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:o All this interest free loan stuff has reminded me of something that the people in our neighbourhood do which essentially is an interest free loan. I'm not sure if this is a desi thing or what but they call it "kamaytee".

 

Take for example 10 people who want to take part and they each decide that they're going to contribute £100 every week. 1 person will take charge whereby everyone gives them the money to collect. Then they each take it in turns to take the lump sum of money every week ie week 1 somebody take the £1,000, the following person the next etc etc.

 

How much money there is depends on how many people want to take part and the minimum they have to contribute. Some set the minimum at £25 and others might set it higher at £100.

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That is so so lovely of your parents masha'Allah. It never ceases to amaze me how selfless people are with their children! Are they going to be taking on the debt for you, then?

 

PS: Your uni course sounds like it is structured much the same as mine (I only ever had 2 exams in my 3 years of uni and none for my Masters)- plus lots of intimate class discussions etc. May Allah pour His barakah into it for you. Ameen.

 

Thanks. And as for whether they will pay the debt, I'm not sure. Y'know my parents have always had this attitude like they want me to try on my own, but they will be there as a net. I guess they don't want me to be spoiled and just get whatever I want. So for example, they pushed me this summer to work and make money to help pay NY living expenses (even though any amount of money I make would be far from actually paying off university).

 

So I guess when it comes to student loans, if it began to rack up a lot of interest and was difficult for me to pay, they would help me out. But if I get a job and have the ability to pay it off, then they would prefer that I do. But it's probably a good idea to bring this up with them sometime before University just to know. Knowing my parents, they will tell me that I have to pay it off, and then when the time comes, if I'm not able, they will help me out I guess.

 

In regards to Jews and interest: I haven't really studied this topic. I guess I've spoken a bit with my former Rabbi about it, but I don't really have a good talmudic understanding. It would be like understanding Qur'an (since I understand the Torah well) without knowing the Hadith and all relevant to the subject.

 

But I guess I know a few relevant verses and laws. The Torah definitely encourages a society where the wealthy help out the poor. It is much of a socialist or welfare sort of society described in the Torah. The Rabbi+Scholar Maimonidies (you may know of him, sometimes also called the Rambam), said that the best form of charity is a loan without interest.

 

Leviticus 25 35-38:

35 " 'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest of any kind [a] from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. 37 You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

 

But in Deuteronomy 23, it allows for usury to be charged upon foreigners:

 

19Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

 

20Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

 

Most secular or semi-religious Jewish families do not worry about it much. I remember my Rabbi saying that he goes to banks in non-Jewish areas that are not owned by Jews as to ensure that he is not paying interest to a Jew, as both borrowing the money with interest and charging the interest are impermissible. Also, some are of the belief that this law is specifically geared towards individuals and not collectives of people (i.e. corporations, banks, and so on).

 

I also asked my Rabbi this question in 12th grade, as to why non-Jews can be charged interest. I wrote out an answer, but for the sake of not misquoting my Rabbi, I deleted it and will instead copy and paste from www.askmoses.com (basically similar to an online fatwa bank for Judaism):

There is nothing wrong or unethical about lending with interest. It is a common practice which is done in all civilized law-abiding societies.

 

Still, the Torah expects of us to treat all our fellow Jews as family--and when a family-member asks for a loan we don't charge interest. As the verse says (Deuteronomy 23:20), "You shall not cause your brother to take interest."

 

Oh yeah, also from what I learned in my Jewish History class, a lot of less traditional Jews naturally threw off the idea of not charging interest in the Middle Ages.

 

Jews were not permitted to work respectable jobs in Europe. So they were given the jobs that tended to be morally looked down upon in Europe such as bankers, tax collectors, and so on. Because Christians didn't charge interest to fellow Christians either, they used Jews to charge interest- hence the stereotype of the 'Jewish banker' exists today. On a side note, the jobs as bankers and money lenders ended up working terribly against the Jews though, because usury was then outlawed in much of Europe, and massive riots broke out against those who had previously collected Usury. So in the 1200's, hundreds of Jews were hanged in London and the rest expelled.

 

So yeah, usury has always been a debated topic in Jewish history. A lot of rabbis also say excessive interest cannot be charged to non-Jews, as economic dealings still must remain ethical, though not 'brotherly,' as with fellow Jews.

 

I know this was kind of all over the place. It turns out that everything I had learned came up just now while writing this. It was a good reminder for me! I had nearly forgot this information and had to google some of it.

 

lol, sorry, I know I tend to write a lot when answering questions like this. But I guess a decent answer requires sufficient information.

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:o All this interest free loan stuff has reminded me of something that the people in our neighbourhood do which essentially is an interest free loan. I'm not sure if this is a desi thing or what but they call it "kamaytee".

 

Take for example 10 people who want to take part and they each decide that they're going to contribute £100 every week. 1 person will take charge whereby everyone gives them the money to collect. Then they each take it in turns to take the lump sum of money every week ie week 1 somebody take the £1,000, the following person the next etc etc.

 

How much money there is depends on how many people want to take part and the minimum they have to contribute. Some set the minimum at £25 and others might set it higher at £100.

 

Erm, my parents do this. This is how we've managed to live off the benefits both my parents receive. It's like £150 - 200 given a week to the trustee... I feel kinda weird mentioning this. =/

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But what are people supposed to do when they live in a nonMuslim nation and they are required to pay interest on certain things? It's out of their control and if they don't pay interest, they'll be even more screwed up!

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like what? the scholars have given exceptions for some cases, for example in the UK you are required to have car insurance. Most People of Knowledge I know have said that as a car is a need, and the govt require you to get car insurance it is allowed for you take the insurance, given that you get the cheapest most basic option.

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like what? the scholars have given exceptions for some cases, for example in the UK you are required to have car insurance. Most People of Knowledge I know have said that as a car is a need, and the govt require you to get car insurance it is allowed for you take the insurance, given that you get the cheapest most basic option.

 

Like credit cards when you have to pay the money back with interest if you don't pay it off on time.

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Like credit cards when you have to pay the money back with interest if you don't pay it off on time.

 

Why would you get a credit card anyway- minus all the interest issue? Those things are like death traps. Just get a debit card and live within your means- if pushed, get a student bank account with an interest-free overdraft when desperate.

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Is that like a qardh hasana?

 

I suppose so.

 

BTW, I was talking to a friend about this the other day, and he was telling me that there are many ways to avoid paying interest on these loans in the United States. If you took out a Government loan (as I did) by Fafsa or whatever it is called, you can end up joining the PeaceCorpse or Americore, in which case, I'm not sure whether it is just the interest or the loan itself that you do not need to pay off. I don't know exactly, and I can ask him if anyone is interested in the specifics, but supposedly there are legal ways around paying off these loans.

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So... I'm planning on trying to pinpoint all the big Muslim businessmen in my town. And also trying to survey how many Muslim students going to university... just so I can try and talk with them about this issue and needing help on repayment etc.

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Why would you get a credit card anyway- minus all the interest issue? Those things are like death traps. Just get a debit card and live within your means- if pushed, get a student bank account with an interest-free overdraft when desperate.

 

I'm talking about Muslims who do have credit cards for whatever reasons... like my parents. It comes in handy a lot of the times. :P

I've always had a debit card so I'm not worried about the interests and spending limits and whatever.

 

I mean, there ARE a handful of Muslims who do have credit cards and sometimes

they can't pay off the bill on time for whatever reason and they have to pay with interest.

Is it still an infraction on their part?

 

Or there are times when you have to take out a loan and have to pay off with interests.

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Knowing my parents, they will tell me that I have to pay it off, and then when the time comes, if I'm not able, they will help me out I guess.

 

Classic!

Masha'Allah.

 

In regards to Jews and interest: I haven't really studied this topic. I guess I've spoken a bit with my former Rabbi about it, but I don't really have a good talmudic understanding. It would be like understanding Qur'an (since I understand the Torah well) without knowing the Hadith and all relevant to the subject.

 

But I guess I know a few relevant verses and laws. The Torah definitely encourages a society where the wealthy help out the poor. It is much of a socialist or welfare sort of society described in the Torah. The Rabbi+Scholar Maimonidies (you may know of him, sometimes also called the Rambam), said that the best form of charity is a loan without interest.

 

Leviticus 25 35-38:

 

 

But in Deuteronomy 23, it allows for usury to be charged upon foreigners:

 

 

 

Most secular or semi-religious Jewish families do not worry about it much. I remember my Rabbi saying that he goes to banks in non-Jewish areas that are not owned by Jews as to ensure that he is not paying interest to a Jew, as both borrowing the money with interest and charging the interest are impermissible. Also, some are of the belief that this law is specifically geared towards individuals and not collectives of people (i.e. corporations, banks, and so on).

 

I also asked my Rabbi this question in 12th grade, as to why non-Jews can be charged interest. I wrote out an answer, but for the sake of not misquoting my Rabbi, I deleted it and will instead copy and paste from www.askmoses.com (basically similar to an online fatwa bank for Judaism):

 

 

Oh yeah, also from what I learned in my Jewish History class, a lot of less traditional Jews naturally threw off the idea of not charging interest in the Middle Ages.

 

Jews were not permitted to work respectable jobs in Europe. So they were given the jobs that tended to be morally looked down upon in Europe such as bankers, tax collectors, and so on. Because Christians didn't charge interest to fellow Christians either, they used Jews to charge interest- hence the stereotype of the 'Jewish banker' exists today. On a side note, the jobs as bankers and money lenders ended up working terribly against the Jews though, because usury was then outlawed in much of Europe, and massive riots broke out against those who had previously collected Usury. So in the 1200's, hundreds of Jews were hanged in London and the rest expelled.

 

So yeah, usury has always been a debated topic in Jewish history. A lot of rabbis also say excessive interest cannot be charged to non-Jews, as economic dealings still must remain ethical, though not 'brotherly,' as with fellow Jews.

 

I know this was kind of all over the place. It turns out that everything I had learned came up just now while writing this. It was a good reminder for me! I had nearly forgot this information and had to google some of it.

 

lol, sorry, I know I tend to write a lot when answering questions like this. But I guess a decent answer requires sufficient information.

 

Ah, thanks so much for this- there are about 3/4 divergent strands and issues that come out of the question of interest here. The answer was never going to be simple- I just wanted to gage whether there is such a kind open taboo or acknowledgement of the 'badness' of interest amongst semi and fully practising Jews as there seems to be for Muslims.

 

So the practice of being allowed to charge non Jews interest runs in the same vein as an older Christian practice where they charged interest only to non Christians? This is such an interesting concept since Islamically- what's bad for one is bad for all. As a premise, the shari'ah is binding on all (whether they chose to follow it or not) hence Muslims not being allowed to charge/lend interest to Muslim/non Muslim alike, not allowed to sell alcohol to Muslim/non Muslim alike, not allowed to sell music to Muslim/non Muslim alike etc.

 

Can you also explain what you mean by less traditional Jews 'throwing off' the idea of not charging interest in the Middle Ages? How does something so fundamental and scriptual get 'thrown off'- is the system like a council of rabbis or some kind of Jewish-equivalent ijtihad?

 

 

 

So... I'm planning on trying to pinpoint all the big Muslim businessmen in my town. And also trying to survey how many Muslim students going to university... just so I can try and talk with them about this issue and needing help on repayment etc.

 

SQUIDDY- THIS IS A GREAT IDEA! May I help you?

 

We can draft letters to these business people and present them with an idea on how they could help struggling Muslim students. The information on the number of Muslim students should be easily available from FOSIS or even the last census data (and trust there are tons of Muslims at uni).

 

What were you thinking of pitching to them- if anything at all? Starting some kind of sponsorship? Or settling interest-ridden debts and setting up interest-free repayments between the student and them?

 

 

 

I'm talking about Muslims who do have credit cards for whatever reasons... like my parents. It comes in handy a lot of the times. :P

 

That's just the point sis, if you read up on the severity of interest and what a grave, grave sin it is- you would avoid it like the plague and definitely not take our credit cards just because they come in handy. You have to be honest with yourself about what your line of 'need' actually is- getting a store card with Dorothy Perkins or buying a car you will be paying off over 10 years (with interest) isn't a necessity. And though it comes in useful, it involves you indulging in some maaaajor haram. I still think the best option is living within your means as much as is humanly possible.

 

I mean, there ARE a handful of Muslims who do have credit cards and sometimes

they can't pay off the bill on time for whatever reason and they have to pay with interest.

Is it still an infraction on their part?

 

Then why did they buy things they couldn't pay for? Knowing it would incur interest? Major infraction.

 

Or there are times when you have to take out a loan and have to pay off with interests.

 

Interest-free loans do exist. And though the Islamic banking sector is in it's infancy (and riddled with a million problems of it's own)- that's one possible alternative also. I think anybody taking out an interest-breaking loan should speak to someone learned (in religion AND economics) presenting them their situation and see what kind of restrictions/allowances may or may not apply.

 

My point basically is that interest-bearing loans, debts and credit cards etc seem to have become SO normalised that it seems radical to take clear steps to avoid it- or at least be concerned about freeing yourself from it ASAP.

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That's just the point sis, if you read up on the severity of interest and what a grave, grave sin it is- you would avoid it like the plague and definitely not take our credit cards just because they come in handy. You have to be honest with yourself about what your line of 'need' actually is- getting a store card with Dorothy Perkins or buying a car you will be paying off over 10 years (with interest) isn't a necessity. And though it comes in useful, it involves you indulging in some maaaajor haram. I still think the best option is living within your means as much as is humanly possible.

 

Interest-free loans do exist. And though the Islamic banking sector is in it's infancy (and riddled with a million problems of it's own)- that's one possible alternative also. I think anybody taking out an interest-breaking loan should speak to someone learned (in religion AND economics) presenting them their situation and see what kind of restrictions/allowances may or may not apply.

 

My point basically is that interest-bearing loans, debts and credit cards etc seem to have become SO normalised that it seems radical to take clear steps to avoid it- or at least be concerned about freeing yourself from it ASAP.

 

Zimarina: Yah you're right. Although it is very useful majority of the times, I do have to say that Alhamdulillah he is able to pay off the credit card charges and other bills on time; he's really good at managing that. He knows his line of spending and managing finance.

 

Then why did they buy things they couldn't pay for? Knowing it would incur interest? Major infraction.

I suppose most of the times people don't think about the fact that they would actually have to pay it off at some point... The card acts like some sort of a "I can totally afford this with this card" mentality.

 

See, I didn't know that there was such a thing as interest-free loans. Did learn something new now.

I also thought it was only wrong to charge interest. Thank you for answering the questions and explaining. :)

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Musa: You filed the FAFSA thing, right? I didn't know we could take out loans through them.

 

PS: I know a bunch of Saudi guys who are in private boarding schools and University cuz their fathers work for Aramco and the company pays for their tuition so they basically have a full ride education + travel expenses paid. Fortunate, huh?

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Oh, Zimarina, I was thinking of concentrating more on Peterborough right now. =/ But you're more than welcome to help me! And ergh, I'm not a fan of FOSIS ever since their 'election' recently, but yes, I'd love to see census information.

 

PM me because I was thinking about appealing to all of the local masjids in my city in the Jumu'ah prayers. I'll try to write something up insha'Allah.

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