Comparative Financial Systems in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: The Case of Interest

36 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2012 Last revised: 22 Sep 2012

See all articles by Natalie Schoon

Natalie Schoon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Julinda Nuri

Royal Holloway University of London

Date Written: June 1, 2012

Abstract

In today’s discussions the prohibition of interest, based in Shari’a law, is seen as solely an Islamic finance phenomenon and often advocated as a new way of providing financial services. It is important to recognise that the principles underpinning Shari’a are largely similar to those preached and practised by Judaism and Christianity as well as other religions. Both Judaism and Christianity have, for example, banned the receipt and payment of interest for a significant period of time, albeit that each had a slightly different interpretation on the permissibility of lending at interest.

Although there is evidence about the existence of prohibitions on interest in other religions such as, for example, Buddhism, the focus of this paper is on the prohibition of interest in the three religions that are generally referred to as the Abrahamic or monotheistic faiths; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the way in which the prohibitions entered into law and the impact on the availability of financial transactions that were executed despite the restrictions. The paper provides an insight into the way in which opinions regarding the permissibility of interest has changed over time.

Keywords: Interest, Financial Sustems, Shari'a, Judaism, Christinity

JEL Classification: N00, M10

Suggested Citation

Schoon, Natalie and Nuri, Julinda, Comparative Financial Systems in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: The Case of Interest (June 1, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2126503 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2126503

Natalie Schoon

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Julinda Nuri (Contact Author)

Royal Holloway University of London ( email )

United Kingdom

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