Religious authorities cautioned Muslims not to fall into the debt trap, urging them not to be influenced by the lavish lifestyle because living in this world should be modest.
The Imams in the Friday sermon said, “We should not be too lustful because being in debt is easy and convenient but to settle what is owed can be arduous for some”.
They said people get in debt to follow current trends or living the lavish lifestyle and spend beyond their means. “They also become indebted to buy items that are not crucial or not part of their daily needs. Some people are also not wise in managing their expenses and spending,” the Imams said.
To take light of this issue will not only trouble the debtor in the world but also would drag the person to loss and hardship in the days of hereafter when he/she passes away before being able to pay off the debt. The responsibility of settling such debts will fall on the heir, the Imams said.
“When a person dies before settling a debt, all his good deeds and virtues will be used to pay off all the debts. If it is not enough, then all the sins and wrongdoings committed by the creditor will be heeded to the debtor”.
The Imams added, Islam teaches the Ummah means and ways to manage wealth and expenses through moderation. If we follow and embrace Islamic teachings in managing our expenses and income, we will not be in debt.
Although Islam does not prohibit its Ummah from incurring debt, the habit is not encouraged. Islam advises people to stay away from debt. Hence, if one owes money, he or she must have the intention to settle the amount owed and should stay out of debt, the Imams said.
There are people who refuse to pay debt resulting in fights and hostilities or delay in paying off the debt although they are financially-capable of settling. “Procrastinating or delaying in paying a debt for various reasons while he or she is able to pay the creditor, is an unjust act,” the Imams said.
“Acts of oppression towards fellow human beings are among the matters destabilising family harmony, living in a community and in a nation and cause quarrels among family members, siblings, relatives, friends, neighbours and so on. Acts of oppression are sinful and prayers of the oppressed are answered”.
There are also people who are not able to settle debt due to financial constraints. But they must strive and seek ways to pay the creditors. Allah the Almighty will ease and assist those who wish to settle their debt, the Imams said.