Fruits for the Week

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We find it strange that the longest verse in the Noble Qur’an is the verse talking about the issue of debt.

Why is not it a verse about prayer or fasting or judgement? When trade became widespread and people’s interactions were strengthened, many problems set in as a result.

Blessed is the All-Knowing, All-Aware as Muslim societies today live in a wonderful manner; a people in love with their religious institutions, and a religion showing compassion through every atom of its laws.

But at this point in time, the basics of this religion are being forgotten most especially with respect to its rulings and social interactions. The bulk of court records in the Islamic world are full with thousands of litigations that have to do with debts.

Most of these matters go on for year waiting for a judgement to be entered; and rights are wasted in the years these matters go on. The effect of that is that hearts of the people will be filled with rancour and malice that can lead to murderous crimes.

The verses of debt in Surah Al-Baqarah contains some counsel and rulings which if we were to apply them as required, we would become safe from what goes on today in people’s interactions with one another; interactions that are not proper, that can uproot the fabric of the society and cause trial and evil traits therein.

Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an: O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down in justice between you. Let not the scribe refuses to write as Allah has taught him, so let him write. Let him (the debtor) who incurs the liability dictate and he fear Allah, his Lord, and diminish not anything of what he owes.

But if the debtor is of poor understanding, or weak, or is unable himself to dictate, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And get two
witnesses out of your own men. And if there are no two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses.” (Al-Baqarah: 282) 

The verse makes it imperative that transactions involving debt must be put into writing – no matter how little. There is wisdom in that. Due to its small nature at times, some people refrain from putting it into writing but when there is the need to return the rights back to their owner, the creditor will not see the debt as being small or not. What he wants is that he should have his right back even if it were a dime.

The Verse stipulates that all the parties to a debt transaction must comply with its rulings; they are the writer, the witnesses and the parties to the transactions (that is, the creditor and the debtor). The verse specifically goes tough on the witnesses that they should not fail to render the testimony as demanded by the religion.

That is the problem these days when one wants to cash a cheque, a conveyance or a promissory note. The verse also charges those in the official position to safeguard the writers of the debt and the witnesses. The verse thus charges all on fear of Allah.

Writing down the debt and spreading this practice in society is an evidence of piety and obedience to Allah. People in their interactions with other people, will love to interact with anyone who will not deny them of their rights.

As for the person who devours people’s wealth unjustly; who trades in falsehood and makes frivolous claims on the people, they will avoid him. This is what is called in some customs, a portion that devours the rights of the Prophets.

(Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)


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