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This paper examines the concept of usury or Riba as was understood at the time of the Prophet of Islam and his contemporaries in Mecca and Medina, and what differing interpretations of the term developed in succeeding centuries in Muslim populated countries of the world. It gives a brief summary of the concept of usury in Judaism and Christianity and how this term is equivalent of Riba in Islam. It demonstrates that Riba and interest are not synonymous terms, and that what Islam forbids isdoi:10.32890/ijbf2009.6.1.8379 fatcat:mc42egrtffglponmedgzwskdsu