President Bola Ahmed Tinubu offered some palliatives in his address to the nation yesterday, 31st July, 2023. Among the palliatives were interest loans of about N75b at 9% interest, N500,000 loan to N1 million at 9% and another N100 billion transportation loan also at 9%. However, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has requested for soft loans for Nigerian Muslims instead of interest loans.
In a statement circulated among journalists on Tuesday, 1st August, 2023 by the group’s Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the group explained that it is haram (forbidden) for Muslims to receive or give interest on loans.
Akintola spoke further :
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu offered some palliatives in his address to the nation yesterday, 31st July, 2023. Among the palliatives were interest loans of about N75b at 9% interest, N500,000 to N1 million loan at 9% and another N100 billion transportation loan also at 9%.
“We appreciate the concern of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Nigerians particular in these difficult times. The offer of loans to cushion the effect of the withdrawal of oil subsidy shows that the president cares about the citizenry.
“However, Nigerian Muslims cannot and will not take interest loans as the latter is capable of constituting a wedge between Nigerian Muslims and their Creator (Almighty Allah). We prefer the everlasting peace of al-akhirah (the Hereafter) to the material gains of this world.
“Interest is haram and Allah explicitly forbids it when He said, “Oh you who believe, fear Allah and give up that interest which is still due to you, if you are true believers. But if you do not desist, then you are warned of the declaration of war against you by Allah and His Messenger….” (Glorious Qur’an 2:278—279).
“The interest loan being offered by President Tinubu cannot benefit Muslims in this country. We therefore suggest that the Federal Government (FG) should arrange soft loans for the Muslim population in particular and any other citizens who may desire it.
“One of the problems with Nigeria is that the system bequeathed to us by the colonial master is not Islam-compliant. It therefore conflicts very often with the Islamic way of life. This is why FG needs to prepare alternatives for Muslims who are more than 130 million in the country in the name of fairness, equity and justice.
“We reiterate that interest loan is haram and Muslims will not touch it with a long pole. FG should therefore expedite action on introducing Islam-compliant palliatives such that it is made available for Muslims at the same time that interest loans are accessible to others because hunger is spreading fast among the populace as prices sky-rocket daily.
“We advise FG to consult Islamic scholars regularly, particularly on policy issues in order not to cause misunderstanding between the government and Nigerian Muslims. We also suggest that an expert in Islamic finance should be a member of the National Economic Council (NEC).”