If a muslim has an interest bearing debt, what should they do?

Due to necessity and other reasons Muslims have fallen into interest-bearing debts, how can we get out of them?

  1. make repentance and ask allah for help

  2. build a plan to get out of interest debt as soon as possible

  3. reduce expenditure and increase income

  • this could mean working very hard and living a strict life at least for a short time period
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In addition one could borrow money from family/friends or take out an interest free loan

There’s also something called ROSCAS (“committee” in south Asian communities)- this is also very useful to get rid of interest debt

To expand on this, the condition for Tawbah are 4 generally:

  1. To be done sincerely for His sake
  2. To stop the sin
  3. To have a strong resolve not to go back or do the sin again
  4. To have remorse and regret (and hate the sin)

One could also seek the help of the community to get out of their debt as soon as possible. There are Ahadith where the Prophet ﷺ equates repaying the debt of a believer to Sadaqah. Hence helping others pay off debt is a huge matter in the religion

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Sometimes we can fall into shaming people who have fallen into interest-based loans. This is counterproductive as it pushes people further away from Islam. Instead we can show compassion and then offer practical ways to get out of it like those suggested on this forum

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I’m not sure if there are any particular Islamic organisations which help Muslims who are in debt. Anyone know of any?

Also one thing to do is to use one’s work place for support- some organisations have debt management teams who are there to help you reduce your major debts

I did not know this existed. There are communities (muslim ones) where rich people come together and put in a pot and help people pay back their debts with an interest free loan. I hope, we all can do that one day. Of course some people can be lying so there has to be in place a system to prove their case.

No organisations I know of so far. However, individual people who are rich come together all the time. Sounds like a mission for us! Let’s start something and make a movement and then support all muslims in these issues.

I think, it is a duty upon us, to create safe spaces for people like this and support and help them. We don’t need to expose said person or publicise it in any way. We just need to make an organisation that is trusted and does its intended use.

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Think acknowledging one’s mistake is a big step to take - realising it wasn’t a great idea and making changes to help your situation is very important to become debt free. Asking for forgiveness, taking steps to remove this burden off yourself and never falling into it again is vital. There are many duas that can also be recited to aid oneself.

If you’re zakat eligible, don’t have the means to pay off your debt (including family/friends/community) a practical approach could be to contact National Zakat Foundation for debt relief. They should conduct an assessment and ask for some details and be able to help. I think it’s important for organisations like this to exist for those drowning in debt. https://nzf.org.uk/

What they need to do is pay off as much as possible, on a monthly basis. Most companies will turn off the interest if you set up a payment plan, if so then I’d change my answer to pay the minimum payment.

If they don’t turn off the interest with a payment plan then you’d want to make a large affordable payment each month and also make weekly payments this will significantly reduce the interest paid

Of course, you should also sincerely repent to Allāh.

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Yes I agree. Companies do turn off the interest charges once you start paying off. You only incur interest when they’re owed

This is a great option, I didn’t know about this.

I think what we need is an awareness campaign about the severity of riba, but also the alternatives out there. But also as a people we need to get innovative and come up with more solutions.

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