Is Banking Criminal? What the World's Ancient Philosophers & Religions Say:

Note the irony of how those who are the greatest practitioners of interest banking claim membership in the religions most emphatically against charging interest. 


"One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, and charging interest. This is wrong livelihood."

--Siddharta Gautama Buddha in his sermon on the Eightfold Path (Majjhima Nikaya Suttra 117:5)

see also The Way of Buddhism



If one has charged interest or taken increase-- shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
-- Prophet Ezekiel (18:13)


He does not put out his money at interest, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.  He who does these things will never be shaken.

--David (Psalm 15:5)


He who increases his wealth by interest and usury gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.
  --Solomon (Proverbs 28:8)


You shall not charge interest to your brother--interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.

  --Moses (Deuteronomy 23:19)

One who lends money on usury cannot be regarded as reformed until he tear up his account-books and effect a complete reformation.
(Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin II.--JUDICIAL PROCEDURE: "Those who are Eligible and those who are Ineligible as Judges or Witnesses" III.3. M. T. V. 2.)
He who lives by usury in this world shall not live in the world to come.
(Midrash, Exodus Rabba 31).
There were also some who said,

"We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine." 

There were also those who said,

"We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our lands and vineyards...  and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards." 

And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.  After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them,

"Each of you is exacting usury from his brother."

So I called a great assembly against them....

"Please, let us stop this usury!  Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also one percent of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."

--Nehemiah (5:3-7,10-11)


Note how Nehemiah was utterly appalled about even 1% interest!  This would be considered charity by today's banking standards!  This blows the argument of many self-proclaimed Jews & Christians who claim, along with many Muslims, Buddhists, & Hindus, that usury is "excessive interest," while "regular interest" is okay.  Usury is interest is usury is interest: there is no difference.


Lo and Behold, the very Garden of Eden story is about lending at interest. 

Please see The Seven Headed Dragon: World Commerce

see also The Way of Judaism




Forgive us our debts, even as we forgive our debtors. 

--Jesus (Matthew 6:12)


And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.
-- Jesus Christ (Luke 6:34-35)


 Jesus said, "If you have money, do not lend it at interest. Rather, give to someone from whom you will not get it back."

 (Gospel of Thomas 95)


Owe no person anything, except to love one another.

 --Apostle Paul (Romans 13:8)


He who takes interest for a loan of money acts unjustly for he sells what does not exist. It is wrong in itself to take a price (usury) for the use of money lent, and as in the case of other offences against justice, one is bound to make restitution of his unjustly acquired money.

  --Saint Thomas Aquinas


Many "Christian" businessmen theologians erroneously state that the New Testament is silent about forbidding interest.  But the New Testament clearly goes even a step beyond forbidding interest, telling us to lend, expecting nothing at all in return.  On top of that, we are to not even owe.  On top of that, we are to forgive all debts! 


Central to Jesus' message is that debt and sin are one and the same.


Lo and Behold, the very Garden of Eden story is about lending at interest. 

Please see The Seven Headed Dragon: World Commerce



  Those who swallow down interest cannot arise except as one whom Satan has prostrated by his touch does raise. . . . . Allah does not bless charging interest, and He causes charitable deeds to prosper, and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner. Surely they who believe and do good deeds and keep up prayer and give charity, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah and forgive what remains due from charging interest, if you are believers.

(Quran 2:275-278)


And whatever you give in interest, so that it may increase in the property of men, it shall not increase with Allah; and whatever you give in charity, desiring Allah's pleasure-- it is you who shall receive manifold. (Quran 30:39)


O you who believe, you shall not take interest, compounded over and over. Observe God, that you may succeed. (Quran 3:130)


And for charging interest, which was forbidden, and for consuming the people's money illicitly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them painful retribution. (Quran 4:161) 
The Messenger of God used to pray in his prayers, and said: 
"O Allah!  I seek refuge in you from sin and from being in debt."
Someone asked him,
"How often do you, O Messenger of Allah, seek refuge from being in debt?"
He said:
"When a man is in debt he speaks and tells lies, and he promises and breaks the promise."
(Hadith, Bukhari 43:10) 
And if the debtor is in straightness, then  let there be a postponement until he is in ease;
and if you forgive it as charity it is better for you, if you knew.
(Quran 2:280) 
"The Messenger of God said, cursed is the usurer and the man who pays usury and the writer of the transaction and the two witnesses thereof,"
and he said,
"They are alike."
(Hadith, Muslim Mishkat 12:4) 
A time will come over people when not a single person will remain who does not swallow down usury, and if one does not swallow it, its vapor will overtake him.
 --Muhammad (Hadith, Abu Dawud Mishkat 12:4)
Even despite Islam's clear denouncement of all forms of interest, there are businessmen "Muslims" who pull the same trick as westerners, claiming that "usury" means "excessive interest" and that "regular interest" is okay.  Yet, the scriptural Arabic word for usury is riba (an excess or addition), meaning an addition over and above the principal sum that is lent [Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon], showing no distinction between usury and interestThen there are others who disagree, yet support "Islamic" banking which claims not to charge interest.  Instead, the "Islamic" bank buys the item the borrower wants to buy and sells it to the borrower at a profit.  Isn't charging interest under such pretense even more deceptive than out-rightly charging interest?

See also The Way of Islam (Peaceful Submission)


 A Brâhmana and a Kshatriya shall not lend anything at interest... 'He who acquiring property cheap, gives it for a high price, is called a usurer and blamed among those who recite the Veda.'

'God weighed in the scales the crime of killing a learned Brâhmana against the crime of charging interest; the slayer of the Brâhmana remained at the top, the charger of interest sank downwards.'

(Vasishtha, The Sacred Laws of the Aryas, Part II, Chptr 2, vs 40-42)

A person of yoga obtains everlasting peace 
by abandoning the rewards of action.
The person ignorant of yoga,
selfishly attached to reward,
remains bound.
(Bhagavad Gita 5:12.  This verse, in fact, is representative of the very theme of the Bhagavad Gita)


Note how the Hindu Sage Vasishtha considered charging interest a crime worse than murder.  Real and blatant slavery of men, women and children, is rampant in India because of India's disregard for her own Hindu principles.

Also, as in Christianity, we see in the Bhagavad Gita that later Hinduism goes even a step beyond forbidding charging interest, imploring us over and over and over to do nothing for the sake of reward, give expecting nothing in return, but simply to do for the sake of doing.

See also The Way of Hinduism


Riches do not remain with anyone -

not even the golden palaces of Sri Lanka.

People gather and hoard their possessions,

and give nothing to anyone else . . . . 

the poor fools think that everything is theirs.

Listen, you foolish and ignorant mind –

only His Will prevails.

My Banker is the Great Lord and Master.

I am only His petty merchant.

This soul and body all are His.

He Himself kills, and brings back to life.

(Guru Nanak Dev, p 155)


My only Support is the Naam,

the Name of the Lord;

as He keeps me, I survive.

The leaders and kings shall not remain.

The bankers shall die,

after accumulating their wealth and money.

Grant me, O Lord,

the wealth of Your Ambrosial Naam.

(Guru Nanak Dev, p. 227)

The shopkeeper who visited the Guru, had deserved to die by an impaling stake for the sins of deceit and usury, but, as be continued to progress in virtue, the impaling stake was reduced in size till it became merely a thorn. Having been pierced by it, he had fully expiated the sins of a former birth. Thus may the decree of destiny be altered by the practice of virtue.

(Life Of Guru Nanak: Chapter V, sec IV)

See also The Way of Sikhism

Greek Philosophy

No one shall deposit money with anyone he does not trust, nor lend at interest, since it is permissible for the borrower to refuse entirely to pay back either interest or principle."

 --Plato (Laws)


The trade of the petty usurer is hated with most reason: it makes a profit from currency itself, instead of making it from the process which currency was meant to serve. Their common characteristic is obviously their sordid greed....  Hence of all the kinds of wealth acquisition this one is the most unnatural.

 --Aristotle (Politics)



  • When a man hath the power to do that which is good, and he watcheth himself and telleth his neighbour, he becometh as it were the owner of two talents, and yet other two talents are added to him, and he getteth abundant reward from God. For he hath done it himself and taught his neighbour to do it, and because of this his reward shall he exceedingly great. And again, blessed shall ye be if ye give your possessions, without usury and not as loans.
  • (The ancient Ethiopian Kebra Nagast, 90. "How Azariah praised the Queen and her city")

    Bahá’í Faith

    Many ecclesiastics in Persia have, through innumerable
    designs and devices, been feeding on illicit gains obtained
    by usury. They have contrived ways to give its outward
    form a fair semblance of lawfulness. They make a plaything
    of the laws and ordinances of God, but they understand not.
    (Tablets of Baha'u'llah Revealed after the Kitab-I-Aqdas. +P134)



    See Also 

     If you think the ancient sages above are out-dated fossils, check out this video:

    Money As Debt

    Money As Debt
    (47 min)

    Also See How to Become Free From Debt