7 Steps to Becoming Debt-Free
by Moulana Muhammad ibn Moulana Haroon Abbasomar (D.B)
Many people, at some point in their lives end up in financial debt. Nobody likes it, but it just happens. Taking loans is perfectly permissible in Islam, as long as it doesn’t entail riba (usury) and it isn’t for a purpose that is against Islam.
Hereunder are seven ways to remove the noose of debt from our necks.
Du’as for the Fulfillment of Debts
1) Sayyidatuna Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) says: “Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) would seek refuge from debts at the end of his Salah (i.e, before the salam). When he was asked about why he did it so frequently, Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) said:
“When a man falls in to debt, he speaks lies and breaches his promises.”
(Sahih Bukhari, hadith: 832& 2397)
The words of that du’a are:
اللّٰهُمَّ إني أعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ المأْثَمِ وَالمَغْرَم
Allahumma innee a’oodhu bika minal ma-thami wal maghram
O Allah! I seek your protection from sin and debts.
Note: If one cannot recite this before the salam, one could recite it after the salam with the hope that Allah Ta’ala accepts it.
2) Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught the following du’a to Sayyiduna Mu’ad ibn Jabal (radiyallahu’anhu) for removal of debts:
اللهُمَّ مالِكَ المُلْكِ، تُؤْتِي المُلْكَ مَنْ تَشاء وَتَنْزِعُ المُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشاءُ، وَتُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشاءُ وَتُذِلُّ مَن تَشاءُ بِيَدِكَ الخَيرُ، إنَّكَ علٰى كُلّشَيءٍ قَدير، رَحْمٰنَ الدنيا وَالآخِرَة تُعْطِيهِما مَنْ تَشاءُ وَتَمْنَعُ مِنْهُما مَنْ تَشاء، اِرْحَمْنِي رَحْمَةً تُغْنِيْنِيْ بِها عَنْ رَحْمَةِ مَنْسِوَاكْ
Allahumma Malikal Mulk, Tu-til Mulka man tasha-u watanzi’ul Mulka mimman tasha-u, wa tu’izzu man tasha-u, watudhillu mahtasha-u, biyadikal khairu innaka ‘ala kulli shai-in Qadeer.
Rahmanad Dunya wal Akhirati tu’tihima man tasha-u wa tamna’u minhuma man tasha-u irhamnee Rahmatan min ‘indik, tughni nee biha ‘an Rahmati man siwak
Translation: O Allah! possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endow with honor whom You will. In Your Hand is all good. Verily, You are Able to do all things. You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the day to enter into the night (i.e. increase and decrease in the hours of the night and the day during winter and summer), You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit (measure or account). O Most Merciful of this world and the Hereafter, You give from them whatever You wish and You deprive whomsoever You wish. Shower upon me such mercy, which will make me independent from the mercy of those besides You.’
Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) said to Sayyiduna Mu’adh (radiyallahu’anhu):
“If you recite this du’a, your debts will be cleared even if they equal to mount Uhud.”
(al-Mu’jam al-saghir; see Majma’uz Zawa’id vol.10 pg.186).
Hafiz al-Haythami (rahimahullah) has classified its narrators as reliable and ‘Allamah Mundhiri (rahimahullah) has declared the chain as good. (Majma’uz Zawa’id vol.10 pg.186 & Targheeb, vol.2 pg.614)
In another narration, Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) is reported to have taught a similar du’a to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu’anhu). (Mustadrak Hakim, vol.1 pg.515) In a narration of Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abdullah ibn Sabit says: Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) would himself recite these words and give it great importance. (see Shaykh ‘Awwamah’s footnote on Majalis of Ibn Nasirud Deen, pg.201)
The words are:
اللّٰهُمَّ فارِجَ الهَمِّ كاشِفَ الغَمِّ مُجِيْبَ دَعْوَةِ المُضْطَرِّين، رَحْمٰنَ الدنيا وَالآخِرَة ورَحيمَهُما، اِرْحَمْنِي اليَومَ رَحْمَةً وَاسعَةً تُغْنِيْنِيْبِها عَنْ رَحْمَةِ مَنْ سِوَاكْ
Allahumma Farijal hammi Kashifal ghammi Mujeeba da’watil Mudtarreen, Rahmaanad Dunya wal Akhirati wa Raheemahuma irhamnil yawma Rahmatan wasi’atan tughni nee biha ‘ar Rahmati man siwak
3) Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anu) said that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) prescribed the following du’a for the settling of debts:
اللهُمَّ اكْفِنِي بِحَلالِكَ عَنْ حَرامكْ، وَأَغْنِني بِفَضْلِكَ عَمَّنْ سِواك
‘Allahummak finee bi halalika an haramik wa aghninee bi fadhlika amman siwak.’
Translation: O Allah! Let the Halal things you provide suffice me from haram, and by Your Grace, keep me independent from all besides You.
(Sunan Tirmidhi – Imam Tirmidhi rahimahullah has classified this narration as hasan (sound) – hadith 3563.)
4) In a narration of Sunan Abi Dawud, Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught an Ansari Sahabi the following du’a for the repayment of his overwhelming debts:
اللهُمَّ إنّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الهَمِّ والْحَزَن، وأعوذ بك مِنَ الْعَجزِ وَالكَسل، وأغوذ بك من الجُبْنِ والبُخْل، وأعوذ بك مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّينوَقَهْرِ الرجال
Allahumma innee a’oodhu bika minal hammi wal hazan, wa a’oodhu bika minal ajzi wal kasl, wa a’oodhu bika minal jubni wa bukhl, wa a’oodhu bika min ghalabatid dayn wa qahrir rijal.
Translation: O Allah! I seek refuge in You from worries and difficulty, and I seek refuge in You from inability and laziness, and I seek refuge in You from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek refuge in You from the dominance of debt and being subjected to man.
Note: This du’a should be recited morning and evening.
(Abu Dawud, hadith 1550)
5) Recite abundantly:
لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله
Laa Hawla walaa quwwata illa billah
(Sunan Tirmidhi and Mustadrak Hakim, see Targheeb, vol.2 pgs.444 & 617)
6) Abundant Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) is also a potent way to remove financial and other worries. (surah Nuh, Ayah: 10-11)
Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) has said: “Whoever steadily recites istighfar (like the words: Astaghfirullah) will find Allah creating ease for him from every difficulty and relief from every worry and Allah will provide sustenance for him from where he cannot fathom”
(Sunan Abi Dawud, hadith: 1513. Imam Hakim has declared this narration as sahih-authentic- see Targheeb, vol.2, pg.617)
7) Most important is one’s intention to repay the debt. The hadith promises Allah’s help for those who sincerely want to settle their debts. (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 2387, also see Targheeb, vol.2 pg.598)
May Allah Ta’ala keep us all debt free. Ameen.