Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle
What is meant by the “war” declared against those who deal in interest?
Thank you for your important question.
Allah Most High says, ‘O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.’ (Qur’an, 2: 278-9)
The “war” referered to in the verse is neither a literal war, nor a fixed Sharia punishment (hadd). Rather it is a threat of punishment in the Next Life.
Some have said that it could literally be a war in that a Muslim ruler could use his temporal powers (police/imprisonment etc.) to physically close banks that deal in interest in a Muslim country. (Al Jami li Ahkam al Qur’an, Qurtubi; Tafsir Abu Al Saud, Abu Al Saud)
Ibn Abbas said that on the Day of Rising, those who dealt in interest will be told to pick up their weapons and get ready to fight Allah Himself. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
Given that no one could possibly be a match for Allah, it shows how futile any attempt would be defend themselves from a punishment for Allah that would come down upon them like the blows of someone literally at war with them. Allah be our refuge!
And Allah knows best.
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.