What is the position of a person who does not pay his debt deliberately though he can in the hereafter?

The Details of the Question

What is the position of a person who does not pay his debt deliberately though he can in the hereafter?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is oppression not to pay one’s debt though he can; it is related to violation of others’ rights and necessitates penalty in the hereafter.

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said,

"It is oppression for a rich person to delay paying his debt. If the receivable of a person is transferred to a rich person, he should accept it." (Bukhari, Hawalah 1-2; Istiqrad, 12; Muslim, Musaqat, 33; Abu Dawud, Buyu', 10; Nasai, Buyu, 100, 101; Tirmidhi, Buyu', 68; Ibn Majah, Sadaqat, 8; Malik, Buyu', 84; Darimi, Buyu', 48; Ahmad b. Hanbal II, 71, 245, 254, 260)

The word matl (delaying) mentioned in the hadith is used in the sense of delaying one’s debt, stalling a person and procrastinating. Qurtubi states that this word means "not to pay one’s debt though he can".

It is stated in the verse that it is oppression not to pay one’s debt though he can and to delay it.

Some scholars say this sentence means "it is oppression to delay one’s debt to a rich person". In that case, it is necessary to understand the hadith as follows: "Since it is oppression to delay one’s debt to a rich person, it is bigger oppression to delay one’s debt to a poor person." However, as it is indicated above, a great majority of scholars accepts the first meaning and understands it as follows: "It is oppression for a rich person to delay paying his debt."

Once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) borrowed a young camel. Then, camels of sadaqah were sent to him. He ordered me to pay his debt (young camel) to the person. I said to the Prophet, "I could not find a nice camel except one that is six years old." Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Give it to the man. The best one among people is the one who pays his debt in the best way." (Muslim, Musaqat, 118, 128; Tirmidhi, Buyu', 73; Nasai, Buyu, 64; Ibn Majah, Tijarah, 62; Darimi, Buyu', 31; Malik, Buyu', 89; Ahmad b. Hanbal, VI, 375, 390)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) never led the janazah prayer of a person who was in debt. Once, the janazah of a person was brought. 

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked,

"Does he owe anything?" They said,

"He owes two dinars." He said,

"Perform the janazah prayer of your friend."

Thereupon, Qatada, from Ansar, said,

"O Messenger of Allah! I undertake to pay those two dinars." Hz Prophet (pbuh) led the janazah prayer of the man after that.

When conquests increased, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

"I am closer to the believers than their own selves; so whoever dies leaving a debt (among them), I will pay his debt; whoever leaves inheritance, his inheritance will be given to his relatives." (Bukhari, Faraid 15; Muslim, Faraid, 16; Abu Dawud, Buyu', 9; Tirmidhi, Janaiz, 69; Ibn Majah, Muqaddima,11; Sadaqat 13; Nasai, Janaiz, 67; Iydayn, 22)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) bought a calf from a caravan though he did not have any money on him. Somebody offered to buy the calf giving him a profit. The Messenger of Allah sold it. He gave the profit to the poor women of Sons of Abdulmuttalib. Then, he said, "I will not buy anything from now on when I do not have any money on me." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, I, 235, 323).

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