Chapter 3 Featured Submissions

“In Hinduism there are three certain ways to ‘Hell gate’. They are lust, anger and greed. We believe that debt is like greed. Person with greed shall go to hell. Not returning the debt is also treated as sin. The person who is full of debt shall go to hell (Narak).

Even today in India (as a banker) we observe that an old person, if he feels that he is going to die, shall certainly go to Banker/creditor and (assure them that) till he/she is alive he/she will make it sure that the burden of debt should not pass to the children… We still believe if our ancestors had died and left some debt unpaid their soul (aatma) shall not rest in peace till it is repaid. So it is the primary duty of us to repay the debt of our forefathers.”

-R.T., India

“Along the centuries, the Jews who were forbidden to own land did recieved interest from the money they were lending.

However up to this day, there are free-of-interest loans granted within Jewish communities. Those small funds are generally managed by the community Rabbi who collects donations and grant loans. The purpose of those loans is to help people to enter (students) or comeback (bankrupts) to the economic society. They are reserved to people who intend (at least morally) to pay back the money. Poor people with no capabilities of pay back will receive donations and not loans… There are no obligations to donate, but that’s the whole meaning of being part of a community.”

-M.T., Israel

“In Islam, a debtor is obligated to pay his debt because it has been created by virtue of an agreement and or a business transaction.

There are very harsh consequences for not fulfilling Moral, Social, Legal and financial obligation in Islam. A debtor is no exception as he is bound under a legal obligation by virtue of signing a contract and under financial obligation by virtue of utilizing the amount of borrowed money for a purpose.

Islam takes the matter of debt very seriously and warns against it and urges the Muslim to avoid it as much as possible.

An authentic story goes; Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) refrained from offering funeral prayer for one who died owing two Dinars (currency of that time). This hadith indicates how difficult the issue of debt is, and that it should not be undertaken except in cases of utmost necessity must be paid as promised.

The debt issue is further emphasized in another hadith,

“Whoever dies free from three things – arrogance, cheating and debt – will enter Paradise”. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1572) “The soul of the believer is suspended because of his debt until it is paid off”. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1078).

There is long list of sayings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) with regards to paying your debts before it’s too late for him to correct his position in hereafter. Mind you, this is all with regards to borrowing loans for legitimate purposes – this actually opens up whole new discussion which is not relevant here. So you see my friend, Debt in Islam is not very desirable as borrowing is a disgrace and a humiliation.”

-H.P., Egypt

I always liked
Matthew 18:23-35

23″Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[a] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26″The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28″But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[b] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29″His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

30″But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32″Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35″This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

-H.K., USA

“If we lived our religion (I’m not talking going to church), there would be no need to collect what is owed because people would honor their religious teachings and always pay their debts and live in honesty.

Only when we truly internalize the pure moral teachings of Christ, Budda, Muhamed, Moses and so many others we will be free to actually practice what we preach.

Until then we will continue to have excuses for treating people like lesser humans in any place and in any situation.”

-S.M.

“I was raised with belief that borrowing or lending for profit is evil. And in my family people who borrow or lent were look down upon. My parents never borrowed or lent with interest. However time has changed, When I grew up I saw unemployment and how the money played the role of creating new industry and employment opportunity. With the movement of money, the economy soar and life style improved. So, all is not bad with lending and borrowing.

However, it is it is a sector where there are a lot of loose ends. There is need of a lot of regulations and public awareness. It is like a riding a horse. If it is properly secured and we have knowledge to ride, it will take us far. The pace of economy we are in now, we cannot get off this horse. But we can have better regulations around it and more awareness of how to use it.”

-S.R., India

“In a perfect world and if everybody followed the lessons of religion and don’t create specific meanings to justify their actions, those who borrow would pay within their means and those who lend would not charge huge interest and fees and have some flexibility when their debtors ran into financial difficulties.

A collector could not only use religion to convince their debtors but also to convince themselves on the right way to collect, if he is going to base their work life upon the precepts and moral lesson of all religions.

When we hide behind the corporate vail and separate ourselves from humanity because it is our job and corporations cannot have mercy, we forget all the lessons we learned on Sunday morning.”

-S.M., USA

“In context with today’s world, my impression is that religion has taken a back seat to greed, avarice, and self. I perceive that many people never have to look in a mirror. If they do, they would seem to adore self above all others, including Jesus, Muhammed, et al.

The Seventh Commandment says, “Thou shalt not steal.” He who borrows money with intent to not repay is stealing. He who encourages others to trust him with their money, taking it from them with intent to convert it to his own use, denying others of the benefits of their investments, is a thief and a scoundrel.

When a person incurs honest debt, as in credit card borrowing, or the purchase of an automobile, and then falls upon hard times, as in our day, it behooves that person to communicate with the creditor, to keep faith in whatever manner possible, and to maintain and display intent to repay the debt.

When a person takes advantage of another, in such manner as to inveigle the other into giving or lending money under false circumstances, the person is a thief, a n’er-do-well.

The litany may go on, but the point is this. There are many persons — both human and corporate — who are taking advantage of others by fraud, trickery, and deceit. These criminals are running up credit card bills with no intent to repay. They are buying cars, and driving them for a year or so on one month’s payment. They rent apartments with a down payment, and then remain in the apartment for months on one month’s rent, after which they disappear — with their unpaid-for car.

These same people actually study methods of skip tracing, in order to avoid being found. Their motto, evidently, is “Screw you and hurray for me.”

These comments have addressed primarily those individuals who act on their own. Not to be left out are the organizations that defraud and steal from individuals, who lie about their intentions to persons who trust those organizations with their hard-earned money. “Give us your dollars and we will invest them for you, and make a fortune for you.”

You know what bothers me the most? The fact that we apparently have so many gullible people in our country; Americans with an education and smarts who dumb themselves into get-rich-quick scams. Are they stupid? Are they ignorant? Maybe a bit of both. But then, we have big business that takes advantage of these people; how ethical is that?

We have recent experience with corporate persons who have lied, cheated, and stolen. If my company convinces you to invest huge sums in it, with the promise of immense returns, but I then return you nothing, is that not a product of lies and theft and fraud? Have they no sense of ethics, our big American financial institutions? My impression of recent American history is that they have not.

I sense that the best we can hope for is that historians judge them as harshly as those who took us into wars that we cannot win — wars that contributed then, and will continue to contribute to the financial difficulties in this country.”

-P.P.