Court hearing on Riba-free banking in Pakistan State Bank of Pakistan

Court hearing on Riba-free banking in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Shariat Court on Monday continued hearing on the case of Riba in the country.

The full bench of the court comprising of Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai Chief Justice, Justice Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwar and Justice Khadim Hussain M. Shaikh, in exercise of power under Article 203-D of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan continued hearing of the Riba case.

Dr. Waqar Masud Ex. Secretary Finance Government of Pakistan, after detail arguments, suggested two years for conversion of the existing banking system into Riba free Islamic Banking system.

Dr. Ijaz Ahmad Samadani, Chairman Shariah Board Maldives Islamic Bank, appeared before the Court and argued that gradual conversion of the existing system into Islamic one is possible.

Dr Atiqul Zafar jurisconsult on the previous date of hearing had suggested that five years is sufficient for conversion of the existing system.

Shahzad Shaukat, a chartered accountant continued his arguments on the Islamic Economic System. The next hearing will be at Karachi Bench Registry in Sindh High Court Building Karachi on March 25, 2022.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) defines Riba as:

The word “Riba” means excess, increase or addition, which correctly interpreted according to Shariah terminology, implies any excess compensation without due consideration (consideration does not include time value of money). This definition of Riba is derived from the Quran and is unanimously accepted by all Islamic scholars.

The meaning of Riba has been clarified in the following verses of Quran (Surah Al Baqarah 2:278-9)

“O those who believe; fear Allah and give up what still remains of the Riba if you are believers. But if you do not do so, then be warned of war from Allah and His Messenger. If you repent even now, you have the right of the return of your principal; neither will you do wrong nor will you be wronged.”

The origination of term interest dates back to 17th century with the emergence of banking system at global level. Interest means giving and/or taking of any excess amount in exchange of a loan or on debt. Hence, it carries the same meaning/value as that of Riba as defined in the previous question. Further, it is narrated that “the loan that draws interest is Riba”.

There is consensus among the Muslim scholars of all the fiqhs that interest is Riba in all its forms and manifestations.

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