Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Asking for a loan when one is in need is, without doubt, permissible, for this is something human beings at times may need to do. However, one must have a firm intention of repaying the loan. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) also borrowed items and took loans.
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya (a major Hanafi Fiqh reference):
“There is no problem (la ba’s) in one taking a loan if there is a genuine need, provided one has the intention of paying it back. However, if one takes a loan without intending to repay it, then one will be consuming unlawful (haram) wealth.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/366)
As far as asking from others and begging is concerned, generally this is not permitted for a person who owns the provision of one day. However, if there is a genuine need, then it does become permitted.
Sayyiduna Zubayr ibn al-Awam (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “It is better for one of you to take a rope (and cut) and bring a bundle of wood (from the forest) on his back and sell it and Allah will save his face because of it, rather than to ask the people who may give him or may not.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1402)
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A man keeps on asking others for something until he comes on the Day of Judgment without any piece of flesh on his face.”… (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1405)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also said:
He who asks (from people) when he has that which is sufficient for him, then he is simply asking for a large amount of Hell-fire. (al-Nufayli (a transmitter) said elsewhere: “He is asking from the embers of Hell”) They asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What is considered sufficient?” (al-Nufayli said at another place: “What is that sufficient amount which makes begging unfitting?”) He (Allah bless him & give him peace) replied: “The amount which would provide a morning and an evening meal.” (Elsewhere al-Nufayli said: “It is when one has enough for a day and night, or for a night and a day.”) (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 1626)
The above narrations indicate the impermissibility of asking others when one has the provision of one day and one night. However, when an urgent need arises, it would be permitted to ask others for financial help, provided one does not ask importunately.
Samurah ibn Jundub (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Acts of begging are lacerations with which a man disfigures his face, so he who wishes may preserve his self-respect, and he who wishes may abandon it; but this does not apply to one who begs from a ruler, or in a situation which makes it necessary.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 1636)
Based on the above narrations, the Hanafi jurist (faqih) Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Durr al-Mukhtar:
“It is not permitted for a person who owns the provision of one day to ask for any provision (sustenance)…such as a healthy person who earns. The one who gives such a person will (also) be sinful if he knew of his circumstance (m: meaning one gives him despite knowing that he owns the provision of one day), because of assisting another in sin. However, if one asked for clothing or one asked due to not being able to earn because of being engaged in Jihad or seeking of knowledge, then it will be permitted (to ask), if one is need.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 2/354/355)
Ala al-Din Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) also mentions that if one has a genuine need such as: one needs clothing, house rent, necessary renovation of the house, or because of not being unable to earn due to being engaged in Jihad, then asking others will be permitted. (See: al-Hadiyyat al-Ala’iyyah, p. 211)
Therefore, in light of the above, we can say that it will be permitted for students in need to seek charity or other forms of financial assistance in order to pay their fees. However, they should do this with keeping self-respect and not asking in a demanding and annoying manner. One should avoid being persistent, as Allah Most High says:
“They beg not importunately from the people” (al-Baqarah, 273)
The ideal solution for a student would be to seek a part-time job. If that is not possible, then one may seek a interest free loan from family and friends, If this is also not possible, then one may ask other wealthy Muslims for financial assistance. It would be better to avoid asking directly; rather, one should use the medium of another. If there are organisations or charities that help Muslim students, it would be useful to contact them. One may also receive Zakat money, provided one is eligible to receive it.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
MMVIII © Qibla.
All rights reserved
No part of this article may be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, please submit a request at our Helpdesk.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Knowledge is only through study." While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
Through joining an online class at Qibla, you can benefit from convenient, online courses that will give you access to reliable scholars and our popular curriculum learning tracks. Knowledge gained in these courses will both build your iman and assist you in putting into practice what you learn. Don't give yourself less than you deserve, register today.