بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Basic tenets regarding Borrowing,

Lending and Paying back the Debt

If a person acquires an amount of money as debt in order to fulfill an important need, then it is not only permissible but also the basis of reward for the one who lends out the money. Lending money to the needy falls in the category of mustahab i.e. duties recommended, but not essential, fulfilment of which is rewarded, (though they may be neglected without any punishment thereof).

The encouragement of fulfilling others’ needs in the Qur’an and Hadeeth:

  • Surah Al Hajj: 77, And do good so that you may prosper.
  • Surah Al Maeda: 2, Help one another in actions of righteousness and piety.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The one who removes a worldly ailment of a Muslim, Allah will remove his worries on the Day of Judgment. The one who arranges solace for an agonized individual, Allah will decide ease for him in this world and the Hereafter. Allah keeps supporting his servant as long he keeps supporting his brother (Muslim).
  • The Prophet (PBUH) said that when a Muslim gives credit (loan) to his brother twice, one of the turns is considered sadaqah, voluntary charity (Nasai, Ibne Majah).
  • The Prophet (PBUH) said, “On the Night of Ascension (Me’raj), I saw it written on the door of the Paradise (Jannah) that the reward for the voluntary charity is ten times more whereas, the reward for giving out loan is eighteen times more. I asked Jibraeel (AS), “Why is the reward of lending more than the charity?” and he replied, “A mendicant asks for charity while he has some sustenance while a debtor would borrow money only in the time of need.” (Ibne Majah).
  • Abud Dardaa’ (RA) said, “To me two Dinars given out as loan are better than the same amount given in charity.” (Baihaqi).

The reason for this is that the credit would come back after the fulfilment of the need of the borrower and then it can be lent out again to help another person.

The Islamic Law allows borrowing and lending money but for the sake of general good, it is important that the lender should not apply a condition for his personal materialistic gain.

The conditions observable during borrowing and lending:

Verse 282 of Surah Al Baqara is the longest aayah in the Holy Qur’an and it enumerates divine injunctions pertaining to borrowing and lending so as to avoid any discrepancy in such a financial deal. Three of these injunctions are thus:

  1. There should be a recorded documentary evidence for the amount taken as loan, whatever the sum may be, big or small.
  2. The tentative date for the payment of the debt should also be finalized.
  3. Two witnesses to the borrowing transaction should also be taken.

It is compulsory for the borrower to make every possible effort to pay back the debt at the finalized date. However, if he finds himself in adverse circumstances where the commitment cannot be observed, he should be conscious of Allah and ask for another grace-period till the sum can be paid. If the lender grants it, he may expect great rewards from Allah. But if someone withholds the repayment of debt despite his capacity to pay, then there are several severe warnings for him in Ahadeeth. The Prophet (PBUH) used to forbid the funeral prayer of the debtor till the payment of due could be arranged. Some of these Ahadeeth are presented here:

  • The soul of a Muslim remains stagnant (cannot progress to the Paradise) till all his debt is paid.
  • One day after Fajr Salah the prophet (PBUH) said, ‘One of your companions has been stopped at the door of the Paradise due to non-payment of his debt, now if you so desire, you can let him face Allah’s wrath or you can save him (by paying his debts) (Haakim, Attargheeb Wat Tarheeb).
  • Allah forgives all sins of a martyr of His path but he does not forgive the debt (Muslim).
  • A person who borrows from someone with the intention of returning it, the Allah creates circumstances to facilitate the payment but if the person plans to embezzle the loan, then Allah creates circumstance that the entire sum is destroyed (Bukhari).
  • If a person dies in the condition that he is a borrower, then his debt would be paid (spiritually) through his divine rewards (that he would have earned all his life) (Ibne Majah).
  • If a person borrows with the intention that he would not pay it back, then he would be presented before Allah under the title of a thief (Ibne Majah).
  • It is callousness to delay the payment of debts (Bukhari, Muslim).
  • The one who does not repay his debt despite his ability to do so is vicious and deceiver (An Nawawi, Fathul Baari).
  • It is related by Jaaber (RA) that a person among us died. When we gave him the funeral bath and shrouded him and requested the Prophet (PBUH) to lead his funeral prayer. He (PBUH) asked if there was any debt due on the deceased. We told him that he owed 2 Dinars. The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Then let you lead his funeral prayer. Abu Qataada (RA) said, “O Prophet (PBUH), I take his debt upon myself.” To this he (PBUH) replied, “Then the debt is incumbent upon you and the deceased is free. Afterwards, the Prophet (PBUH) led his funeral prayer (Attargheeb Wat Tarheeb 162/2).

Special Supplication for the payment of debt:

One day the Prophet (PBUH) came to the mosque and saw Abu Imaama (RA). The Prophet (PBUH) inquired from him the reason for staying in the mosque without it being the prayer time. Abu Imama (RA) replied that sorrows and debts had overwhelmed him. To this the Prophet (PBUH) asked him to read a supplication day and night and told him that by virtue of it Allah would relieve him of both his sorrows and his debt. Here is the supplication: "O Allah I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, I seek refuge in You from hopelessness and laziness, I seek refuge in You from miserliness and cowardice and I seek refuge in You from overwhelming debt and from the force of men". Abu Imaama (RA) states that he recited this dua (supplication) and Allah removed all his worries and debts. (Abu Dawood)

If a borrower/debtor wishes to add something to the principle sum out of his own good will, then it is permissible and in accordance with the prophetic tradition. But no additional fixed charges should be incurred by the debtor. We should avoid taking loans from the bank as it is directly related with riba known as bank interest which is a form of usury which is haram (prohibited).

An inspiring story:

In Sahih Bukhari, there is a story of a man of Bani Israel who took a loan of one thousand dinars from another and on the demand of a witness by the creditor, made Allah his Witness and his Guarantor. At the appointed date, he tried to find a ship back to the land where his creditor lived and failing that opportunity he took a piece of wood, packed that sum of money along with a letter of reference addressed to Allah to make that money reach the lender. Sometime later, the means of a voyage became available and he travelled to his creditor and presented another one thousand dinars to him. To his happy surprise the creditor confirmed that Allah had already caused that piece of wood along with the money and the letter to reach him as he found that log of wood and carried it home to utilize as fuel and upon hacking it into two, found the sum meant for him intact. The borrower went happily away.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)