Tuesday 4 August 2020

Selected Verses from Qur'an: Postpone Loan (or even right off) if Debtor is in Hardship

When we the Muslims say that Islam is not only a religion but a "Deen" as well, the non Muslims do not understand it as there is no exact translation of Arabic word Deen is available in any dictionary. The close when can get in its interpretation "The complete Way of Life". Which means that other than the spiritual aspect, which is embodied in any Heavenly religion, that focuses on belief in One True God, its messengers and abiding by a well laid out code of conduct, the Deen of Islam also lays out comprehensive guidelines for a believer as to how to live in a society and look after not only the other believers but also the non believers as well.

And one of the many aspects of a just and caring friendly society is the lending money by those who can afford to those who are in need. Before the advent of Islam, the rich and affluent would loan to the poor on very stringent conditions and interest rates. And when the debt came to term, the creditor would say to the debtor, "Either pay now or interest will be added to the debt.'' Over a period of time, even the interest would overtake the actual amount so loaned and the poor had to sell his entire household to repay the loan or even become slave to the creditor. Even after Islam, this practice continued and by a commandment of Allah, the interest was abolished and the creditor were asked to show magnanimity when dealing with the poor debtors, as is evident from the following 280th verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah (The Cow):

وَاِنۡ يَّمۡسَسۡكَ اللّٰهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهٗۤ اِلَّا هُوَ ​ۚ وَاِنۡ يُّرِدۡكَ بِخَيۡرٍ فَلَا رَآدَّ لِفَضۡلِهٖ​ ؕ يُصِيۡبُ بِهٖ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهٖ​ ؕ وَهُوَ الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِيۡمُ‏  
( 280 )   And if someone is in hardship, then [let there be] postponement until [a time of] ease. But if you give [from your right as] charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew.
The 8th century Muslim scholar and exegete of Quran Ibn Kathir explains this verses as under:

(And if the debtor is having a hard time, then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay; but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.) Allah commands creditors to be patient with debtors who are having a hard time financially, (And if the debtor is having a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay.)

Allah encouraged creditors to give debtors respite regarding their debts and promised all that is good, and a great reward from Him for this righteous deed, (But if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know) meaning, if you forfeit your debts and cancel them completely.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Sulayman bin Buraydah said that his father said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say, (Whoever gives time to a debtor facing hard times, will gain charity of equal proportions for each day he gives.)

I also heard the Prophet say, (Whoever gives time to a debtor facing hard times, will earn charity multiplied two times for each day he gives.) I said, `O Messenger of Allah! I heard you say, `Whoever gives time to a debtor facing hard times, will gain charity of equal proportions for each day he gives.' I also heard you say, `Whoever gives time to a debtor facing hard times, will earn charity multiplied by two times for each day he gives.' He said:
(He will earn charity of equal proportions for each day (he gives time) before the term of the debt comes to an end, and when the term comes to an end, he will again acquire charity multiplied by two times for each day if he gives more time.)''
Ahmad recorded that Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi said that Abu Qatadah had a debt on a man, who used to hide from Abu Qatadah when he looked for him to pay what he owed him. One day, Abu Qatadah came looking for the debtor and a young boy came out, and he asked him about the debtor and found out that he was in the house eating. Abu Qatadah said in a loud voice, "O Fellow! Come out, for I was told that you are in the house.'' The man came out and Abu Qatadah asked him, "Why are you hiding from me'' The man said, "I am having a hard time financially, and I do not have any money.'' Abu Qatadah said, "By Allah, are you truly facing a hard time'' He said, "Yes.'' Abu Qatadah cried and said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Whoever gives time to his debtor, or forgives the debt, will be in the shade of the Throne (of Allah) on the Day of Resurrection.)''
Muslim also recorded this Hadith in his Sahih.

Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Mawsili recorded that Hudhayfah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(On the Day of Resurrection, one of Allah's servants will be summoned before Him and He will ask him, "What deeds did you perform for Me in your life'' He will say, "O Lord! In my life, I have not performed a deed for Your sake that equals an atom,'' three times. The third time, the servant will add, "O Lord! You granted me wealth and I used to be a merchant. I used to be lenient, giving easy terms to those well-off and giving time to the debtors who faced hard times.'' Allah will say, "I Am the Most Worthy of giving easy terms. Therefore, enter Paradise.'')
Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ibn Majah also recorded this Hadith from Hudhayfah, and Muslim recorded a similar wording from `Uqbah bin `Amir and Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri. Allah further advised His servants, by reminding them that this life will soon end and all the wealth in it will vanish. He also reminded them that the Hereafter will surely come, when the Return to Him will occur, and that He will hold His creation accountable for what they did, rewarding them or punishing them accordingly. Allah also warned them against His torment, (And have Taqwa for the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.)

It was reported that this was the last Ayah revealed from the Glorious Qur'an. An-Nasa'i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "The last Ayah to be revealed from the Qur'an was,

وَاتَّقُواْ يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ 
(And have Taqwa for the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.'')

This is the same narration reported by Ad-Dahhak and Al-`Awfi from Ibn `Abbas.

Eminent Muslim scholar and exegete of Quran Abul Ala Maududi contends that this verse is the basis of the Islamic regulation that if a person has become incapable of paying off his debt, the court will force the creditors to grant him respite for payment. In fact, under certain circumstances, the court is entitled to remit a part of his debt and, at times, the whole of it. It is mentioned in the Hadith that once a person suffered loss in his trade and became greatly burdened with debt and the case was brought to the notice of the Prophet. The Prophet urged the people to help their brother in his distress. They came to his assistance but the amount of help was not enough to wipe out his debts. Then the Prophet approached the lenders and asked them to accept whatever amount was available and to grant remission to the borrower because of his inability to make further payments. Muslim jurists have made it clear that a debtor's residential house, eating utensils, clothes and the tools which he uses for earning his livelihood may not be confiscated in any, circumstances whatsoever for non-payment of loans. (For relevant discussion and textual evidence see the commentaries on this verse in Ibn Kathir, Jassas, and Qurtubi - Ed.)

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi further elaborates this verse by contending that if the borrower is in difficulty, he should be given respite until he is able to pay back his debt, it clearly points out that in those times even the rich used to acquire loans. In fact, if the style and stress of the verse are correctly understood, it becomes clear that it was mostly the rich who used to procure loans. Indeed, there was a strong chance that the borrower would find himself in difficulty even to pay the original amount. The money-lender, therefore, is directed to give him more time and if he forgoes the original amount it would be better for him. The words of this verse strongly indicate this meaning. The actual words of the verse are: وَاِنۡ کَانَ ذُوۡ عُسۡرَۃٍ فَنَظِرَۃٌ اِلٰی مَیۡسَرَۃٍ. The particle of condition اِنۡ (if) is not used for general circumstances, but, in fact, is used for rare and unusual circumstances. For general circumstances the particle اِذَا (if) is used. In the light of this, it is clear that the borrower in those times was generally affluent (ذُوْمَيْسَرَة), but in some cases was poor or had become poor after acquiring the loan and in that case, the Qur’an has directed the money-lenders to give them a time rebate. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 1, 638-639)

However, this verse is applicable for the poor debtors and should not apply to those rich debtors who now a days obtain huge loans and then due to the trickery and loopholes in the judicial system get their loans written off.  They will be held accountable to their deceit and foul play not only in this world but the in the hereafter too,
May Allah help us understand Qur'an and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'an

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | Reference: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More