It is Impermissible for a Creditor to Claim an Additional Amount against the Procrastination of the Indebted

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
Is it permissible for a creditor to claim a compensation against the damage caused by the debtor`s procrastination in repaying him?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad. It is incumbent upon a debtor to speed up repaying his debts as much as he could, and he is forbidden from resorting to procrastination so long as he can afford to pay since the Prophet(PBUH) says: “Procrastination (delay) in repaying debts by a wealthy person is injustice “{Bukhari&Muslim} And injustice is forbidden. However, if he was in a state of insolvency, then the creditor should give him time until he can afford to repay him since Allah The Almighty says: “If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time Till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.”{Al-Baqara/280}. Moreover, a creditor is forbidden from claiming more than what is his against the debtor`s procrastination in repayment, because any increase is a usury(Riba), and this is parallel to the situation which prevailed in pre-Islamic times when creditors used to tell debtors: {You either pay Riba or settle the debt}. Provisions from the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah forbade claiming any increase in return for a debtor`s procrastination, whether this was agreed upon between the two parties or not. Allah The Almighty says: “but God hath permitted trade and forbidden usury. “{Al-Baqara/275}. The Prophet(PBUH) says: “Avoid the seven great destructive sins." The people enquire, "O Allah's Apostle! What are they? "He said, "To join others in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, (according to Islamic law), to eat up Riba (usury), to eat up an orphan's wealth, to give back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse, chaste women, who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.”{Bukhari&Muslim}. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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