Fatwa No : 343042
Prophet's mortgaged shield was debt settlement
Fatwa Date : Sha'baan 11, 1438 / 7-5-2017
On my last visit to your website, I have seen a strange hadith and want to know its legitimacy because that hadith states that the Prophet died whilst he was indebted to a Jew. Is that true? Then what about the hadith that says that even if a person died a martyr while owing something to others, they will get the punishment for that. The hadiths are:
‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated, “The Prophet died while his shield was mortgaged with a Jew for 30 Saa’ of wheat (a Saa’ equals approximately one-and-a-half kilograms).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
The Prophet said, “The soul of a believer remains hanging with his debt till it is paid off (on his behalf after his death).” [Ahmad, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah]
The Prophet ( ) also said, ”Every sin of the martyr is forgiven except debt.” [Muslim]
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 is His slave and Messenger.
This hadeeth – we mean the hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah – is authentic without any doubt, and it is at the highest degree of authenticity as it was agreed upon by both Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
Its content is also authentic: that the Prophet died while his shield was mortgaged with a Jew in return for a debt.
This does not contradict the two ahaadeeth which you mentioned, as the scholars mentioned several answers to reconcile between them; the most apparent meaning is that the Prophet left the shield as collateral so that the creditor (the Jew) would get back his right (would keep the shield as settlement for the debt).
Al-Maawardi mentioned this, and Ibn Hajar quoted it from him in Fat-h Al-Baari.
The threat that is mentioned in the two ahaadeeth is for someone who does not leave a fulfillment for his debt.
Allah knows best.