Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
I’m a recent American convert to Islam; Alhamdulillah, I’m settling into the faith wonderfully. I fell in love with so many pieces of the religion, and I’m now trying to organize and reconcile parts of my life that are not in line with shari’a law. I have a lot of student debt and a car loan that I’m unsure how to manage. I was trying to find resources of entities that could professionally advise me, but I’m finding it difficult. This is really important, and it’s on my mind constantly.
Should I pay off the remaining loans and interests? Should I let my car be repossessed? Even when filing bankruptcy, student loans don’t go away. What can I do about that?
Thank you for the critical question. May Allah Most High increase your desire to draw closer to Him and remove all challenges and obstacles from your path.
My advice regarding your debt is as follows:
Suppose you have money to settle your debt. Pay your debt as soon as possible, mainly since it may accrue interest.
Suppose you don’t have money to pay off your debt. There are a few options you may consider here:
- Whenever you receive or earn some monies, put it towards repaying your debt and do not use it for things you do not need.
- Secure an interest-free loan from an individual or an organization that would allow you to pay them off monthly at an affordable installment.
- Approach a zakah organization or institution and request zakah from them. As a debtor who cannot pay his debt, you currently fall under one of the eight categories of those entitled to receive Zakah.
- About your car, if the vehicle is not a need at the moment, you may sell the car and settle the debt. If it is a need, then explore the options mentioned above.
You may also recite the following Prophetic supplications for the removal of debt:
In salah, before concluding the prayer with salam, pray:
اللّٰهُمَّ إني أعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ المأْثَمِ وَالمَغْرَم
Allahumma inni a’udhubika min al-ma’tham wa al-magram
O Allah, I seek your protection from sin and debts.
Recite every morning and evening:
اللهُمَّ إنّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الهَمِّ والْحَزَن، وأعوذ بك مِنَ الْعَجزِ وَالكَسل، وأغوذ بك من الجُبْنِ والبُخْل، وأعوذ بك مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّين وَقَهْرِ الرجال
Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min al-hammi wa al-hazan, wa a’udhu bika min al-‘ajzi wa al-kasl, wa a’ udhu bika min al-jubni wa al-bukhl, wa a’udhu bika min ghalabah al-dayn wa qahr al-rijal.
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.
We pray that Allah facilitates ease in your affairs and that you are able to overcome your debt in the nearest future, Amin.
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah’ ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib’ Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib’ Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi’i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.