Q&A (Fatwa)

#1198: Ruling on the Value on What to Pay Back on Money Borrowed after a Long Period of Time


As-Salaam alaikum


I have a question assuming someone borrow someone money about 40 years ago(10,000 naira). Is he going to pay back that same amount or is going to pay the value of that amount now.


Wa Alaykum Salām Warahmatullāh Wabarakātuh.

Alhamdulillāh. May Allāh grant you Tawfīq and Sadād Āmīn.

As for this, there has been a difference of opinion among the Fuqahaa. The position of Abu Yusuf among the Hanafis, is that he pays back the value of what he borrowed. He argued that the one thing important in wealth is its value and that if not for that, the money would not have been borrowed in the first place.
Let him then return what he borrowed of value. Similar to this position is that of Ar-Rahuni Al-Maaliki that he pays back in value only where the drop in value has been very very high. Then in paying back that value is paying back the debt, otherwise, it will be a great loss for the one who borrowed out. But the position of the Majority of the Fuqahaa, and the official position of the four Schools: the Hanafis, the Malikis, the Shaafi’is and the Hanbalis is that what is obligatory upon him is the payment of what he borrowed and not its value.
They argued that there is no evidence to the contrary in the Shar’iah and the fact that Allah commanded and encouraged the one who is Creditor to extend the term for the one who is debtor and is not able to meet his term due to stringency in means and difficulty of situation and did not refer to the rising and falling of the value, it shows that this was not a consideration.
There is no doubt that the later position is that which is right. That there is no obligation on the one who borrowed to pay anything greater than the amount he borrowed. Imaam Muwaffaquddin Ibn Qudaamah said in Al-Mughni: “Items that are borrowed are returned in like, in things that are likened one for the other. The situation is same whether the value of it has appreciated or depreciated, or remains the same” We are aware that the Ulama of this Era also differed on currencies with respect to this matter under discussion. Of them are those who use the Fatwah of Abu Yusuf regarding the change of currency value and hold that payment should be made in value. Of them are those who hold that payment be made in value only if the depreciation is very high, in accordance to Ar-Rahunis Fatwah. And there are those whose position aligns with the Fuqahaa of the four schools.
Know however, may Allah illumine my heart and yours, that regardless of the position held, they all agree that it is recommended that whenever a debtor is returning what he borrowed, he should be kind and good. It is called Ihsaanu Al-Qadaa (Been good in pay back). In the Hadith that was recorded by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam said: إن خياركم أحسنكم قضاء The Best of you is the one who is best in paying back”.
And in Sahih Muslim, Abu Raafi’ narrated:
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم استلف من رجل بكر فجاءته إبل من إبل الصدقة فأمر أبا رافع أن يقضي الرجل بكره فرجع إليه أبو رافع، فقال: لم أجد فيها إلا جملا خيارا رباعيا، فقال أعطه إياه، إن خيار الناس أحسنهم قضاء
That the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam took from a man a young camel (less than 6 years) as loan. When the Camels of Sadaqah were brought to him, he ordered Abu Raafi’ to pay the creditor on his behalf in like. Then Abu Raafi’ returned to him saying: I do not find among them but better Camels above the age of 6. He said (salallahu alayhi wasallam) : give that to him for the best of people are those who are best in paying their debts”.
Therefore it is OK for the debtor to add to the amount that he borrowed out of Ihsan but it is not permissible for the Creditor to demand for an addition or an increase. That will be Ribaa.


And Allah knows best.

Bārakallāhu Fīkum
Jazakumullāhu Khayran

Abū Asīm

7th Shaʿbān 1444 AH

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