives may make out just fine now, but I believe Allah (swt) intends the verse to be for the hereafter, just look at the initial thought in the verse: “We have prepared….”

  4. lol..at un-necessary mortgages and un-necessary loans…somebody care to explain why this is seperated from usuary/interest

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