Took a Riba-Based Loan and Is Unable to Repay
Fatwa No: 428284

Question

Assalaamu Alaykum,I used to live in Uk. My visa expired and i had to leave the country . while coming back i took out a loan of £20k from UK bank to do some business back home . I always intended to payback the bank once i have the business established.My partner cheated on me and stole all of the money and ran abroad. Now i am broke and i fear if i die i will have all of that debt on me. Will i be accountable for it on Judgement day or my partner as he cheated and stole all of the money from me

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

You should know that taking a Riba-based loan is one of the gravest sins. It is impermissible to take such a loan unless there is a valid necessity like the fear of death.

If you took a Riba-based loan and there was no necessity for it, it is incumbent on you to repent to Allah, The Almighty.

In any case, you have to return the principal amount of the loan that you took; it is a debt that you owe, and it is incumbent on you to repay it whenever you can afford it. If your wealth is not sufficient to pay off the debt, and you are able to work and earn money, it is obligatory on you to do so to repay the debt. Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Ash-Shaybaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Al-Kasb: "If a person is in debt, it is obligatory on him to earn enough money to repay his debt because paying off the debt is an individual obligation required of him." [End of quote]

If you are unable to pay off your debt after utilizing all the available means and your intention was to repay it, you bear no sin for that. If you die before repaying it, we hope that you would not bear the consequences of this debt in the Hereafter.

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat-h Al-Baari: "It was narrated on the authority of Maymoonah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: 'There is no Muslim who takes out a loan and Allah knows that he intends to repay it but that Allah will repay it on his behalf in this worldly life.' [Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan and Al-Haakim] The apparent indication of the Hadeeth refers to the famous Fiqhi issue of a debtor who dies before repaying his debt without any neglect on his part, as is the case if he becomes insolvent or dies abruptly while having hidden wealth, for example, and his intention was to repay his debt, and it was not repaid on his behalf in this worldly life. The Hadeeth narrated by Maymoonah may be interpreted according to what is common in this regard. The preponderant opinion is that he will not be held accountable for the non-repayment in the Hereafter in this case..." [End of quote]

As for a deceitful person who cheats people out of their money, he is sinful in all cases.

Allah Knows best.

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