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If person passes away with debts and his estate cannot cover it, can friends or family take responsibility for paying it?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by TheMufti.com

Q. If person passes away with debts and his estate cannot cover it, can friends or family take responsibility for paying it?


A. In an event of an estate not having sufficient funds or no funds at all to cover the debts of the deceased, it will be permissible for friends and family members to take responsibility or stand as guarantor/s to cover the debts of the deceased. (Mabsoot 20/108)

Sayyiduna Salamah Bin Akwa’ Radhiyallahu Anhu reports; “On one occasion, while we were sitting in the company of Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, a Janazah was brought and He (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was requested to lead the Janaazah Salaah. He asked, “Is he in debt?” They replied, “No”. He asked, “Has he left any wealth?” They replied, “No.” So, He led his Janaazah Salaah. Another Janaazah was brought and He (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was requested to lead the Janaazah Salaah. He asked, “Is he in debt?” It was said, “Yes”. He asked, “Has he left any wealth?” They replied, “(He has a debts of) Three Dinaars (Gold coins).” So, He led his Janaazah Salaah. Then a third Janaazah was brought and He (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was requested to lead the Janaazah Salaah. He asked, “Has he left any wealth?” It was said, “No”. He asked, “Is he in debt?” They replied, “(He has a debts of) Three Dinaars (Gold coins).” So, He (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam refused to perform his Janaazah Salaah and) said, “Then pray for your companion.” Abu Qatada (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said, “Lead his Janaazah Salaah O Rasulullah! and I will pay his debt.” So, He led the Janaazah Salaah. (Bukhari)

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa

This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.

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