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70. Loans

Allah, the Wise, has said:

مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضاً حَسَناً

“Who is it that will lend unto Allah a goodly loan…”1

Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said:

مَكْتُوبٌ عَلَى بَابِ الْجَنَّةِ الصَّدَقَةُ بِعَشَرَةٍ وَ الْقَرْضُ بِثَمَانِيَةَ عَشَرَ

“It is written upon the door of Paradise: The reward for (giving) charity is ten times and that of (extending) loans is eighteen times”2

Short Explanation

Providing loans to those in need is a sign of generosity. Since the problems of the underprivileged are numerous, it is essential to be regardful of and considerate towards them.

The importance of giving loans can be comprehended by the fact that lending money to a Muslim brother is regarded as more virtuous than giving him charity; thus ensuring that the society does not get entangled in interest and usury.

God increases the livelihood and enhances the moral excellences of one, who lends money to others; whereas he, who despite possessing the means to lend money to other, refrains from doing so, shall find himself afflicted with poverty and indigence.

1) Abu Dahdaah

When the verse,

مَّن ذَا الَّذِى يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَة

Who is it that will lend unto Allah a goodly loan, so that He may give it increase manifold?”3,

was revealed, Abu Dahdaah4 said: O’ Prophet of God! May I be made your ransom! How is it that while God is Independent and Needless, He seeks from us a loan?

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) replied: It is because He desires to make you enter Paradise by means of this.

Abu Dahdaah asked: If I give my God a loan, do you guarantee Paradise for me?

Yes. Whoever gives God a loan, God shall recompense him in Paradise, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) replied.

Abu Dahdaah continued: Would my wife, Umme Dahdaah be with me in Paradise?

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) said: Yes.

Abu Dahdaah persisted: Would it be that my daughter too shall be with me in Paradise?

This time, as the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) replied in the affirmative, Abu Dahdaah said to him (peace be upon him and his holy progeny): Place your hand upon my hand to confirm what you have just stated!

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) gave him his hand, whereupon he said: I have nothing but two gardens and I lend both of them to God.

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) however advised: Keep one for yourself and lend the other.

When he heard this, Abu Dahdaah said: I take you, the Prophet of God, to be my witness that I have given the best of the two gardens as loan to God.

That garden contained six hundred date palms!

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) said to him: God has granted you Paradise in exchange for it.

When Abu Dahdaah informed his wife of the incident, she said to him: May God make blessed that which you have purchased for yourself.5

2) He Repaid the Loan of the One in Debt

One day, Imam Zainul A’abideen (peace be upon him) visited Muhammad Ibn Usaamah, who was sick. The Imam (peace be upon him) observed that he was weeping and so asked: How do you feel?

Ibn Usaamah replied: I am in debt (and I am worried about its repayment).

The Imam (peace be upon him) enquired: How much is your debt?

Fifteen thousand dinars, he replied, upon which the Imam (peace be upon him) declared: I shall pay off your debt (and he paid it off).6

3) The Fruits of Granting Respite to the Debtor

Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) has stated: One who desires that God shelters him on the Day when there shall be no shelter save His, should either grant respite to one, who owes money to him or relinquish the money that is owed to him.

Once on an extremely hot day, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), while sheltering himself from the sun by means of his hands said: Who is it that desires to be sheltered from the intense heat of Hell? He repeated this sentence three times and on all the three occasions the people said: We, O’ Prophet of God!

He (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) then said: One, who grants respite (in the repayment of debt) to his debtor or relinquishes the money that is owned to him by an indigent person (shall be sheltered from the severe heat of Hell).7

4) The Ignorant Debtor

On the night of his ascension, one of the scenes that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) witnessed was of a person, who was attempting to pick up a bundle of firewood. Despite trying, when he would be unable to do so, more firewood would be added to the bundle!

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) asked Jibraeel: Who is this person? Jibraeel replied: This person was in debt and desired to repay it but could not do so, and so he took another loan, making further additions to burden of his debts.8

5) The Debtor and the Prayer for the Deceased

Mua'wiyah Ibn Wahab narrates:

I said to Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him): We have heard that once, a person from amongst the Ansaar died while in a state of debt; the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) refused to offer the prayers over him saying: “First clear off his debts and then offer prayers over him”

Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) said: What you have heard is true and correct. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) acted in this manner in order so that the people do not take their debts lightly.

The Imam (peace be upon him) then continued: The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), Amirul Mu'mineen, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace be upon them) – all of them died while in a state of debt and all their debts were then paid off. Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him) sold the garden of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) for three hundred thousand dirhams and paid off his debts; Imam Hasan (peace be upon him) sold Amirul Mu'mineen’s (peace be upon him) property for five hundred thousand dirhams and cleared the debts of his father; for three years, during the season of Hajj, Amirul Mu'mineen (peace be upon him) would call out: “Whoever has lent money to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) should come to me so that I can clear the loan.9

  • 1. Holy Qur'an, ch. Al-Baqarah (2), vs. 245.
  • 2. Jaame' Al-Sa'adaat, vol. 2, pg. 159.
  • 3. Holy Qur'an, ch. Al-Baqarah (2), vs. 245.
  • 4. His name was Thaabit and possessed a strong faith. In the battle of Uhud, when the rumour spread that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) had been martyred subsequent to which the Muslims began to flee, he shouted out: If Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) has been killed, the God of Muhammad is still alive. Fight the enemies of Islam for God is your Helper. Safinah al-Bihaar, under ‘دحدح’.
  • 5. U’nwaan al-Kalaam, pg. 175.
  • 6. Shanidanihaa-e-Taareekh, pg. 146; Mahajjah al-Baidhaa, vol. 4, pg. 234.
  • 7. I’lm-e-Akhlaaq-e-Islami, vol. 2, pg. 214.
  • 8. Namunah-e-Ma’arif, vol. 5, pg. 253; L’aali al-Akhbaar.
  • 9. Safinah al-Bihaar, vol. 1, pg. 477.

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