Now, banks are business companies. We do not say they are paying interest. No. Interest is when I give to a poor person ninety pounds and write down £100 and ask him to bring one year later £100. That £10 which I am taking from him is RIBA (interest) and prohibited, haram.

But banks are saying - this is your right, it is for you from your money; we have earned, doing business, making money and we give you some of it. Therefore, we can't say that this is interest in the same way as charging poor people, or that it is riba in the same way as - I am giving you one hundred pounds of wheat and asking you to give me next year one hundred and ten - that ten is riba and prohibited. Yet if I give you one hundred pounds of wheat and say next year you should give me two hundred pounds of barley - this is not riba, because they are of equal value. In this way, what we are doing with banks is only business. This business is not the riba mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. Riba harms poor people, relationships and everything, therefore it is prohibited, as it makes enmity and bad feeling between people.

Nowadays all people deal with banks, because it is obligatory in their societies. Without banks they are unable to deal. Nowadays, everyone deals with banks. Because money is bank notes, it belongs to the banks. Turkish pounds, English pounds, French francs, German marks, Japanese yen, American dollars - all are the notes of banks, so that everyone directly or indirectly, is involved with banks. Therefore, we are not saying RIBA is for banks, because everyone is responsible. You can't say that. When Islamic dealing is done with money, we may say to our bank, we will be partners with you and really we are partners in the same company - customers. We may make a condition - if you gain we will be partners with you and if you lose we are also partners.

Islam says about companies - if we are in business, we must share equally in profit or loss. So, when we say to the bank that we are partners - really, if the bank loses, we will lose our money too. So, no fear - this money I am giving to you for investment; when we make a profit, give me and I accept; if we lose I will ask nothing and this is all right.

Question - What about Islamic Banking?

Answer - Now, new-fashioned banks - named Islamic banks are built but as long as they are banks, they are the same as the others. Islamic banks do something a little bit different but only the name is Islamic. They deal with other banks also, they do not cut their relationship with other banks. No. They deal with world banks and on the same lines. What is halal for them must be halal for other banks, what is haram for them must be haram for other banks.

As long as they give something to people as benefit from their money - one gives, the other gives; this one gives money to merchants, that one gives money to merchants and companies and industry. Both of them (Islamic and non-Islamic) invest the money. They don't keep it in boxes in the bank. As long as they are making money in business They are the same as other banks. What is the difference? Islamic banks, are they bringing profits from the moon or from the sun or from Mars? From where are they bringing profits? Will they tell me? No! The same as other banks - they do the same. It is all right if that is a way to invest people's money.

Other banks will give me a loan and take 15% or 20%. No bank will allow you a loan without taking a share. We know that all banks are big business establishments owning factories, companies and taking from £100 of ours and making more money than this. So many times they change that £100 in one year, taking perhaps £1,000 and giving you 7% - 8% and we say it is haram!! No-one in these gigantic banks gives people loans. They are all huge companies. You can't imagine what they are involved in, how they do it.

Our Islamic banks - what are they doing? Giving loans to people by taking money from us and giving it directly to them? No. They use money in the same way as other banks use it.

Question - Should Muslims borrow money from banks to use in their business?

Answer - Another thing, Islamic banks give people loans, with a condition. They say - we are giving this loan not as a loan, but to become partners in your business; I am giving you £1,000 - you do the work and the profits will be shared between us.

A real Islamic banking loan system should not be to take profit from that person. It should be, I am giving you a loan and you are free to invest the money and are only responsible to return the same amount. What profit you make is yours alone, not to have a partner in the bank. It should be a company established between you and me - labour is yours and I will put up the capital. What is profit will be halved between us, so that you are not carrying the responsibility of the money. I will carry it. You give me your work and I will put up the money. Like a field - I give seed and you plough and plant. When you plant a field, I give the seed and you give your work. When the wheat comes, there will be half for you and half for me. If nothing grows, then nothing for you and nothing for me.

But now, the Islamic bank is giving you money and asking what is the profit and then taking half. Perhaps that is more than an ordinary bank is asking for a loan. Ordinary banks may only ask fifteen, twenty, twenty-five percent, but by giving half of your total profit to an Islamic bank they may end up with more than fifty percent on the loan.

Therefore, there is more than one way to look at Islamic banking. We could speak on this a lot more.

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