Thursday, March 20, 2008

Movies This Week & What's Usury?

Update (21st March):

Since Rotten Tomatoes only had 2 reviews of this movie (both fresh), I decided to go check it out for myself. And I'm glad I did, so I can review it for you with my own experience.
Result: It's a damn good creature movie! If you loved the old Jaws (part1, none of the other ones) then you'll like this one. It stays true to the ways of creature movies while still trying to be smart and surprising, which ends up being truly mesmerizing and scary. It uses actors that are not superstars, which makes it less distracting and easier to think of them as normal people, and therefor relate to them more and be more scared for their safety. The low-key nature of the film made me enjoy it all the better.
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Ok here's what's new this week in Kuwait from Cinescape:



Horton Hears a Who!: Rotten Tomatoes rating 80% out of 104 reviews.
The lovely kids story comes to the cinema screen with Jim Carrey's voice on top. And with such a high rating it's bound to be atleast Entertaining as heck.
(Take your younger sibling and Go!)



The Spiderwick Chronicles: Rotten Tomatoes rating 80% as well!
OMG! 2 movies over 75% in 1 week from KNCC? mdal3enna 7ail sara7a.
oh wait, they're both kids movies, so it's ok.
(Take both your younger sibling and the 2nd younger too!)
o 3ayed ya s3ayed

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So.. What's Usury?

That's what I set out to find out last week. I first heard of the term while watching "The Merchant of Venice" when a boat full of christians passes under a bridge in the Jewish ghetto and one of them yells up at the Jews:
"Userer!!"

Then again last week I looked up "interest" in Wikipedea and in the end one of the "See Also" links was "Usury". So I followed the link.

To put it shortly, it means what we muslims know as Reba.

So I'm highly intrigued because I've always been curious about this specific Sin. Why? well because as far as I've seen, the similarities between the main 3 Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) were always clear and prevalent:

- We stone adulterers, but Jews stoned adulterers way before we did.
- Muslim women wear 7ejab, Jewish women (the orthodox old ladies atleast) wear hear pieces to cover their "real" hair. One jewish friend told me its a religious thing. His grandmother and old aunts have to cover their hair so they get fake hair. (typical law dodging in my opinion, just like the story of beni Israel who set up their fish nets on Friday and collected the fish on Sunday so they could circumvent the law that they shouldn't catch the fish on Saturday) ilmohem.
- Irrasool tells muslim men to let go their beards, and so do Jewish men are also directed to have beards.

and on and on.. the similarities in the laws of 7aram and 7alal are very similar between us muslims and jews. My only guess explanation of why the similarities are not shared with christianity to that level is, I think that Jesus came to "lift" some of the restrictions that were on the Jews, and not to replace the religion entirely. So Judaism survives with lots and lots of Do's and Don'ts, while Christianity is a more spiritual message in general that complements what the Jews had at the time.

But anyway, I was always curious why is Reba such a grave sin in Islam, but modern day Christians and Jews do it freely. This was my ignorance I was bound to discover. For in that simple Wiki page, it shows passages from the Old Testament (Torah) as well as from the New Testament (Enjeel, well atleast what survived untouched from them). Passages that clearly condemn Usury and very clearly: Interest

If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest. Exodus 22:24

The list of passages goes long and as I read and read, it was very clear that even among normal people and the common culture it IS considered a grave sin. In Dante's Divine Comedy for example he describes the Userers as being in a level of Hell so low its even bellow the suiciders (the gravest of sins according to all the 3 faiths) in the 7th and lowest circle.

I'm not writing this post to preach how bad Riba is by evidence of old religions and history. I'm writing it because for the longest time when I discuss Riba with some ignorant muslims who deal with Riba on a daily basis, they argue with me as if Islam came with something new and alien to human nature. That charging interest is a necessity for the modern economy. I will discuss that in a future post inshalla. But evidently the issue is ALOT older than Irrasool Mo7ammad PBUH. How could he have known the history of it all?

The first time it became legal was in the time of Henry the 8th (ilmaynoon) who instead of divorcing his wives (because it was 7aram), he beheaded them (ya3ne killing them is better yal Ahbal??). He was the 1st to legalize it, against the huge protest of the churches of the time.

Even to this day, alot of the current "interest rate" laws are rooted in a "moral" foundation. In the state of New York, if you give a loan to someone with an interest rate higher than the Federally approved rate at the time, the borrower can sue you and the loan would be void and illegal and he won't have to pay you a cent. Which is why loan-sharks don't depend on the law to collect but on the threat of breaking your legs. i.e. Muscle.

So my question is, does any of this shock you guys? wella bs ana was too naiive and ignorant about history?

And do you think that interest is fine? and if you do, what's your definition of the 7aram interest?

6 comments:

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falantan said...

I hate robot programs like this one >.<

Yara said...

Wow GREAT findings i love this! i didnt know it was 7ram as well in other religions long before islam.. I recently changed banks to an islamic bank coz i was scared of riba, some ppl say even islamic banks are doing riba, bas at least its 3ala thimat-hom and not mine.. bas great post e9ara7a definitley gonna bring this up at yam3at el ahal :P

Amethyst said...

I knew about reba in other religions, and I do think it's 7aram.

Henry VIII is one of my favorite historical figures:)

falantan said...

yara: thanks I'm really glad you found it useful. And as for islamic banks, that needs a more thotough explanation, so I'll keep that for the other post inshalla, bs I hope it doesn't get too technical to be interesting for the readers.

amethyst: funny thing is, religious Jews only allow themselves to do interest loans with NON-jews because their book says: "..My people..". so they feel that doing it with other people is 7alal. their whole religion is racial.