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Saud Mand Tahreek (Movement) was established in 1925 in Badyoun (India) for the improvement of standard of living of Muslims of India at that time. This movement specially focused on the definition and nature of riba (interest) and tries to redefine this term. This movement become a separate school of thought and presented some basic points about the riba. According to them each and every type of increment is not riba, but it is a particular type of increase. Only that transaction will be a riba transaction which is based on exploitation of poor people. Otherwise the rest of transactions are not riba, particularly if it is based on mutual consent.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in his writings has refused to accept the traditional concept of riba (interest), and accepted the bank interest as lawful. It was the first revolt from the traditional school of thought in economic context. This point of view was further promoted on the plate-form of Saud Mand Tahreek (Movement). This movement was initiated by Mulana Iqbal Ahmed, Molvi Ikram, Syed Tufail Ahmed and some others in 1925 in Badayoun (India). They started a monthly publication under the name of “Saudmand” from the plate-form of this movement. At the sametime some other publications were also issued.1
The basic objective of this movement was to improve the overall economic and social status of Muslim community of India.2 They had mainly focused on economic conditions of Muslims.
It was a very crucial time for Indian Muslims. Their share in the commerce and trade was rapidly decreasing. In Indian civil service the share of Muslims were much less then their volumes of population. The overall conditions for them were very poor. One of the big reason of this economic backwardness was that Muslims as a community were disgust from new economic set up established by British Government, due to the presence of interest in it.3
Since riba (interest) is completely prohibited in Islam, hence they were quite waver from it. It was the time when thinkers of this movement decided to bring Muslims close to new economic system. Definitely presence of interest was the main barier in this regard. This is the reason that they started a campaign against traditional concept of riba (interest). For this purpose they put some basic questions about the nature, background and prohibitition of riba (interest), e.g.
- What is the definition of riba?
- Are the limits of riba can be determined?
- Due to which reason riba (interest) was prohibited and what is the demand of this reason now a days?
- Is riba (interest) completely banned or there may be some exceptions in it? 4
Since these questions were raised from the plate-form of this movement, hence it was indispensable for them that, they provide the answers of these questions. They have done the same, but with that, they had created a separate school of thought, which is still alive and in many discussions the resumption of their arguments is still present. Hence it can be said that, this movement is alive in the form of their arguments, about riba. To give the answers of above mentioned questions, Mulana Iqbal Ahemd taken the position that, the Quranic term riba (interest) is a particular type of increment and there is not any explanation of this increase in Quran and Sunnah both. Moreover in the early period of Islam there was not any consonance on this term, even upto the time of uima situation was quite same. On this basis he concluded that, there is not any hard & fast rule in this regard. This is the reasons that, it is advised to Muslims that, they will leave anything about which they are doubtful about riba (interest), and take rest of the items.5
In his opinion Riba-al-Fadal is just applicable in barter system and cannot be used in cash or credit transactions.6 Moreover exchanges of money transactions also don't have any chance of riba(interest). Hence according to him concept of riba (interest) is just applicable on a particular type of credit transaction which is called as deferred sales.7 Except for this rest of the transactions are free from riba (interest). The nature of this transaction is that, buyer made a down payment to seller for the future delivery of goods or crops. If the seller provided the some within specified time, this transaction was completed and no extra charge was paid by the seller. But on the other hand if he failed to do so, then he has to paid some extra amount to buyer. And this additional amount was termed as riba (interest).It is just a form of exploitation. At here it should be remember that, this increment was not the part of agreement, but in case of failure of seller it was upto the choice of buyer. Only this type of riba (interest) is prohibited by Quran, he said.8
On the basis of analysis of different Hadith, he has pointed out that, riba (interest) is that, increment which is like deferred sales transactions not more than that. According to him same type of riba (interest) was also prohibited in Turah. This type of increment is lawful only in Dar-ul-Harb but not in Dar-ul-Islam.9
Syed Tufail Ahmed has raised some different points from the plate-form of this movement. His points were based on economic conditions of Muslims of that time. He said.
- Interest is the trading profit which is separate from riba, hence each and every increment cannot be termed as riba.10
- Currency can be used in productive and non productive way both. In the old days men did not know the productive use of money and consider it as medium of exchange only. But now a days currency is sued for more productive way, hence it will be better to use it in more fruitful purposes.
- Analysis of different Hadith also bring them the conclusion that, only one type of increment is unlawful, which is based on exploitation of poor people. This is the reason that Quran has condemned the riba and appreciate Sadaqas.11
- Credit for trading purpose and payment of interest on it are quite different matters from riba (Interest). It is lawful because it is based on mutual consent.12
- Since Muslims don't take interest hence they are getting double loss. On one side they are losing interest on it, if they grant their money as loan to others. And on the other hand they don't take loan on interest. This is the reason that, their share in the trade is reducing rapidly.13
- The one reasons of collapse of big Muslim states is that, they did not take loan on interest from Muslims and ultimately by compulsion they had taken loan from other states and due to heavy interest gradually lose their sovergnity.14
- On micro level same is happiness with small Muslim trading class.15
- Due to some reasons Muslims are coming out from industry and education.16
On these reasons he recommended that, Muslims has to adopt new economic setup which was based on interest.
No doubt some other names are also there who have the same or almost same point of view about riba (interest) e.g. Mulana Abdul Hai Farngi Mehli, Allama Syed Abu-Ishaq Hanafi Mulana Syed Nasir Hussain & Syed Najum-ul-Hassan etc. This movement on one side put the pressure on Muslims to involve in the riba (interest) transactions, but with that suggest some other measures also for the betterment of Muslim community. These suggestions were:
- It was advised to them that Muslims formed more and more co-operative associations for economic stability.
- Muslims were counseled by this movement that, they put their deposits in commercial banks and try to establish their own banks.
- Rich Muslims provide loans to poor Muslims so that they can stand on their own feet.
- It was recommended that, Muslims were purchased more & more life insurance policies so that, they can prevent them and their family from any unexpected emergency. Moreover efforts were also made to reform Muslim cultural values and induced them to more & more hard working.17
It can be said that, this movement has tried its best to change the life style of Muslims at that time, and perhaps it was successful to some extent. Whereas this concept of riba is concerned, that only increment is riba which is taken from the poor people for the exploitation purpose, it cannot be treated as any good definition, because both of these terms i.e. poor and exploitation are relative and no concrete definition of these terms are possible. Hence this concept of riba is quite ambiguous.
Saud Mand Tahreek which was established to improve the standard of living of Indian Muslim had given a new definition or concept of riba. According to them riba is an exceptional case and applicable to only those transactions which are result on exploitation of poor people. Only this type of increment is prohibited in Quran. But it is also an abstract concept because exploitation & poor both are relative terms and no concrete definition of these terms are possible. Hence the concept of riba of this movement is also baseless.