Editorial - Live Snakes in Our Bellies

             Year after year, in the month of Rajab, the Me’raaj (the night journey to the seven heavens and beyond) of Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam is remembered globally. And whilst we wallow in the glory of learning how esteemed an Ummah we are and of the gifts that we were endowed with on this special night, shouldn’t we also be recoiling in terror at the warnings that were issued on this night?             Among the punishments that were witnessed by Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam on this night was the lot of those who engaged in interest bearing transactions.Hadrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Rasulullaah Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam said, “On the night of Me’raaj, I passed by people with bellies as huge as houses (in which people reside), and inside their bellies were snakes which were visivle from the outside. I asked Jibraeel Alaihis salaam who they were. He replied that they were those who consumed interest (usury).” (Mishkaatul Masaabeeh) INTEREST-ED? Read on ……It may just pay off if you picture this scenario:You are holding a highly paid, job or for that matter, running a lucrative and flourishing business, living a life of no want, seated behind the steering wheel of a top of the range, latest model luxurious German sedan, living in a palatial and exquisitely furnished home in a plush area. Your family enjoys a lifestyle of sheer opulence and luxury. In a nutshell, you have the perfect life and are able to fulfil your every dream and desire. All this – with the compliments of your bank.And then ……. In a flash!Your once perfect job or business is no longer the one you were accustomed to. Things are no longer as rosy as they were before. Before you know it, your monthly payments are in arrears. Letters upon letters of demand are all that you seem to be faced with every time you open your mailbox. It’s not long thereafter when you realize that present circumstances demand a downgrade of your luxurious lifestyle. You begin by selling your luxurious car for a song and then the palatial home. Your beloved family is now thrown into a very different world- a life of frugality. No more eating out, no more name branded and designer clothing. No more it’s “I get what I want” but now it’s “I take what I get”. You yourself are reduced to a total wreck. Sleepless nights have become your lot in life. You go to work as if you are packed and ready for a vacation- a full set of baggage under your eyes of course. You are now being hounded by creditors, all ruthlessly demanding payment. In last minute desperation, you muster what little courage you have and knock on the doors of family and friends hoping for a delivery from your miserable plight. Alas, they all seem to have vanished into thin air. You now stand all alone, drowning in your own misery. You begin selling what little belongings you have managed to save knowing well that only a very small fraction of your colossal debts will be settled. In the end, you’re left with nothing for even your wife has forsaken the marital home taking along with her your kids- absolutely nothing! A thick black cloud of doom hangs over your head and you say to yourself that life is a misery! Not worth living!Respected reader, this is not some far-fetched scenario nor is it some fictitious narrative. It is the sinister workings of interest. Many a man today can relate to this scenario perfectly and furthermore could have steered clear of this misery had the warning of Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam been heeded. More than 1400 years ago Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam, who came as a mercy unto mankind, had warned his beloved Ummah that those who indulged in interest, would sooner or later, lose everything to this callous and monstrous capitalistic system. This system of interest is not only the cause of untold misery and grief in this world, but it also warrants the severest chastisement of Allah Ta’aala on the Day of Qiyaamah. ADVICEAllah Ta’aala in all His wisdom has chalked out a beautiful way of life for the masterpiece of His creation, Insaan. The dictates or regulations of this lifestyle are expounded in the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth of Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam and are meant to bring nothing but goodness and well-being in one’s life. Adherence to these laws will only bring about peace, love and a life of quality and meaning, and ultimately one that is pleasing to Allah Ta’aala and His Rasul Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam. Non-adherence to these, on the other hand, will only spell misfortune, misery and a life of wretchedness both in this world and the Hereafter. Abstention from interest is one of the many orders of Allah Ta’aala and his beloved Rasul Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam.Our advice to anyone who is involved in interest in any form is:1) Make sincere tawbah and resolve never to indulge in these accursed transactions ever again. 2) Make immediate arrangements, if possible, to settle all debts, wherein interest features.3) If the above (No:2) is not possible, then endeavour to increase payment on your monthly instalments (more than the minimum stipulated) so as to minimize the interest and settle the debt faster.4) Live within your means. Buy what you need and not what you want. Life will become more pleasurable and contentment will be your constant companion.And remember: Allah Ta’aala decreases interest and increases Sadaqah.Every person should take all necessary precautions in their financial dealings. If a person is neglectful in keeping a watchful eye on his financial dealings, this negligence will slowly spread to other aspects of his Deen thereby having a detrimental effect on his whole spirituality.We ask you our dear reader, is it really worth destroying the eternal life of the hereafter, just so that we may have a few more comforts in a life that can come to an abrupt end at any moment?Allah Ta’aala Himself has issued an ultimatum of war against those who indulge in interest?Are you prepared to take up arms against Allah Ta’aala and His Beloved Rasul Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam on the Day of Qiyaamah? In conclusion we ask of Allah Ta’aala to protect us from practices that are displeasing to Him and His beloved Rasul Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam and guide us to what is correct and right in all our dealings and matters. Aameen