Monday, July 7, 2008

Which should he give priority to – ‘Umrah or paying off his debt?

Q) I would like to perform ‘Umra. I vowed hat if my salary increases I will perform ‘Umra. But I have debts to pay off. Is it permissible if I go for ‘Umra now, or must I wait until my debt is paid? May Allah reward you!

A) Praise be to Allaah.

The rights of other people take precedence over the obligation to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah, so it is not permissible for a Muslim to go for Hajj or ‘Umrah if there is someone asking for repayment of a loan that he took from him. This is because Islam places a great emphasis on protecting people’s rights and is keen for the spirit of love and friendship to remain among them, so that none of them will consume the wealth of others or transgress against them.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked the following question:

I owe money to a number of people. Can I go to Makkah to fast there with my children, noting that I will be able to share the cost of rent with my children?

His answer was as follows:

I will ask you a question: is charity better, or the zakaah that is obligatory? Zakaah is better.

Is a voluntary act better, or an obligatory one? The obligatory one is better.

Is it logical to start with the obligatory action before the voluntary one, or vice versa? Reason dictates that I should start with the obligatory action before the voluntary one. So it is not permissible for a person to go to Makkah to do a voluntary ‘Umrah when he is in debt. A debt must be paid off, but is a voluntary ‘Umrah obligatory? No it is not. Even the obligatory Hajj is waived in the event of debt.

Religion is not based on emotions. Even the duty that Allaah has enjoined upon His slaves, which is to go on Hajj to the Ka’bah and to do ‘Umrah, if a person is in debt, it is waived in his case, and he will meet his Lord without sin. If a man is in debt and he does not do Hajj and it is said that he has not done the obligatory duty, we say that the words “has not done the obligatory duty” are mistaken. Why is this a mistake? Because there was no obligation upon him, and there is no obligation upon him until now. Hajj is only an obligation for the one who is free of debt.

Hence we say to this brother: Don’t be hard on yourself, keep your money, stay in your country, and save the money in order to pay off your debt. Do not be like the one who built a castle and destroyed a country.

We think that this brother has to stay in his own country.

Yes, if it so happens that someone offers him money to cover all the expenses and he says Do not give me even a single dirham – in that case we say: If his travelling for ‘Umrah will not affect his work through which he earns money, then he should go, because in this case will it affect his creditor or not? No it will not.

If someone says to him, I know that you owe ten thousand riyals, and I know that debt must be given precedence over voluntary acts of worship, but come with me, you and your family, for free, there and back – can he go with him? In this case we say: If he has a job and his absence from work will cause him a loss in salary, then he should not go. But if he does not have a job, and going with him will not affect anything, then there is nothing wrong with him going with him.

It makes no difference whether the debt is due now or later. But if it is deferred, and he knows that when the time comes he will be able to pay it off, then it does not matter, like a man who owes money that is due in two months time, for example, and he knows that when the time comes he will be able to pay it off – in that case we say: Go, because staying in his country will not make a difference to the creditor. End quote.

Al-Liqa’ al-Shahri (no. 33, question no. 4)

This has been discussed previously on our website in the answer to question no. 11771, 36868 and 36852.

What you must do is wait until you have paid off the entire debt.

Then if what you did was a vow, you must fulfil it, because it is obligatory to fulfil a vow to do an act of worship.

But it was merely an intention to do ‘Umrah out of gratitude to Allaah, without making a vow, then in that case it is mustahabb to fulfil the promise to do ‘Umrah, which is one of the greatest acts of worship by means of which the Muslims draw close to their Lord.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A

The name ‘Awn-Allaah

Q) Is the name ‘Awn-Allaah (“help of Allaah”) Islamically acceptable?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

There is nothing wrong with using the name ‘Awn-Allaah, if what is meant is help from Allaah, because this is attributing a verbal noun to the one who does the action.

The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked:

I am a man called ‘Awn-Allaah ibn Rasheed al-‘Utaybi. On two occasions I saw in a dream that someone was calling me by the name ‘Abd al-Ma’een. Hence I though that my name is one of the names that are disliked and it is permissible to change it. Is the name ‘Awn-Allaah one of the disliked names that should be changed? If that is the case, should I change it to the name that I was addressed by (‘Abd al-‘Ma’een)? If the name of Allaah is omitted, my name would be ‘Awn ibn Rasheed – is that permissible?

They replied:

Using the name ‘Awn-Allaah is not haraam or makrooh according to sharee’ah, because the meaning of this name is help from Allaah, and this is a meaning that is acceptable in Islam; rather it is in harmony with Islamic teachings.

Based on that, there is no need to change your name or drop part of it. You should not pay any attention to the dreams you see, because dreams may be true or they may be confused dreams that do not mean anything, so no shar’i ruling or changes of name can be based on them. End quote.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (11/475).

For more information on the etiquette of naming newborns, please see the answer to question no. 7180.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A

Should she take a riba-based loan in order to complete her studies?

Q) A female doctor who migrated to Canada wants to complete her studies, but she does not have the money. The Canadian government provides interest-based loans to cover the cost of studying, which is to be paid in instalments after one finds a job. What is the ruling on that?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible to take loans that involve paying interest, because this is riba which is haraam, and there is a stern warning concerning riba, as is well known. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Fear Allaah and give up what remains (due to you) from Ribaa (from now onward) if you are (really) believers.

279. And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allaah and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums)”

[al-Baqarah 2:278-279]

And Muslim (1598) narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it, the one who writes it down and the two who witness it, and he said: they are all the same.

It makes no difference whether the loan is to buy a house, or to pay for studies, or anything else. No exception is made except cases of necessity, which is when there is danger to life or limb, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity”

[al-An’aam 6:119].

Al-Zarkashi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Necessity means when he reaches a state where if he does not consume what is forbidden he will die, or almost die, such as one who is in desperate need of food or clothing, in a case where if he remained hungry or naked he would perish, or lose a limb or physical faculty. In that case it becomes permissible to consume what is haraam. End quote.

Al-Manthoor fi’l-Qawaa’id (2/319).

See also the answer to question no. 94823 and 85197.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A