Yasir Qadhi's Library Talk about Riba

Assalaamu Alykum Zoyans

This has been making the rounds in the Zoya team slack. I wanted to share it here in case anyone hasn’t had a chance to listen to it yet.

Some cool notes for me were the understanding of the different kinds of Riba, an understanding of what the markets were like back then compared to now, and how early scholars understood the fiqh during their times.


What if a presenter started with a lens that Islam is a better model than the western banking system, how would this change the analysis and conclusions?

A glaring omission was the impact on the Ummah from inequity in wealth distribution to enslavement to debt.

The question that needs to be answered, is the presented definition of Riba in the Quran correct. Opinions from Scholars not vested in the banking system would prove useful in evaluating the accuracy of the presentation.

My hesitation with this presentation in part lies with the fact that the presenter sits as an Advisor on a pro-zionist Islamic finance company.

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Yes! Exactly! I was really hoping to hear from you on this hehe.

I was wondering about an “Islamic economy” as an alternative to the western banking system as well. The speaker here is really about how Muslims would live within the current economy and not about moving past it into what we hope would be something without compromises.

I’ve given the speakers’ Linkedin and university profiles a quick look, and I wasn’t able to find the role you’re mentioning here.


That’s a bit naive of the regulatory consideration of living in the west. And you’re talking of a theoretical non existent country.

Starting a credit union is a no-brainer until you look at the regs. Not impossible maybe something one of the mega community in North America could do. It’s a great idea, potentially super profitable and enables community development


Hey @Rshareef could you elaborate on what is naive? Just trying to follow along.

Really like the shout about a credit union. Would definitely need some big movers behind it.

No such thing as Islamic economy or theoretical Islamic state. It’s an idea that I may argue hasn’t existed since maybe 680 AD

If you’re not worried about Quranic RIBA as dr Fadel outlined you have options and opportunities that are not insurmountable. Federal funding, the launchgood model

I just checked. Chris has raised 300 million. alhamdulillah our lives are not based on payday loans and credit cards. It’s a reality for a ton of Muslims. Solution for the masses are what we should think about including Muslim.

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Thanks for helping me along. Yeah, it’s definitely naive. I wasn’t referring to an existing system or country right now, but the idea of what we can have in the future. Just blind hope, maybe.

I’m not sure I’m on board with the outcomes of Dr. Fadel’s logic, but I was glad to hear the discussion. I guess my critique is that it’s more about getting by with what’s in front of us instead of fighting back. If anyone else has other resources where they discuss their positions this thoroughly, please share them.

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To ignore what’s in front of you is suboptimal to put it charitably. Can’t look at the world as a binary. I’m not a mufti but I’d argue that the model we follow used both. Dr Fadel brilliantly explained why the average Muslim looks at Islam finance and concludes it’s the same as Bank of America. I’m in that boat but still have a mortgage from the big player in that space.

The average Muslim is not wrong. But the big players in the mortgage industry don’t charge late fees ie quranic riba. They violate a lot of sunnah riba rules. Based on need sunnah riba rules we’re relaxed even by Prophet Muhammad SAW. Don’t throw out everything context makes the text and ruling for a mufti. I am not that Mufti. I loved his talk.

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I’ll be honest. The marketing of that industry pisses me off. Look at the big player in that space. They claim 100% riba free. The sharia board knows what they means and further define that they don’t charge late fees. They follow that up and talk to the average North American Muslim like that is at best dishonest and at worse Allahalim. Who is their audience and customers wealth educated Muslims.

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Scroll to bottome of page: https://www.manzil.ca/about-us

For pro-ziionist position of Islamic fintech:

As to the issues that could cause friction, such as the conflict in the Middle East, Kirshen said, “It’s not a defining piece of our relationship. We can agree to disagree.”

As to the reception among potential clients of having a Jew playing a prominent role in the company, Sawwaf said, “I tell Chayim that if there’s push back, I don’t want them as clients.”

Thanks for sharing! I didn’t know about this.

Who is Dr. Fadel who finds himself as a guest of Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi & an advisor to Muslim FinTech Manzil.ca ?

It’s easy being an armchair critic, while Muslim leaders out there are stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place, being called stealth jihadist etc. by anti-Muslim groups and also attacked by people like him.

That was a weak ad-hominem attack on Dr. Fadel. I read what he wrote there in that video, even though I wouldn’t normally waste my time on such videos, and I didn’t see anything to make me question his sincerity or integrity.

I for one appreciate Sh. Qadhi having that discussion. I wasn’t aware of Dr. Fadel before seeing that YouTube video. I just found and read this paper today that goes in more detail and helped understand some points of view mentioned in the video:

RIBA, Efficiency, And Prudential Regulation: Preliminary Thoughts https://wilj.law.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1270/2012/02/fadel.pdf

This builds upon something I had read a long time ago from Dr. El-Gamal: Limits and Dangers of Shari‘a Arbitrage

I’m still not convinced it’s blameless to take out a conventional mortgage, but I wouldn’t fault someone that does it if they checked out purportedly halal options and found them to charge more for essentially the same thing.


Yeah agree.

One MAJOR issue with islamic finance is the structure of the shariah advisor/board being PAID by the company selling the financial product.

It’s a bit like a halal butcher paying an individual scholar for a halal certificate…there is a clear issue with that kind of arrangement that will damage development of islamic finance.

And yes I’m critical of the scholars on this point - there was no requirement to run it this way - they can easily specify a different way today and change the system. e.g. have a totally independent group who properly audit, opine and sign off of islamic financial products.

Sharia advisors being paid by the companies they audit definitely can be an issue. On the flip side, it’s hard to imagine how you could have a completely independent entity that has absolutely no perceived or real conflict of interest when it involves paid work. It’s a very fundamental issue for Muslims and non Muslims alike, across government, private, and religious regulations.

There are councils that are purely volunteers, but there might be an issue getting a timely or any review because they don’t have the resources as they are all working on a volunteer basis. If they are funded, then there is a risk of influence based on who is managing that funds, the same way as large donors to universities can exert pressure against professors that do research that conflict with their interests.

In the US there was this fatwa AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee resolution about Islamic Home Financing Companies in the US. | AMJA Online

Not surprisingly they found issues with many of those companies that all supposedly got certified to be halal, except for one and that one is the only one that doesn’t get its money from Fannie Mae to buy homes as conventional banks do.

Not sure about what happens in the US, but in the UK there are a number of independent organisations that audit halal butchers. One organisation is ok with stunning, the other is not, so people who care know which certificate they are looking for. If we can do it for halal meat, we can definitely do it for Islamic finance.

For example, let’s say AAOIFI (or another group of scholars) said they would issue a certificate for a fixed fee to provide a certificate that a product meets their principles. There you go. That’s pretty much all you need.

People trust AAOIFI…they could start this tomorrow.