This article discusses the meaning of riba according to the opinions upheld by both the majority as well as minority of Islamic scholars. Although Islamic scholars are in agreement about the prohibition of riba, they do differ with regard to its meaning. This divergence of opinions translates into such questions as whether the interest charged and paid by today's conventional banks is riba. While the majority of Islamic scholars are of the opinion that current bank interest is riba, a small but convincing minority of scholars do not consider bank interest to be riba. The need for Islamic banks arises from the majority's interpretation of riba. This article also evaluates the most popular products provided by Islamic banks and the validity of hiyal (pl. of Hilah) involved in adopting them.
- Islamic bank
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