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Abu Hurairah reported, the Prophet (saw) asked: “Do you know the bankrupt is?” The companions replied:” The bankrupt among us is one who has neither money nor any property.” He said:” The real bankrupt of my ummah is he who comes on the day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting and charity, because he reviled others, brought false tales against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others – so his good deeds will be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hands or from his tongue). If his good deeds fall short of what is needed to clear the account, their sins (those who suffered because of him) will be entered in his account, and he will be thrown in the hell fire).” (Muslim)

This hadith brings to our attention that someone who has a record of noble deeds including prayer, fasting, and charity. Normally, good deeds erase the bad deeds, but when it comes to the major sins that involve dishonor and injustice, compensation may be required if they have not been forgiven.

Any acts of oppression such as those mentioned above diminish one’s good deeds; the believer should avoid them all because each one is a serious offence.

The Prophet (saw) was asked: “Which type of Muslim is better?” He replied:” It is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe.” (Muslim).

Whether the sins include insulting someone, committing slander, taking someone’s wealth in unlawful manner, beating up someone, or causing bloodshed, the Day of Judgment is a day when perfect justice will be implemented, down to the minute details. The accounts will be settled with deeds, since there will be no money compensation for wrongdoings and oppression of that day.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (saw) said: “He who has wronged his (Muslim) brother, let him ask forgiveness today, before the time (the Day of Judgment) when he will have neither a dinar (a gold coin) nor a dirham. He should secure pardon in this life before his some good deeds are taken and paid to his brother, or if he has no good deeds, some of the bad deeds of his brother will be taken and loaded on him.” (Bukhari).

This hadith also shows us that wrong doers can patch things up in this world before they die: “Let him ask his forgiveness today.” They may have to compensate the victim, or they may seek their forgiveness. Otherwise, their good deeds may be transferred on Judgment Day to the victims of their injustice. If the guilty one has no good deeds left, then the person who was wronged will have his or her bad deeds transferred to the oppressor’s account.

Allah (swt) has mentioned: “Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your full compensation on the Day of resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the fire and admitted to Paradise has attained his desire. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Al-Imran: 185).

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy occurs when the debtor has insufficient funds to pay his or her creditors what they are due. The creditors may then take the matter to the court, which may issue an interdiction order whereby the debtor cannot spend from his or her wealth or property.

This is to safeguard the right of the creditors. Liquidation then takes place, with the debtor’s assets being sold in order to pay off the debts. The bankrupt person must be allowed to keep essential items needed to maintain his or her living standards.

If the assets are not enough to settle the outstanding debt, the creditors may not demand more than what is available while the interdiction order remains in place. They may choose to relinquish what remains of the debt in order to give relief to the debtor.

Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an: “And if someone is in hardship, then let there be postponement until a time of ease. But if you give (from your right) charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew.” (Al-Baqarah: 280)

As for one who gave the debtor some property that has not been returned, he or she has the most right to that property if the interdiction takes place. It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) that Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: “If a man finds his very things with the bankrupt, he has more right to take them back than anyone else does.” (Bukhari).

If the debtor had the ability to pay the creditors their due but deliberately chose not to pay on time, or was negligible, then he or she may be spoken to in a strict manner, complain about and/or imprisoned.

The Prophet (saw) said: “Any delay on the part of the one who can afford (to repay) a debt) makes it permissible to dishonored him and punish him.” (Abu Dawud).

Abu Dawud repots that Ibn al-Mubarak explains that ‘dishonoring him’ refers to speaking harshly with the debtor, and ‘punishing him’ refers to imprisonment. In addition, he may legally be forced to pay his dues.

 (Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)