Book of Asking for Loans, Paying Debts, Freezing Funds and Bankruptcy

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 46. Book of Asking for Loans, Paying Debts, Freezing Funds and Bankruptcy

 

I: Someone who buys on credit and does not have the money to pay or does not have it with him

2255. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "I went on an expedition with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, 'What is wrong with your camel? Will you sell it to me?' I replied, 'Yes,' and I sold it to him. When he reached Madina, I brought him the camel and he gave me the price."

2256. It is related that al-A'mash said, "We mentioned pledges in connection with the salam sale in the presence of Ibrahim and he said, 'Al-Aswad related to me from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, bought some food from a Jew to be paid at a later date, and left his iron armour with him as a pledge.'"

 

II: Someone taking people's property intending to repay it or destroy it

2257. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If someone takes people's property intending to repay it, Allah will repay it for him, and if someone takes it intending to destroy it, Allah will destroy him."

 

III: Paying debts

Allah Almighty says, "Allah commands you to return to their owners the things you hold on trust and, when you judge between people, to judge with justice. How excellent is what Allah exhorts you to do! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing." (4:58)

2258. It is related that Abu Dharr said, "I was with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he saw it (i.e. Uhud) and said, 'I would not like to have it turned into gold for me and then have even one dinar of it remain with me for more than three days except a dinar I might keep for paying debts.' Then he said, 'Those who have a lot (in this world) will have little (reward in the Next) except for someone who spends his money here and there, (and Abu Shihab indicated in front of him, to his right and to his left.) and they are few.' He said, 'Stay where you are,' and went forward a little way and I heard a voice and wanted to go, but then I remembered his words, 'Stay where you are until I come back to you.' When he came back, I said, 'Messenger of Allah, who was that I heard? (or he said, 'What was the voice I heard?') He said, 'Did you hear something?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Jibril, peace be upon him, came to me and said, "Any of your community who die without associating anything with Allah will enter the Garden." I said, "Even if he does such-and-such actions?" He said, "Yes."'"

2259. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If I had the equivalent of Uhud in gold, I would not be happy for three days to pass with any of it still in my possession except for something I might keep to pay off a debt."

Salih and 'Uqayl related it from az-Zuhri.

 

IV: Asking for a loan of camels

2260. It is related from Abu Hurayra that a man came to ask the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to settle his debt and spoke coarsely to him. His Companions went for him and the Messenger of Allah. may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Leave him alone. The one with a right is allowed to speak. Buy him a camel and give it to him.' They said, "Messenger of Allah, we can only find one which is better than the age that this one warrants.' He said, 'Buy it and give it to him. 'The best of you is he who is most generous in settlement.'"

 

V: Acting well when asking for debts to be paid

2261. It is related from Hudhayfa that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A man died and was questioned. He said, 'I used to buy and sell with people and I used to make things easy for the wealthy and give those in difficulty time to pay,' and he was forgiven."

Abu Mas'ud said, "I heard this from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace."

 

VI: Can one give an older (camel) than the one he owes?

2262. It is related from Abu Hurayra "A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to ask (for a camel) he owed him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Give it to him.' They said, 'We can only find one which is better than the age that this one warrants.' The man said, 'You have given me full payment. May Allah give you full payment!' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Give it to him. 'The best people are those who are most generous in settlement.'"

 

VII: Settling debts in a good manner

2263. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, owed a man a camel of a certain age and he came to him to ask for it. He said, 'Give it to him.' They looked for one of that age, but only found one older. He said, 'Give it to him.' He said, 'You have given me full payment. May Allah give you full payment!' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The best of you is he who is most generous in settlement.'"

2264. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "I came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was in the mosque. (Mis'ar said, 'I think that he said, 'in the forenoon') He said, 'Pray two rak'ats.' He owed me for a debt which he paid me, giving me extra."

 

VIII: When someone pays less than is due or has his debt discharged, that is permitted

2265. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said that his father was killed in the Battle of Uhud as a martyr while he had debts. (He said,) "The creditors were insistent about their rights and I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he asked them to accept the dates of my garden and discharge my father, but they refused. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not give them my garden. He said, 'We will come to you in the morning.' He came to us early in the morning and walked about amid the palm-trees and prayed for blessing in their fruit. I cut them paid them off and we still had some of its dates left."

 

IX: When someone settles an account (by their having an equivalent debt) or giving dates for dates or something else without measurement or weighing

2266. It is related from Wahb ibn Kaysan that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah informed him that his father died and left a debt of thirty wasqs to a man of the Jews. Jabir asked for time to pay and the man refused to give him it, so Jabir spoke to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to intercede with him on his behalf. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went and spoke to the Jew about taking the fruit of his palm-trees in return for what he was owed, but he refused to do so. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then went in among the date-palms and walked about among them and then said to Jabir, 'Cut them and give him what is due him.' So he cut them after the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had left and he gave him a full thirty wasqs and had seventeen wasqs over. Jabir came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to tell him what had happened and found him praying 'Asr. When he finished, he told him about the surplus and he said, 'Tell that to Ibn al-Khattab.' Jabir went to 'Umar and told him and 'Umar said to him, 'I knew when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, walked in it, that it would be blessed."

 

X: Someone seeking refuge from debts

2267. It is related that 'A'isha reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,used to make supplication in the prayer: "O Allah, I seek refuge with You from wrong action and debt." Someone remarked to him, "How often you seek refuge from debt, Messenger of Allah!" He said, "When a man is in debt, when he speaks, he lies and when he makes a promise, he breaks it."

 

XI: The prayer over someone who died leaving debts

2268. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If anyone leaves money, it is for his heirs, but if anyone dies leaving weak dependants (or debts) it is our duty (to take care of them)."

2269. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is no believer but that I am closer to him than anyone both in this world and the next. If you wish, recite, 'The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves.' (33:6) If any believer dies and leaves money, it goes to whatever legal heirs he has. But if anyone leaves a debt or a needy family, I am the one to come to. I am his guardian."

 

XII: Any delay in payment on the part of a rich person is injustice

2270. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Delay in payment on the part of a rich man is injustice."

 

XIII: The person with a right can speak

It is mentioned that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Any delay in payment on the part of someone who has the means opens the way for his punishment and for damage to his reputation." Sufyan said that "his reputation" means that his delay in payment is talked about and "his punishment" means his imprisonment.

2271. It is related from Abu Hurayra that a man came to ask the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to pay his debts and spoke coarsely to him. His Companions went for him and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Leave him alone. The one with a right is allowed to speak."

 

XIV: When someone finds his property with a bankrupt person to whom he has sold it, lent it, or entrusted it, he has the greatest right to it

Al-Hasan said, "When someone is bankrupt and that is ascertained [by the judge], he is not permitted to set slaves free nor to buy or sell."

Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab said that 'Uthman judged that if someone took part of what he was due before the person became bankrupt, that was his. If someone recognises his goods, he has most right to them.

2272. It is related that Abu Hurayra was heard to say that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said - or he said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'If anyone finds any of his property with another man, or person, who has become bankrupt, he has more right to it than other people." (Muwatta, Book 31, 88)

 

XV: Someone delaying a creditor for a day or so and not thinking that that constituted delay in payment

Jabir said, "When the creditors of my father were insistent in demanding their rights in respect of the debts of my father, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked them to accept the fruits of my garden, but they refused. So he did not give them the fruits of the garden nor have them picked. He said, 'I will come to you tomorrow.' He came to us in the morning and prayed that its fruits would be blessed, and so I paid them off."

 

XVI: Someone selling the property of a bankrupt or poor man and then dividing the proceeds among the creditors or giving it to him so that he could spend it on himself

2273. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "A man set free a slave of his by tadbir (to be set free on his death) and then became in need of money. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took the slave and said, 'Who will buy him from me?' Nu'aym ibn 'Abdullah purchased him and he took its price and gave it to the owner."

 

XVII: When something is lent for a fixed term, or selling on credit for a fixed term

Ibn 'Umar said that there is no harm in a loan for a fixed term, even if someone gives more dirhams (in repayment), as long as the creditor has not stipulated that. 'Ata' and 'Amr ibn Dinar said, "He has the loan for that fixed term."

2274. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "He mentioned a man among the Tribe of Israel who asked another of the Tribe of Israel to lend him something, and he gave it to him for a fixed term." The hadith... (see 1427)

 

XVIII: Interceding to ask for a reduction in a debt

2275. It is related that Jabir said, "My father died leaving children and debts. I asked those who were owed something to reduce some of his debt, but they refused to do so. Therefore I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked him to intercede with them. They still refused. He said, 'Go and put your dates into their different categories, the 'adhq ibn Zayd (inferior dates) on one side, the layyin on one side, and the 'ajwa (excellent dates) on another side and then call them together and wait until I come.' I did that and then he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came and sat where they were. He measured for each man until he had his full amount, and the dates still remained as if they had not been touched at all. I was on a raid together with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, riding a camel we had which was tired out and caused me to fall behind. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, struck it with a stick from behind and said, 'Sell it to me and you can ride it back to Madina.' When were near, I asked his permission, saying, 'Messenger of Allah, I am newly married.' He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Who have you married, a virgin or someone who has already been married?' I said, 'Someone who has already been married. 'Abdullah died leaving young daughters, so I am marrying a woman who has been married before so that she can teach them and discipline them.' Then he said, 'Go to your family.' I went and told my uncle about selling the camel and he rebuked me. I told him about the slowness of the camel and what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had done and how he had hit it. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came, I took the camel to him in the morning and he gave me the price of the camel, the camel itself and my share of the booty along with everyone else."

 

XIX: What is forbidden in respect of wasting wealth

The words of Allah Almighty, "Allah does not love corruption," (2:205) and "Allah does not uphold the actions of corrupters." (10:81) He says, "Do your prayers instruct you that we should abandon what our fathers worshipped or stop doing whatever we want to with our wealth?" (11:87) And He says, "Do not hand over to the simple-minded any property of theirs ..." (4:5) The prohibition is contained in this together with the prohibition of treachery.

2276. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "A man told the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "I am often duped in transactions.' He said, 'When you buy, say, "No cheating"' The man used to say this."

2277. It is related that Al-Mughira ibn Shu'ba said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah has forbidden you: disobedience to your mothers, burying your daughters alive, refusing to fulfil your obligations and taking what is not lawfully yours. He dislikes you to indulge in useless talk, asking too much and wasting wealth."

 

XX: The slave is a shepherd of his master's property and he should only use it with his permission

2278. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say. "Each of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock. An Imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for those in his care. A man is a shepherd in his family and is responsible for those in his care. The woman is a shepherd in her husband's house and is responsible for those in her care. The servant is a shepherd of his master's property and is responsible for what is in his care." He said, "I heard this from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I think that he also said, 'A man is a shepherd of his father's property and is responsible for what is in his care. All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock.'"