Question:


Someone owes me money to the value of R3500 since 1983. At the time, he could
not pay me. What should he pay me in 2014? 

Should he should pay me the price of a gold coin of the same value as in
1983. Now how does this work. In addition, does it amount to interest? 

Obviously, the currency of 1983 and 2014 does not have the same value. Therefore,
should I ask him to repay me in terms of value e.g. a brick of 1983 and a
brick of 2014 differs vastly in price.

A face brick today costs R6.00 each and in 1983, it only cost 30c each.  

People tell me if he pays the R3500, the debt will be discharged.  I need an
Islamic mufti to answer. 




Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 

The attitude of your debtor is most unfortunate.

If he was a solvent debtor and he did not pay you timeously, he is guilty of negligence. An undue delay by a solvent debtor is regarded as oppression. It is stated in the Hadeeth:  

«مَطْلُ الغَنِيِّ ظُلْمٌ، فَإِذَا أُتْبِعَ أَحَدُكُمْ عَلَى مَلِيٍّ فَلْيَتْبَعْ»

صحيح البخاري. 2287

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, "It is an act of oppression on the part of a person to procrastinate in fulfilling his obligation; if the repayment of a debt due to any of you is undertaken by a rich person, you should agree to the substitution."(Bukhari- Hadeeth no.2287)

If the debtor was insolvent and experiencing financial constraints, then too he is obliged to be in communication with his creditor and request grace for which the creditor should favourably consider the request. If the insolvent debtor did not appreciate the grace and took undue advantage in repaying the debt, he will be guilty of negligence and sinful.

 We note the undertone of anger and frustration in your question for being disadvantaged by being your debt paid after a very long period of 30 years. We understand from your query that the concept of inflation should be considered to compensate you. You state a brick thirty years ago cost 30 cents and its worth is R6 today.

While we sympathise with you in your pain of being disadvantaged, we wish to point out the following:

Shariah has prohibited interest and closed all doors leading to interest.

 Riba (interest) is broadly defined as: To take money in exchange of nothing. [1]  Accordingly, if the debt is R3500, a surplus will be required as interest.

While we appreciate the rationale behind the concept of inflation and the fact that R3500 thirty years ago is worth much more today.

 However, we are faced with a situation of paying the exact amount of due without considering inflation in favour of a disadvantaged creditor or consider inflation and open the doors to interest.

In an environment infested with interest, closing all doors leading to interest have to be considered and preferred over considering inflation of debt in favour of a disadvantaged creditor. Consider the consequences of inflating the debt and the huge implications that come with it.

You referred to the analogy of the price of the brick. It may be respectfully pointed out that the example is non-analogous. A brick is a tangible item that can be returned as is. A brick is not loaned like money. A brick taken 30 years ago which was worth 30 cents, if returned, will be worth todays value of R6 and not the value of 30 years ago. There is no compensation issue in a brick.

 In the required situation, we understand these academic arguments may not avail you of your disadvantage. However, from a principle point of view, a disadvantage creditor has the right of law to extract his debt from his debtor. We cannot understand why this right was not exercised. The present disadvantage would be easily avoided.

 If you had this Shari right, why did you not exercise such a right? Now the right of Shariah (closing doors to riba) cannot be compromised in favour of you as a disadvantaged creditor. If a creditor did not exercise his Shari right, now it will be unfair to blame Shariah for his right being compromised.

Once again, we echo our sentiment of the unfortunate situation and abhor the negligence of your debtor.

Therefore, in the inquired situation you can only take R3500.

If your debtor voluntarily offers you an extra amount and you do not demand that surplus amount, you may accept that amount. That will be an expression of his grief and remorse for his for his negligence and undue delay in paying your debt.

 

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Asim Patel

Student Darul Iftaa
Venda, South Africa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net

 

 



 

 

1 وَلَيْسَ الْمُرَادُ مُطْلَقَ الْفَضْلِ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ فَإِنَّ فَتْحَ الْأَسْوَاقِ فِي سَائِرِ بِلَادِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ لِلِاسْتِفْضَالِ، وَالِاسْتِرْبَاحِ، وَإِنَّمَا الْمُرَادُ فَضْلٌ مَخْصُوصٌ فَلِذَلِكَ عَرَّفَهُ شَرْعًا بِقَوْلِهِ (فَضْلُ مَالٍ بِلَا عِوَضٍ فِي مُعَاوَضَةِ مَالٍ بِمَالٍ) أَيْ فَضْلُ أَحَدِ الْمُتَجَانِسَيْنِ عَلَى الْآخَرِ بِالْعِيَارِ الشَّرْعِيِّ أَيْ الْكَيْلِ وَالْوَزْنِ، (باب الربو) البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري. (135/6)

 

وفي الشرع فضل مال بلا عوض في معاوضة مال بمال. (البناية شرح الهداية) 260/8

 

 

KHARWASTAN

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