CONCEPT OF DEBT IN ISLAM

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September 30, 2020
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CONCEPT OF DEBT IN ISLAM

In this materialistic world where the focus has become running after the whims and fulfilling whatsoever the heart desires, we tend to lose focus on our real goals and begin taking certain matters that are discouraged in Islaam, too lightly.

And the matter of taking loans and being in debt is definitely one of them.

We know quite well that taking “interest based” loan, the kind of loan we are discussing in this context is one without interest.

Many people have a very casual approach to being in debt and take out loans, not for some urgent need but, because they want to expand their businesses or keep up with others in buying new cars or furniture or other temporary luxuries of this life.

Now, let’s look at some dangers of being in debt.

TAKING LOANS & BEING IN DEBT IS A GRAVE MATTER. Islam takes the matter of debt very seriously and warns against it and urges the Muslim to avoid it as much as possible. And yet, we don’t see it as such.

  • The Prophet (SAW) used to seek protection from it
  • The Prophet (SAW) used to say in his prayer:

“Allaahumma inni a’oodhi bika min al-ma’tham wa’l-maghram (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from sin and heavy debt).” Someone said to him: “How often you seek refuge from heavy debt!” He said: “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.”

(Bukhaari and Muslim).

THE PERSON IN DEBT WILL NOT ENTER PARADISE UNTIL IT’S PAID OFF:

Owing huge debt can make a muslim not being an inmate of paradise,

 Muhammad ibn Jahsh said: ‘We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah! What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him,

“O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” (Hasan -al-Nasaa’i).

UNNCESSARY LOAN IS A CAUSE OF PUNISHMENT AND THE WRATH OF ALLAH:

Unnecessary loans could be asking for fund to meet social standards or buying luxury items, Islam detests this act as Prophet (Saw) said:

“Whoever asks people for money when he has what is sufficient for him is only asking for more of the embers of Hell.” They asked him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is sufficient so that he does not have to ask for more?” He said: “Having enough to eat lunch and dinner.” (Abu Dawud- Saheeh).

And he said:      

“Whoever asks the people for money when he has what is sufficient for him will come on the Day of Judgment with scratches and lacerations on his face” (Ahmad).

 THE PROPHET (SAW) DIDN’T PRAY THE JANAZAH OF A DEBTOR.

The Prophet (SAW) refrained from offering the funeral prayer for someone who had died owing two dinars, until Abu Qataadah (a Sahaabi) promised to pay it off for him. When he saw him the following day he said,

“I have paid it off.” The Prophet said: “Now his skin has become cool for him.” (Hasan-Ahmad)

This implies that a Muslim shouldn’t die a debtor, hence we are encouraged to settle debts due times.

THE SOUL OF THE ONE IN DEBT IS SUSPENDED:

The Prophet (SAW) said:

“The soul of the believer is held hostage by his debt in his grave until it is paid off.” Tirmidhi,

Explaining this hadeeth al-Suyooti said: “It (soul) is detained and kept from reaching its noble destination. Al-‘Iraaqi said: “No judgment is passed as to whether it will be saved or doomed until it is determined whether his debt will be paid off or not.”

 THE ONE IN DEBT IS A PRISONER.

What a makes a muslim free is by keeping away from taking huge loans and falling into debt, Prophet (SAW) said:

The debtor is a prisoner, as the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Your companion is being detained by his debt.” (hasan-Abu Dawood).

Statements of Sahaabah regarding debt

Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: Beware of debt, for it starts with worry and it ends with war. (Maalik in al-Muwatta).

And Ibn ‘Umar said: “O Humraan, fear Allaah and do not die in debt, lest it be taken from your good deeds when there will be no dinars and no dirhams.”

WHEN IS TAKING LOAN PERMISSIBLE?

The  scholars of Islam warn us about how difficult the issue of debt is, and that it should not be undertaken except in cases of necessity.

Based on this, there are three conditions for debt to be permissible:

  • The borrower should be determined to repay it.
  •  It should be known or thought most likely that he is able to repay it,
  • One should borrow for something that is permissible according to Sharee’ah.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said:

“The debt for which a person will be kept out of Paradise – and Allaah knows best – is that for which he left behind enough to pay it off but he did not leave instructions to that effect, or he was able to pay it off but did not do so, or he took the loan for some unlawful or extravagant matter and died without having paid it off.

As for the one who took a loan for something lawful because he was poor, and he died without leaving behind anything to pay it off, Allaah will not keep him from Paradise because of it, in sha Allaah.”

The Prophet (SAW) said:

“The one who takes people’s wealth intending to pay it back, Allaah will pay it back for him, and the one who takes it intending to destroy it, Allaah will destroy him.” (Bukhaari).

Conclusively, a muslim should take a loan only when absolutely necessary and if you are in a situation of debt right now, try your utmost best to pay off your debts as soon as possible. Strive hard to pay it off, put your trust in Allaah (SWT) and pray to Him to make it easy for you to pay off your debt.

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