“And whatever you may give out of usury so that it might increase the people’s possessions will bring no increase in the sight of God, whereas all that you give out in purification, seeking God’s countenance, for it is they, those shall have their recompense multiplied.” (Q30:39)

It is incredible that more than 14 centuries have passed since the revelation of the Quran, that every successive Muslim generation is faced with the challenge of giving new dimensions and a fresh economic meaning to this term, for want of a better word, may be rendered as usury. The uncertainty of this subject is evidenced by the voluminous juridical literature on this subject, and until today the Islamic scholars have not yet been able to reach an absolute agreement on the definition of riba, a definition, that is, which would cover all conceivable legal situations and positively respond to all the exigencies of a variable economic environment. This subject remains ambiguous and very much a guesswork, more so as the people with vested interest in the financial system will obscure the truth for their own gains. The Quranic condemnation of the concept and practice of riba is unequivocal and absolutely final, yet people today, especially the Muslims are content in their ignorance and indifference, which, in all probability, are leading their lives in and around a system, which is abhorred by God.

In the new millennium, and perhaps the last for humans on Earth, the biggest perpetrator of  the Divine Order is none other than the billionaire Shaikhs of Dubai. The grandiose rapid development of this tiny desert state in the Arabian peninsular revealed that greed and money easily turn desert Bedouins into Wall Street-like gangsters and murderers. Dubai is probably the only country that I know, that criminalized loan defaulters and sends one to prison if one is unable to repay a loan.

The Arabs are supposedly devout Muslims, pray five times a day, fast 30 days in a year, do not consume alcoholic drinks and the meat of swine, and supposedly lead their lives in accordance to their holy book – the Quran.

I suppose money is too hard to resist even for pious desert wanderers who are willing to trade off poverty for a glittering life of luxury, even if it means with lies and deceit, as long as the end justifies the means.

The Quran contains clear lines and guidance on debts and loans:

“If the debtor is unable to pay, then wait for a better time. If you give up the debt as a charity, it would be better for you, if you but knew.” (Q2: 280)

The law in Dubai if you get into debt and you can’t pay, you go to prison >>. As far as the Sheikhs are concerned nobody gets away with their money, God or no God. As a result of this oppressive law, many investors and borrowers who are caught in the current financial crisis in Dubai are either in jail, or working like slaves with their passports confiscated, and are living in their cars parked in car parks.

The dark side of Dubai

Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging. Johann Hari reports. Read the full article >>

UPDATES

9th February, 2010

World’s tallest tower closed a month after opening

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The world’s tallest skyscraper has unexpectedly closed to the public a month after its lavish opening, disappointing tourists headed for the observation deck and casting doubt over plans to welcome its first permanent occupants in the coming weeks.

Read more >>

Briton destitute in Dubai returns to UK

Nicholas Warner, a British man who has been living rough on the streets of Dubai, is travelling back to the UK.

With help from locals and an expat sponsor, he obtained the release of his passport from the authorities.

Mr Warner had been sleeping in parks and public places around the city for nearly 12 weeks.

He said his problems began when he got into a dispute with his bank, Emirates NBD, initially over whether his credit card repayments had been made

Read more >>

“O you who believe, beware of God, and refrain from all outstanding gains from usury, if you are truly believers. If you do not, then know that you are at WAR with God and His messenger…” (Q2:278-279)

“O you who believe, you shall not eat from usury compounded manyfolds and observe God, that you may succeed.” (Q3:130)

“Muhammad is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him. Should he die or get killed, would you then turn back on your heels? Whoever turns back on his heels never hurts God, while those who are appreciative will be rewarded.” (Q3:144)

“No; but they have cried lies to that whereof they comprehend not the knowledge, and whose interpretation has not yet come to them. Even so those that were before them cried lies; then behold how was the end of the evildoers!” (Q10:39)