Rulings for mortgage
November 25 2021 08:49 PM

By Dr Saleh al-Fawzan

The linguistic meaning of the Arabic word ‘rahn’ is “settlement”, and “permanence.” The Islamic legal meaning for rahn is “a security of a debt by something with which the debt can be fulfilled.” In other words, it means mortgaging an item with monetary value or collateral as security against a debt.
Rahn is permissible as indicated in the Book, the Sunnah and by Ijmaa’ (consensus of scholars). Allah says, “And if you are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, then let there be a rihaan (mortgage) taken.” (2:283)
When the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, died, his armour was mortgaged.
Scholars are in agreement that rahn is permissible while travelling. The majority of scholars have held the opinion that it is also permissible in residence. The following points outline the rulings of mortgage:
1. The wisdom behind rahn’s validity is to preserve the wealth and protect it from loss. Allah also commanded us to document debts in writing. He says, “O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down ... and if you are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, then let there be a rihaan taken.” (2:282-283)
This is a sign of Mercy from Allah where He guides us to do good for ourselves.
2. For rahn to be valid, its amount and nature should be known. The mortgager should have the right to dispose of the item, whether he is owner or has permission to dispose of it.
3. It is permissible to mortgage from your money on behalf of someone else’s debt.
4. The mortgaged item should be sellable so that the mortgage can be paid off.
5. The rahn can be conditioned in the contract or after the contract. Allah made the rahn in lieu of writing a debt, as He says, “And if you are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, then let there be a rihaan taken.” (2:283)
6. Rahn is required from the mortgager only because the right is for someone else. But it is not required from the mortgagee (the lender) for he can cancel it at any time, because it is his right alone.
7. It is permissible to mortgage one’s share from a partnership. This is because the share can be sold at the time the debt is due and then it will be fulfilled. It is also permissible to mortgage something sold for its value. For example, if one buys a car or a house for a deferred price, then one can mortgage it until he pays the price.
8. Neither the mortgager nor the mortgagee can use the mortgaged (collateral) item without the permission of the other party. This is to protect both parties’ rights. If the mortgager uses it, then he nullifies the right of the mortgagee in securing the debt. On the other hand, if the mortgagee uses it, then he is actually using something owned by others.
9. Benefiting from rahn is permissible, but it should be agreed upon between both parties.
10. The growth of the rahn and the benefit derived from it becomes a rahn added to the original rahn that can also be sold to pay off the debt.
11. All expenses incurred from keeping the rahn is the liability of the mortgager, including storage, guarding the mortgage, etc.
12. If part of the mortage gets destroyed, then the remainder becomes rahn for the entire debt.
13. If the mortgager pays off some of the debt, the rahn remains as the entire collateral and none of it can be released until the entire debt is paid.
14. When the payment of the debt is due, the indebted party must repay the debt, just as one must repay a debt that does not have a rahn attached. Allah says, “Let then one who is entrusted discharge his trust (faithfully), and let him have taqwah for Allah, his Lord.” (2:283) and “Let him have taqwah for Allah, his Lord and diminish not anything of what he owes.” (2:282)
If the debtor refuses to pay, he will be accused of delay and the judge will then force him to pay. If he continues to refuse, then he should be disciplined by imprisonment or other means until he repays his debt or the mortgage is sold to pay off the debt.
The judge can also sell the mortgage in the debtor’s place, if the debtor refuses to do so. If there is money left after selling the mortgage and repayment of the debt, then the excess is returned to the debtor. If there is a portion of the debt that is not covered by the value of the collateral, then it remains as a liability of the mortgager that must be paid.
15. It is permissible for the lender to use the collateral (mortgaged item) in some cases, such as riding or milking the animal if it was mortgaged, but the lender should spend on it and feed it. This is based on the Hadith, “The mortgaged animal can be used for riding, as long as it is fed and the milk of the animal can be drunk according to what one spends on it. The one who rides the animal or drinks its milk should provide the expenditures.” (Bukhari)
Imam Ibn al-Qayim said: “This Hadith, together with the principles of Shari’ah indicate that the mortgaged animal should be treated with respect, and this is Allah’s right. Its owner has the right of ownership. And the animal is in the possession of the mortgagee, but does not milk it, then the milk is wasted. Therefore justice, qiyas, and the welfare of the mortgager, mortgagee and the animal require that the mortgagee benefit from the animal in riding and milking it. This is compensated for by providing the expenses. By benefiting from the animal and paying for its expenses, all rights will be fulfilled.”
Some scholars said: “There are two types of mortgage. One requires provision and the other doesn’t. The first type of mortgage is further divided into two different types. One is the animal which is ridden and milked, and the second is the slave. The latter cannot be used for benefit by the mortgagee without the permission of the owner. The second type of rahn that does not require provision includes a house, furniture, etc. The mortgagee cannot benefit from this type without the permission of the mortgager.”

Acting upon the Qur’an
It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: 
No envy is (acceptable) but in two cases: a man whom Allah has endowed with the (memorisation and knowledge of the) Qur’an with which he stands (and acts upon) at the approaches of night and day; and a man on whom Allah has bestowed wealth which he spends (in His cause) at the approaches of night and day. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The hateful envy is to hope that the favour given to another should vanish, whereas the praiseworthy envy is to aspire to have the like of what is given to the envied person as regards knowledge and wealth.
To stand with the Qur’an at the approaches of the night is to recite and learn it and worship Allah with it; and this is likely to happen in secret, far from the people’s eyes. To do so at the approaches of the day is to act upon it publicly in front of the people in compliance with the command of Allah, and in the hope of being an example for others to follow and receiving the reward of anyone following him.
The Hadith gives preference, in mention, to the superiority of him who is given the Qur’an and acts upon it over him who is given wealth and spends it (in Allah’s cause), which points out the superiority of knowledge over charity. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said to Kumayl ibn Ziyad ibn Nuhayl (one of the Taabi‘is d. 82AH), “O Kumayl! knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you whereas you guard wealth. Knowledge is a ruler whereas wealth is ruled. Wealth decreases by charity whereas knowledge increases by spending (i.e. by teaching it).” The decrease of wealth here refers to the apparent reduction which seems to the people, but with Allah it increases and multiplies.
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, clarified this meaning when he said, as narrated on the authority of Abu Kabshah al-Anmari, may Allah be pleased with him:
The world is for four kinds of people: One upon whom Allah Almighty has bestowed wealth and knowledge, so he fears his Lord in respect to them, maintains kinship ties and acknowledges the rights of Allah on him [and fulfills them]; this type is in the best of ranks. One upon whom Allah Almighty has conferred knowledge but not wealth, and he is sincere in his intention and says: “Had I possessed wealth, I would have done like so-and-so.” If that is his intention, their rewards are the same. (He aspires to have the like of this good person in order to do like him; and he does not hope that what the other has of blessing should vanish) One whom Allah Almighty has given wealth but no knowledge, and he ignorantly flounders with it, does not fear Allah in respect to it, does not maintain kinship ties and does not acknowledge the rights of Allah. Such a person is in the worst rank. One upon whom Allah Almighty has bestowed neither wealth nor knowledge, and he says: “Had I possessed wealth, I would have done like so-and-so.” For his intention, both will be equally sinful. [Ibn Majah and At-Tirmithi, who renders it as good-authentic]
Here, the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, dispraises him because of his desire for sin rather than for a favour like the other. There is no difficulty on him who aspires to have the like of the favour given to another, so long as he does not like that it vanishes from him nor dislikes that it should remain with him. If this favor pertains to the obligatory religious service like faith, prayer and zakah, the competition over it is due: that is to aspire to be like him because if he does not like this, he then will be content with the sin, and that is unlawful. If the favour pertains to such good merits as spending wealth in charity and good things, competition over it is recommended. If it pertains to a permissible form of enjoyment, competition over it is permissible. [Ihya’ ‘Uloom Ad-Deen, grand Imam Al-Ghazali]
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said:
He who recites the Qur’an, it seems as if prophethood has been drawn to him except that he receives no divine revelation; and whoever recites the Qur’an and thinks that somebody has been given better than what he has been given, he will have exalted what Allah has regarded with slightness and regarded with slightness what Allah has exalted. It is not fit for the Qur’an holder to be among those who behave foolishly or be angry or enraged: but he should rather forgive and pardon because of the superiority of the Qur’an. [At-Tabari]
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was given revelation through a particular text, i.e. the Noble Qur’an, and the Sunnah through the words of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. So, whoever is given the Noble Qur’an has the same which Allah Almighty revealed to His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, in the same text, with difference that he receives no divine revelation. No doubt, the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets: they inherit neither dirham nor dinar, but inherit the knowledge which they act upon and spread among the people.
An aspect of exalting Allah Almighty is to exalt His Book (the Qur’an), and whoever is given much good should thank Allah Almighty for this great favour and feel the magnificence and grandeur of the bounty granted to him by Allah Almighty.
‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
It is due on the holder of the Qur’an to be recognised for his (standing at) night when the people are asleep, for his (fasting during the) day when the people are not fasting, for his sadness when the people are rejoicing, for his weeping when the people are laughing, for his silence when the people are engaging in discourse, and for his humble submissiveness when the people are arrogant. The holder of the Qur’an should be compliant and lenient rather than harsh, displeasing in voice like a donkey, a noise-maker, or an obstinate person.”
A righteous man said:
I have learnt that the Qur’an holder will be asked as the Prophets will be asked (i.e. on the Day of Judgment). In the noble Hadith, the Prophet forbade the Qur’an holder to behave foolishly or be angry or enraged, and rather commanded him to adhere to forgiveness and forbearance. That is, to maintain a good moral character and noble manners. Such was the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, as described by ‘A’ishah, the Mother of Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, when she said: “His moral character was (an application of the laws and instructions of) the Qur’an.” [Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Dawood]
Since the moral character of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was (an application of) the Qur’an, then, the Qur’an is among us, and it is due on the Qur’an holders to behave according to the manners of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, which are the manners of the Qur’an.

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Do not kill your time
The Qur’an and Sunnah both emphasise the importance of time in the life of a Muslim. Allah swears in the beginning of many Surahs (chapters) by time or moments in time, for example Allah Says (what means): “By the dawn and the ten nights (i.e. the first ten days of the month of Thul-Hijjah)...” [Qur’an 89: 1-2]
And also Says (what means): “By the night when it covers, and by the day when it appears...” [Qur’an 92:1]
And also Says (what means): “By the morning brightness and by the night when it covers with darkness...” [Qur’an 93:1]
And also Says (what means): “By the time...” [Qur’an 103:1]                                                                                    
When Allah swears by something of His creation, it directs our attention to the benefit of that thing. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, further emphasised the value of time in many authentic Hadiths. For example, Mu’aath bin Jabal  related that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The slave will not go forward on the Day of Judgment until he is asked four questions: about his age and how he spent it, about his youth and how he used it, about his wealth and how he acquired it and spent it, and about his knowledge and what he did with it.”
Youth is considered the peak stage in human life, because young people have the capacity and energy to accomplish many good deeds, but when they get older, they cannot do as much. These are stages of development as mentioned in the Qur’an, for example in Surah Ar-Room (The Romans), Allah Says (what means): “Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair ...” [Qur’an 30:54]
If we do not use our time effectively for something good, then we will definitely use it for something bad, which destroys our rewards and our lives. For example, if you do not make Thikr (mentioning Allah and praising Him), then you will be saying something else, perhaps backbiting or perhaps talking about your children, your work, your neighbours, your friends or your enemies. What counts for you is using the time for something useful, doing good deeds and saying good things.
Try to make a short revision at the end of each day about what you did during that day. Ask yourself: What did I do today? What did I do that was bad today? Make repentance for the bad things that you have done and said, sincerely determining not to repeat such things. With the good, determine to do it again, do it more often and do it in a better way.
Our lives are judged according to what we did, not according to how many years we lived. We know that life is very short, and at the end of it comes death. We do not know when we are going to die, so we have to make sure that we do many good deeds before we pass into the next life and we are unable to return to repent from our bad deeds, or to do more good deeds. Time passes very quickly as Allah Says (what means): “The Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon and a morning.” [Qur’an 79:46]
And also Says (what means): “And on the Day when He shall gather (resurrect) them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world and graves, etc) but an hour of a day.” [Qur’an 10:45]
Time is very precious and if it passes, you cannot make use of it again. If yesterday passed without the performance of good deeds, then it is gone; you cannot reclaim any benefit from yesterday’s time. For example, if you came to travel from one city to another and you found that the airplane that you were supposed to travel on has already left, do you think that it will be back to pick you up? Or if you were travelling by train and you missed the train, do you think that the train will reverse to come back to get you?
When it is time for a person to die, he may ask for more time to do good deeds, as Allah Says (what means): “Therein they will cry: ‘Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not what we used to do.’ (Allah will reply): ‘Did We not give you long enough lives so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it, and the warner came to you? So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the wrongdoers, etc, there is no helper.” [Qur’an 35:37]
We say that we are so busy with our work and our children, but Allah warns us against this saying (what means): “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that, then they are the losers. And spend (in charity) of that which We have provided for you before death comes to one of you and he says: ‘My Lord! If only you would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give sadaqah (i.e. Zakaah) of my wealth, and be among the righteous (i.e. perform Haj). And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” [Qur’an 63: 9-11]
Many people before us used their time effectively by performing good deeds, teaching, doing something for the benefit of the Muslims, their families and their relatives, or by advising others to be good, and calling others to Allah and Islam, etc. They considered every day that passed which they did not use effectively for the sake of Allah as denying the favours of Allah. 
Today we have those who “kill time.” These people gather to talk about things that are not related to Islam or the Muslims’ affairs; they play around or talk about others. These people are not killing time, but they are committing slow suicide because they are killing their time -- and their time is their lives! So they are slowly killing themselves and after they die, what good deeds have they done?
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “There are two favours (or bounties) of Allah’s bounties, and in them many people are cheated (or deceived): health and free time.”
People underestimate the value of these two favours, and thus, they are cheated. This is like a person who has a house that he wants to sell. Someone comes and offers him $50,000 for it. He isn’t sure of its value, so he hesitates. Finally, he agrees and sells it for that amount. Later he finds out that his house was actually worth a million dollars. Imagine how cheated he feels; imagine that feeling that if he had only known beforehand what it was really worth, he could have gotten more!
It is the same with our time. We underestimate its great value, and then when it is gone, we feel that we have been cheated because we didn’t get everything out of it that we could have. But just as the one who sold his house below its value cannot get it back and sell it at its true value, we also cannot go back and do more with the time that is already gone. At the end of our lives, we will not be able to go back and live our lives over again and we will not be given more time to do good deeds, to try to make up for the time we wasted.
So we must organise our time wisely, being very careful about what we use it for. We must treat the free time that we have, in which we could do good deeds as a precious resource, guarding it against waste or misuse.

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Benefiting from time
It is absolutely necessary for Muslims to be careful about time. The Muslim is required to utilise and invest his time in what benefits him in this world and the Hereafter. In this regard, he can follow the good example set by the Righteous Salaf. They were so careful that in less than a century they were able to make radical changes in the societies into which they introduced Islam.
The Righteous Salaf made sure that no time, however short it was, passed without doing something useful, such as acquiring useful knowledge, doing good deeds, helping other Muslims and serving or advising the Ummah (nation). 
Remarking Imam Hammad Ibn-Salama al-Basry’s [a grammarian] meticulous care for time, Musa Ibn-Ismaeel said: “It is unbelievable! I have never seen Hammad laugh at all. He was always busy explaining the Hadith, praying, reading or praising the Lord. This is how he spent his day.”
Abdurrahman al-Mahdi [Abdurrahman Ibn-Mahdi Ibn-Hassan Ibn-Abdurrahman, a critic and an able reciter; was considered a good model for knowledge and work. See: Shamsuddeen Adh-Dhahabi, Biographies of Noble Scholars, 9/192-193.] said: “If you were to tell Hammad, ‘You are going to die tomorrow’, there would be nothing he could add to what he is already doing.” [Abu-Hajjaj Yusuf al-Mizzi, Tahdheeb al-Kamal fi Asma’ Arrijal, in Arabic, investigated by B A Ma’ruf, 1992, Vol. 7, p. 265.]
Regretting the time he spent eating, Shumait Ibn-Ajlan [Abu-Naeem al-Asbahani, Hilyatul-Awliya’wa Tabaqat Al-Asfiya’ (The Pious Friends’ Ornaments and Classes of the Pure), in Arabic, investigated by Mustafa Abdul-Qadir Ata, 1418, 3/149] said: “By Allah, the time I hate most is that which I spend eating.” How conscious of time! [Ibid, 3509, 3/151]
Once a wise man said: “If you spend one day on other than carrying out justice, performing obligatory worship, achieving some gain, praising the Lord, establishing something good or acquiring knowledge, you have been ungrateful to your day and have wronged yourself.” [Abdurra’uf Al-Minawi, Faidh Al-Qadeer bi Sharh Al-Jami’ Assagheer, 6/288]

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