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Is It Obligatory To Write Down Debts?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. Verse 282 of Sura al Baqara appears to call for all debts to be logged in writing and with witnesses present. However, I am curious if this is a fard obligation or other form of guidance, and if it applies to all scenarios? Oftentimes, family members make small loans or agreements with each other, for example. Would a contract be needed for a loan or dealing of this nature? What other factors come into play when considering this verse?


Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

According to the majority of scholars, the injunction in this verse is a recommendation – but, judging from the wording of the verse – it is a strong recommendation. There is much wisdom in this verse, and one should try to implement it whenever possible.

Financial transactions with family can lead to complications that affect the relationships we are told to preserve. If you are not prepared to waive the debt entirely then I suggest you implement the verse to preserve those relationships.

If one is taking something as a deposit, or there is not anyone who can be a witness present, you can skip the documentation. This is the basic gist of the verse. (Tafsir Abi Su’ud)

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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