Usury Crime in Law and Sharia
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UAE Penal Code Crimes | Usury

Usury Crime in Law and Sharia

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Usury Crime in Law and Sharia

We receive many questions at our office, Mohamed Al Marzooqi Advocates & Consultancy, in different names and forms, but they do not go beyond the crime of usury. As this subject is important and serious, we will clarify the financial dealing of usury and its legal position.
All codes prohibit usury as it shreds bonds of affection and solidarity in the community, and as it is based on exploiting people means the usurer exploits the debtor. Surat Al-Baqarah (verse 275) says: “Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allah. But whoever returns to [dealing in interest or usury]- those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.”
Islam prohibits usury as the usurer devours people’s wealth unjustly and takes their money without a consideration. The usurer exploits the poor and the needy by duplicating their debts, through this unjust dealing, when they cannot pay their debts to the usurer. Usury prevents good deeds among people. Dealing with usury makes the usurer finds it easy to collect money in this way and deprives the community from movement of money he hoards, which if he invests in a trade or an industry, it will be a great benefit for the whole community.
The Emirati legal position is consistent with the Islamic Sharia. The legislator condemned usury and menaced its dealers with punishment under Article 409 of the Federal Penal Code number 7 of 2016:
Punishment by detention for at least one year and by a fine of at least fifty thousand dirham shall be applied to any natural person who deals with another natural person by usury interest in any kind of civil or commercial transaction, including any express or latent condition that involves usury interest. Latent interest shall include any commission or benefit stipulated by a creditor, if such a commission or benefit has no corresponding real legal benefit or service provided by the creditor as a consideration.
A principal debt and implied interest may be proved by all means available.
If a culprit exploits the need, weakness or whimsical desire of a debtor to commit the crime stated in this Article, it shall be considered an aggravating circumstance.

The following is clear from the article provision:
• The legislator made dealing with credit usury a crime and its punishment is imprisonment for a period not less than a year, and a fine not less than fifty thousand dirham, condemning both parties of the usury dealing; the usurer and the other person borrows money from him by usury.
• The credit usury is the original usury before Islam. When the time agreed upon by the two parties for paying the debt is due, the usurer asks the debtor; “will you pay or increase the amount? If he does not pay, the amount will be doubled for the debtor. The credit usury is different from the excess usury which was more common in the past. The excess usury is to sell an object for another object with increase of one of them than the other, for example to sell a measurement of wheat for two measurements of another type of wheat, or a pound of Shami honey for a pound and a half of Hejazi honey, and so on for all measurements and weights.
• The crime of usury includes any condition provided in the agreement that includes an express or latent usury interest.
• Any commission stipulated by the creditor without any corresponding real legal benefit or service provided by the creditor as a consideration is considered a latent interest, and accordingly it is considered usury.
• The usurer exploiting the need, weakness or whimsical desire of a debtor is considered an aggravating circumstance.
Law determines a sanction for the usurer who lends people with interest, provided in Article 412 which states that:
“Every person who habitually gives usurious loans shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years and a fine not less than one hundred thousand dirham”
It is normal that Sharia and law take this attitude against usury which stands on exploiting some individuals by other individuals in the community, and cancels virtue, and raises grudges and hostilities, and accordingly threatens safety and balance of the community.

Attorney/ Mohamed Al Marzooqi
Mohamed Al Marzooqi Advocates & Consultancy
Lawyer in Abu Dhabi, Dubai – UAE

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