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Remission of the Poor Debtor

1) Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that in the time of Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) a man suffered loss in fruits he had bought and his debt increased; so Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) told (the people) to give him charity and they gave him charity, but that was not enough to pay the debt in full, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said to his creditors: “Take what you find, you will have nothing but that (alms).”

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) heard the voices of altercation of two disput­ants at the door; both the voices were quite loud. The one demanded some remission and desired that the other one should show leniency to him, whereupon the (other one) was saying: By Allah, I will not do that. Then there came Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) to them and said: “Where is he who swears by Allah that he would not do good?” He said: “Messenger of Allah, it is I.” So, he may have as he desires.


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‘Abdullah b. Ka‘b b. Malik reported from his father that he pressed in the mosque lbn Abu Hadrad for the payment of the debt that he owed to him during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam). (In this altercation) their voices became loud until Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) heard them, while he was in the house, so Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) came out towards them, and he lifted the curtain of his apartment and he called upon Ka‘b b. Malik and said: O Ka‘b. He said: “At thy beck and call, Allah’s Messenger.” He pointed out with the help of his hand to remit half of the loan due to him. Ka‘b said: “Allah’s Messenger I am ready to do that,” whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said (to Ibn Abu Hadrad): “Stand up and make him the payment (of the rest).”

2) Hudhaifa reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: The angels took away the soul of a person who had lived among people who were before you. They (the angels) said: “Did you do anything good?” He said: “No.” They said: “Try to recall.” He said: “I used to lend to people and order my servants to give respite to one in circumstances of hardship and give allowance to the solvent.” Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, said (to the angels “You should ignore (his failings).” 

‘Abdullah b. Abu Qatada reported that Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) demanded (the payment of) his debt from his debtor but he disappeared; later on he found him and he said: By God, I am in distress. Upon this he (Qatada) said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “He who loves that Allah saves him from the torments of the Day of Resurrection should give respite to the insolvent or remit (his debt).”

3) ‘Ubada b. al-Walid b. Ubada b. Samit reported: I and my father set out in search of knowledge to a tribe of the Ansar before their death (i.e. before the Companions of the Holy Prophet left the world) and I was the first to meet Abu Yasar, a Companion of Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and there was a young man with him who carried the record of letters with him and there was a mantle prepared by the tribe of Ma‘afiri upon him. And his servant too had a Ma‘afiri mantle over him. My father said to him: My uncle, I see the signs of anger or that of agony on your face. He said: Yes, such and such person, the son of so and so, of the tribe of Harami owed me a debt. I went to his family, extended salutations and said: Where is he? They said: He is not here. Then came out to me his son who was at the threshold of his youth. I said to him: Where is your father? He said: No sooner did he hear your sound than he hid himself behind my mother’s bedstand. I said to him: Walk out to me, for I know where you are. He came out. I said to him: What prompted you to hide yourself from me? He said: By God, whatever I would say to you would not be a lie. By Allah, I fear that I should tell a lie to you and in case of making promise with you I should break it, as you are the Companion of Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam). The fact is that I was hard up in regard to money. I said: Do you adjure by Allah? He said: I adjure by Allah. I said: Do you adjure by Allah? He said: “I adjure by Allah.” I said: “Do you adjure by Allah?” He said: “I adjure by Allah.” Then he brought his promissory note and he wrote off (the debt) with his hand and said: Make payment when you find yourself solvent enough to pay me back; if you are not, then there is no liability upon you. These two eyes of mine saw, and he (Abdu‘l Yasar) placed his fingers upon his eyes and these two ears of mine heard and my heart retained, and he pointed towards his heart that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: He who gives time to one who is financially hard up (in the payment of debt) or writes off his debt, Allah will provide him His shadow. I said to him: “My uncle: if you get the cloak of your servant and you give him your two clothes, or take his two clothes of Ma‘afir and give him your cloak, then there would be one dress for you and one for him.” He wiped my head and said: “O Allah, bless the son of my brother, O, son of my brother, these two very eyes of mine saw and these two ears of mine listened to and this heart of mine retained this, and he pointed towards the heart that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: Feed them (the servants) and clothe them (the serv­ants) what you wear, and if I give him the goods of the world, it is easy for me than this that he should take my virtues on the Day of Resurrec­tion. . . .”

4) Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) commanded to make deductions in the payment of that stricken with a calamity.

 

Source: Economic Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): A Select Anthology of Hadith Literature on Economics, Muhammad Akram Khan. Republished with permission.