Should fundamentalists use cooking oil?

There’s a question I’d like to ask Tableeghis and other fundamentalists who think bank interest is forbidden (“haram”). The cooking oil which we use is made from imported palm oil, for which we pay in dollars. And it’s the World Bank and IMF who provide us with the dollars we need to import palm oil. And of course we have to pay interest on the loans we take from the World Bank and the IMF.

Since we are paying interest (even though it’s at a low rate) to buy the palm oil needed to make cooking oil, shouldn’t our tableeghis and people like them stop buying the cooking oil? Why shouldn’t they cook their food in water? How can they continue supporting something which is “haram”? Any answers?


18 thoughts on “Should fundamentalists use cooking oil?”

  1. So-called Islamic banks actually charge more than conventional banks. In Pakistan, the newspapers are full of notices to bank defaulters to clear their dues (sometimes as little as five hundred thousand rupees). Most Pakistanis borrow from banks without intending to return the loan. In an ideal Islamic bank, the borrower and the bank would be partners (in a factory or business). However, this is not possible in the modern world, which is why conventional banks are popular and Islamic banks also have to be like conventional banks. And every five years, billions of rupees worth of bank loans are simply written off by the government.

  2. SL: Generally in case of gevernment owned or large private sector banks, the government regulatory body decides the limits for rates of interests so that the banks cannot determine arbitrary rates. You must have even heard of credit societies or credit unions which operate on very low interest rates. How is this different from Islamic banking?

  3. @ Hend: Islamic banking means that there should not be a very high rate of interest. The Mafia in the U.S. (loan sharks) charge 5% per week (360% per year!) as interest. In Pakistan’s rural areas, people are still paying interest on loans which were taken by their great grandfathers more than 100 years ago. Islam forbids exploitation, and in those days the money-lenders used to suck the blood of the poor in this manner.

  4. Sir, I understood your point about some Islamic banks not really being Islamic banks. I am interested in learning more about the concept of true Islamic banking and how it can be a self-sustainable venture so that people can truly benefit.

    In rural areas where banks won’t give loans to a farmer, traditionally unscrupulous money lenders have thrived and exploited poor farmers and gobbled up their lands. Perhaps the concept of true Islamic banking added with cooperative operation of such institutions might be helpful. Before this debate my own view of Islamic banking was uninformed but now I think I must understand it properly from a good source.

    Internet seems to mave many links but maybe you have mention a couple which are reliable.

  5. Sir, your eagerness has compelled me to put aside my desire for the discussion to take place in the relevant post.

    Let’s discuss Islamic banks charging fees first and then we’ll move on to conventional banks and why interest in wrong in Islam.

    A regular business is different than a banking system. If a regular business overcharges, people have the option to go elsewhere. However, this is not the case when dealing with Islamic or conventional banks.

    Islamic banks attract people by pretending to be Islamic. The reason why they are not Islamic can be read in my posts on Islamic banks. You may have read both already. In any case, they overcharge, and this is not just to pay their staff but to earn money. It is a professional business. Therefore, they should not be doing it under the banner of Islam. They also take advantage of people, since to take a loan a Muslim cannot turn to a conventional bank, and these Islamic banks charge way more. Much more than is necessary.

    Banks can charge interest to earn money, but that is also taking advantage of people. It was used as a means by the rich to take advantage of the poor in the past, and it is still being done now. From individuals, banks to wealthy “helpful” countries, (who loan money to African countries and then want many times the amount back), people have used interest as a tool to earn money that they did not deserve to earn, and that is why it is not allowed in Islam.

    Once again, a regular business that charges money to earn profits is different, since they are not taking advantage of anyone. People are free to turn elsewhere.

    However, if there was only one business (or one doctor) in a city, and he was overcharging knowing that people don’t have the option to go elsewhere, that would still be wrong and a sin in Islam, and his/her money would take him/her to hell.

    All in all, it is the idea that taking advantage of people is wrong. As the phrase goes Kisi ki majboori se fayda uthana.

  6. Thank you. I would be very interested to learn more from you. Is there a different post already to discuss this? Will appreciate your help.

  7. The whole concept of financial lending or providing loans is based on charging of interest. Whether you call it interest or a service fee, it is absolutely necessary and there is nothing wrong in it. How else would a bank give salary to its staff? Why would someone start a bank if one cannot make profit by changing interest?

    Taking a look in a different manner, if it is ok so earn a profit by buying goods at lower price and selling at a higher price which is the whole basis of any trade or if it is ok to provide a service and charge the customer for it…what is wrong in charging interest as a fees for making funds available? Can the so called Islamic banking be sustainable on its own if not funded throgh other means and your tax money by governements?

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