It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) used to say in his prayer: “Allaahumma inni a’oodhi bika min al-ma’tham wa’l-maghram (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from sin and heavy debt).” Someone said to him: “How often you seek refuge from heavy debt!” He said: “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (832) and Muslim (589)]
Al-Nasaa’i (4605) narrated that Muhammad ibn Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah! What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” [Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 4367]
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) refrained from offering the funeral prayer for one who had died owing two dinars, until Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) promised to pay it off for him. When he saw him the following day and said, I have paid it off, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said: “Now his skin has become cool for him.” [Musnad Ahmad (3/629); classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in al-Khalaasah (2/931) and by Ibn Muflih in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah (1/104)]
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari (4/547):
This hadeeth indicates how difficult the issue of debt is, and that it should not be undertaken except in cases of necessity. End quote.
It was narrated from Thawbaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said:
“Whoever dies free from three things – arrogance, cheating and debt – will enter Paradise.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1572); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi]
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said:
“The soul of the believer is suspended because of his debt until it is paid off.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1078).
It was also narrated that many of the salaf warned against debt:
It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
“Beware of debt, for it starts with worry and it ends with war.” [Narrated by Maalik in al-Muwatta’ (2/770)]
In Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaaq (3/57) it says:
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
“O Humraan, fear Allaah and do not die in debt, lest it be taken from your good deeds when there will be no dinars and no dirhams”
These stern warnings about debt only came because of the negative consequences to which it leads both on an individual level and on a community level.
With regard to the personal level, al-Qurtubi said in al-Jaami’ li Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (3/417):
Our scholars said: It is a disgrace and a humiliation because it preoccupies the mind and makes one worried about paying it off, and makes one feel humiliated before the lender when meeting him, and feeling that he is doing one a favour when accepting a delay in payment. Perhaps he may promise himself that he will pay it off then break that promise, or speak to the lender and lie to him, or swear an oath to him then break it, and so on. Moreover, he may die without having paid off the debt so he will be held hostage because of it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The soul of the believer is held hostage by his debt in his grave until it is paid off.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1078]. All of that undermines one’s religious commitment