Q&A: Oppression


Question: I borrowed a substantial amount of money for an investment which unfortunately collapsed. The lender is demanding immediate payment as the loan period has elapsed. While my business is doing well, I am only able to maintain my current expenses, which have always been high due to my lifestyle. The lender is now telling everyone he meets that I am a zaalim (oppressor). I am deeply offended…… Please advise



Answer: The person who lent you the money did a great favour to you. You should be very grateful for his noble gesture. Part of the gratitude is that you pay him back the money on time. A debt is an extremely serious matter, which unfortunately many people take very lightly. Hazrat Abu Musa Ashari (radiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “After the major sins which Allah Ta’ala has forbidden (such as shirk, adultery, etc), the greatest sin is that a person dies leaving behind a debt but leaves no assets to pay it off” (Abu Dawood). Other Ahadith mention the following about  debts:

* A person will not enter Jannah until his debts are paid.

* Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) refused to perform the Janazah salaah of a person who passed away without having paid his debts and did not leave assets to pay the debts off.

* All the sins of a martyr are forgiven except debts.

Delaying of Payment

Furthermore Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has clearly declared: “The delaying of payment by a wealthy person is zulm (oppression).” Your “high expenses” to maintain a luxurious lifestyle is no excuse to delay payment. To delay payment to one’s creditors but at the same time continue driving expensive cars, going on holidays, having lavish weddings and undertaking non-essential expenses is tantamount to zulm. Remember that zulm, in any form, has disastrous consequences in this world and the Hereafter. When a person continues to perpetrate zulm on others, it eventually rebounds in different ways and makes one’s life a misery. Rasululullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has warned: “Fear the curse of the oppressed one for verily there is no barrier between it and Allah Ta’ala (i.e. it is certainly answered).” Hence one should be extremely particular about refraining from all forms of zulm.

If you were living under Islamic rule, the Qazi would have forced you to sell your house, car, all luxury items, all your clothing except for two sets and you will only be allowed to keep enough to fulfil the most basic needs. You should therefore make it your first priority to pay off your debts. Allah Ta’ala will grant you barakah in your sustenance and remove your difficulties.

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