“Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and in the Hereafter.”

The Day of Judgement will be a very difficult day with many hardships. The only way to be rescued from difficulties on that Day is by obtaining the grace and mercy of Allah, all praises and glory be to Him. In this hadith, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, has informed us about one of the ways in which we can attain the mercy of Allah. Relieving our fellow Muslim of their debt is an act beloved to Allah that may earn us His mercy, and an alleviation from trials in this world and the Hereafter.

There are basically two ways in which we can relieve another’s debt. If we have leant money, and we know that someone is not able to repay the loan, we can wait until they have the means to repay it. This is in fact an obligation commanded by Allah, when He says:

“And if the debtor is on straitened circumstances, then grant him time until it is easy for him to repay”
(Surah al-Baqarah:280)

A second option would be to reduce the debt or forgive it completely, and that is better for us, as Allah says:

“But of you remit it [the debt] by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know. And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly”
(Surah al-Baqarah:281)

Also included is the concept is giving the one in debt charity or a gift to help them pay off their debts. The Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said regarding this:

“Whoever would be pleased to have Allah save him from distress on the Day of Resurrection should then relieve one in straitened circumstances or completely remove his debt.”
[Recorded by Muslim]

Ibn Uthaimeen points out that if a Muslim does the opposite of this, and demands the debt, making life difficult for that person, then Allah may make life difficult him both in this life and the next.

We can see that caring for our fellow Muslims, and seeking to alleviate their stresses and strains, be they financial or otherwise, not only serves to strengthen the ties of the brotherhood and sisterhood, and alleviate distress, it also benefits us though the removal of trials and tribulations either in this world, or on the Day of Judgement. On that Day, we will long for our suffering to end, what deeds have we sent forward to alleviate our own distress?

May Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, Protect us and Guide us always. Aameen!