Debt is an Obligation!


Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthal was one of the famous translators of Qura’n to English. When working as an employee of British government in Middle East, he witnessed a strange incident. One day, a tumult of shouting and screaming broke out from the apartment opposite to his.An aged man, the owner of the apartment, was abusing and fiercely beating a youngster, the tenant. The youngster did not backfire or abuse him in return.

All surprised, Pickthal approached the youngster and enquired the matter:

“I have borrowed money from that man. I couldn’t pay off the settled amount in time. And hence, he was spanking and nagging me.”

“You are healthier than him, right? Still why did you bear all spanks, standing with bonded hands?”

“Our prophet (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has ordered us to settle debts by the agreed time. I have commenced the first offense, by breaking my promise. Should I commit a second offense too by beating an old man? Prophet(PBUH) has prohibited us from doing these.”

Pickthall was astonished to hear these words. Prophet Mohammed, who has passed centuries ago, could influence even a common youngster in a really surprising manner. This incidence prompted Pickthall to learn about Prophet. Following this, he accepted Islam.

Debt is a burdensome obligation. An obligation that must be fulfilled accurately and intently. Prophet(PBUH) had taught us that, even for martyr, his debt would remain as ceaseless liability. “All the wrongs of a martyr are forgiven except his debt” (Muslim – Riyadussaliheen – Book 12, Hadith 1312)

In Sunan an-Nasa’ee this hadith is narrated: We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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, “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.”

O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties (Quran 2:282). Quran suggest to take a person’s wealth to payoff his debt before giving it to his heirs. ” The distribution in all cases (‘s) after the payment of legacies and debts”[Quran 4:11] and to pay zakath ” for those in bondage and in debt”[Quran 9:60]

Prophet (PBUH) discouraged taking loan. At the same time he encouraged to grand respite to debtors. He himself modeled to pay off debt in a beautiful manner [sunan abudavood,vol2,p:119]. He warned that “procrastination in paying debt by a wealthy person is injustice”[Sahih al-Bukhari 2400]. He has reminded us that “one who take other’s money, intending to destroy it, Allah will destroy it.[bukhari 2387]

Prophet(PBUH) never offered funeral prayers until someone undertake the payment of debt committed by the deceased[Bukhari].He even described such deeds as much rewarding in front of Allah. Prophet(PBUH) taught to seek refuge from being indebted also. “O Allah! I seek refuge in Thee from sin and from being in debt.”[sahih bukhari,sahih muslim]b

Remember! Debt is a great liability. We must be conscious of not becoming indebted and, to pay back the debts immediately. Protect us by saving from debt, at any cost. If not, it hinders the eternal success!

English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud!

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