Fatwa: # 45425
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Country:
Date: 14th September 2020

Title

Should I keep my earnings below the minimum threshold in order for my interest-bearing loan to be waved off?

Question

Asalamu alaykum

My inquiry is regarding students loan. Unfortunately i took out a student loan whilst at university. Now i have come to realise that it was wrong for me to take out such a loan because of the interest they charge on repayment. However this loan is only repayable in the UK if you are earning above 19k. Also if the loan is not paid within 25 years then it is written off. So if i decide to keep my salary below 19k for the next 25 years then this loan will be written off without me paying any of the interest and loan. So my question is will i be sinful for taking out such a loan even though I dont legally pay it back.

Jazakallahu khairan

Answer

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

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

Respected brother,

 

We commend you on your consciousness to adhere to the teachings and commands of Shari’ah. We make dua that Allah Ta’ala keeps you steadfast on Deen.

 

However, it is important to understand that interest is such a sin that Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam) has not only forbidden Muslims from giving and taking interest, but also forbidden them from writing down the transaction of interest and witnessing it.

 

عن جابر قال لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم آكل الربا وموكله وكاتبه وشاهديه وقال هم سواء. (صحيح مسلم (3/ 1219)[1]

Translation: Hazrath Jabir (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Nabi (Sallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam) cursed those who are involved in usury; whether it is the person who is giving usury, receiving it, writing the transaction or witnessing it. (Muslim)

 

The above Hadith indicates that any direct involvement in an interest-bearing contract is sinful. Therefore, despite the loan being waved off after a period of 25 years by keeping your earnings below the minimum threshold, you will still be involved in an interest-bearing contract for this lengthy duration.

 

However, you entered into the interest-bearing contract prior to having knowledge of its prohibition. The solution upon gaining knowledge of its prohibition, is for you to now come out of the contract as soon as possible.

 

Interest on a student loan is charged till the day the loan is paid in full. Hence, one should make a firm intention and effort to pay off the loan as soon as possible. One should try to pay off the loan in a lump sum immediately if possible. This may be done by asking close friends and family for non-interest based loans or any other suitable manner.

 

You may also consider the option of keeping your earnings below the minimum threshold. However, you should be sincere and true to your word in this regard. If you feel that you will be unable to resist future job opportunities and promotions that may arise, you should decide against the latter approach. 

 

Consider the following incident. On one occasion Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked for a verdict regarding two tribes who had entered into an interest-bearing contract prior to its prohibition. They enquired whether the contract should be upheld as is, or the principle amount only should be returned. Allah Ta’ala then revealed the following verse:

 

  يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وذروا ما بقي من الربا إن كنتم مؤمنين. فإن لم تفعلوا فأذنوا بحرب من الله ورسوله وإن تبتم فلكم رءوس أموالكم لا تظلمون ولا تظلمون.(البقرة:278-279)

Translation: O you who believe, fear Allah and give up what still remains of ribā, if you are believers. But if you do not (give it up), then listen to the declaration of war from Allah and His Messenger. However, if you repent, yours is your principal. Neither wrong, nor be wronged. (Al-Baqara:278-279)

 

We understand from the above verse that if one was not aware of the prohibition at the time of the contract, then one will InshAllah be free of the sin and punishment of being involved in the sin as long as one makes the effort to absolve oneself from the act.

 

However, at the same time, despite the fact that one was ignorant of the severity of his actions at the initial state, one should seek forgiveness for his action and also continue seeking forgiveness for still being involved in this action. By carrying out the above advises, we hope that Allah Ta’ala forgives one and absolves one from the sin of being involved in an interest-bearing contract.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

 

Abdullah Noorgat

 

Student Darul Ifta

 

South Africa

 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 


[1] صحيح مسلم (3/ 1219)

(1598) حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الصَّبَّاحِ، وَزُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، وَعُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، قَالُوا: حَدَّثَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ: «لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ آكِلَ الرِّبَا، وَمُؤْكِلَهُ، وَكَاتِبَهُ، وَشَاهِدَيْهِ»، وَقَالَ: «هُمْ سَوَاءٌ

 

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