Usury (2:275 – 2:281)

                                                  Usury Prohibited*
[2:275] Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil’s influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, GOD permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with GOD. As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever.
[2:276] GOD condemns usury, and blesses charities. GOD dislikes every disbeliever, guilty.

                                                 Divine Guarantee
[2:277] Those who believe and lead a righteous life, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), they receive their recompense from their Lord; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[2:278] O you who believe, you shall observe GOD and refrain from all kinds of usury, if you are believers.
*2:275-278 It is an established economic principle that excessive interest on loans can utterly destroy a whole country. During the last few years we have witnessed the devastation of the economies of many nations where excessive interest is charged. Normal interest – less than 20% – where no one is victimized and everyone is satisfied, is not usury.

[2:279] If you do not, then expect a war from GOD and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capitals, without inflicting injustice, or incurring injustice.
[2:280] If the debtor is unable to pay, wait for a better time. If you give up the loan as a charity, it would be better for you, if you only knew.
[2:281] Beware of the day when you are returned to GOD, and every soul is paid for everything it had done, without the least injustice.

Any loan we give should be to help the person out, not to profit from because if the person cannot pay back the loan you should give up the loan according to 2:280. Alternatively, a loan given to someone who is in need because of a sudden expense is different than someone who is taking a loan for a business expansion. This shows that the motive for profit should vary dependent on the kind of loan.

Day of Jubilee
In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. In the Bible, Leviticus 25:8-13
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_%28Christianity%29

Does taking interest from a bank constitute usury?

No, as long as no one is victimized in the transaction. The bank is making profits from the money you keep in the bank and they are returning a portion of that profit back to the lenders as a form of interest. 

Who is at fault when you get into credit card debt and being subject to 15% – 30% interest rate?

If someone is burdened by sudden expense and is in dire need of money and only has the option of taking on credit card debt is different than someone who is spending beyond their means. If the person is forced into a high interest loan then they are the victim. If the person does have a choice and chooses to spend do beyond their means then they are responsible . Many credit cards entice consumers with their promises of 0% interest rates and trick individuals into their system only to be caught in the fine print.

John Oliver – Payday Loan – Predatory Lending
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDylgzybWAw

Usury – Bill Mahr
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLZXe90etL4

Euvoluntary Exchange – Charlie Munger
When is a transaction no longer voluntary?
http://people.duke.edu/~munger/euvol.pdf
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/06/munger_on_excha.html

Additional verses on usury in the Bible:
Psalms 15:5
He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. 

Leviticus 25:35 – 37
“ ‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. 38I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

Deuteronomy 23:19 – 20
Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.

Ezekiel 18:8
if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man,

Luke 6:34 – 36
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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